Tips on storing bulbs, pruning hedges, supporting plants, and wintering over two years

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Mesh bags for winter storage – a winning tip

Every fall, despite saving mesh bags from my purchases of onions, bulbs, and the like, I find myself looking for extra mesh bags in which to store bulbs, bulblets, and rhizomes for the winter. During my search this year, I spied an old shower puff in the laundry room. Bingo! After gluing the rubber bands together, I had a tube of about 3 yards of netting that measured 12 inches wide. I cut it into 12 inch squares and tied one end of each length securely. I have a dozen bags now.

-Beth Cammarata, Schenectady, New York

Pruning hedges to uniform height

Pruning an out-of-bounds deciduous hedge can be difficult, especially when you’re trying to get a perfectly even top at a new, shorter height. If the hedge is adjacent to a structure, I use duct tape to tie the jute weed to the new desired height and then use that as my visual pruning guide. Finding a uniform height is especially easy with brick or horizontal siding.

Assessing a uniform top height becomes difficult if the hedge is freestanding, however, and especially if the ground slopes. In cases like this I use a long, heavy-duty garden rod as the end point of my twin. I rest a carpenter’s level on the tot twine, adjust one end or the other until the tot twine shows a level reading. Then I start harvesting.

These two methods have enabled me to consistently create uniform tops for hedges during my annual maintenance pruning, and even for hedges that were wildly overgrown.

Tony Fulmer, Arlington Heights, Illinois

Easy plant supports

After a local election, I repurposed a discarded holder into a sturdy plant stake for a campaign yard sign. A search for a more affordable way to achieve the same thing led me to the concrete section of a home improvement store, where I purchased a 10-foot galvanized steel masonry ladder. With a hack saw, I rounded the steel lengthwise to create “legs” that were then easily split into three sections, each about the same length as the campaign marker holder. Useful in preparing many things in the garden, they have become my favorite garden stakes. If some plants—garden mums, for example—need extra support, I can just tie wire horizontally from leg to leg at different heights.

Esther Davis, Salem, Virginia

Control the stakes of these plants.

I was constantly frustrated when I needed to scramble my plant stakes. To give the mess some organization, I cut the bottoms out of some heavy-weight nursery pots, poked some holes in the side, and attached them to the fence with wire. Bottomless pots are staked with little effort on my part.

Laurie Walsh, Rockford, Illinois

Do not leave biennials in pots over winter.

When I lived in southeastern Pennsylvania, I learned not to put biennials in pots in the winter. They endured freezing temperatures, but when rain fell on the frozen soil, it became pitted on the surface, unable to drain. Later freezes turned the plants into ice cubes, sealing the plant coffins.

– Mary Krum, Fort Myers, Florida

From Bagicha Bazaar #210


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If you have gardening advice, send it along. [email protected] We pay $25 for every tip we publish. The prize for the winning tip is a one-year subscription to Bagicha Bazaar.

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