Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - Send a money- or time-sav­ing hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San An­to­nio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

DEAR HELOISE: Gar­den­ing is a re­lax­ing and fun hobby for me. I’ve come up with my fa­vorite gar­den­ing hints:

My spade and shovel get a quick spray of sil­i­cone lu­bri­cant — this al­lows the dirt to slide right off.

A good way to add nu­tri­ents to the soil is with Ep­som salts, which are made of mag­ne­sium and sul­fate. A small amount (less than a ta­ble­spoon) mixed in the wa­ter­ing can will do the trick. (Don’t use ta­ble salt.)

Ask the neigh­bor­hood cof­fee­house for some used cof­fee grounds. They nour­ish the soil, too, and usu­ally are given away.

Plastic forks up­right in the gar­den can de­ter crit­ters.

I can start seedlings in a cloth shoe rack with dirt in each pocket.

I cut the arms off an old sweat­shirt and wear the sleeves when I’m prun­ing the roses. The heavy ma­te­rial pro­tects my arms from thorns.

Com­post is al­ways in sea­son: eggshells, veg­gie clip­pings, shred­ded news­pa­per and cot­ton fibers.

I hope your read­ers will find these hints use­ful.

— He­len T. in Cal­i­for­nia

DEAR HELOISE: I love to read. I read ev­ery­thing — news­pa­pers and books, books for school and learn­ing and his­tory, and fun books about my fa­vorite su­per­heroes.

My par­ents even taught me to love po­etry and bi­ogra­phies. Read­ing out loud is a fun fam­ily ac­tiv­ity. We some­times end up in stitches, but we learn a lot. We’ve re­placed our TV time with fam­ily read­ing time. My sis­ter and I have so much fun.

I rec­om­mend read­ing for ev­ery­one, es­pe­cially over the sum­mer­time.

— Ryan N., age 13,

in Chicago

DEAR HELOISE: I find a multi-tier skirt hanger use­ful for hang­ing small sea­sonal flags. Each tier holds them by sea­son, and there are no wrin­kles or fold marks.

— Joan W., Ea­ton­town, N.J.

DEAR HELOISE: I love tuna salad, but not all the calo­ries that may­on­naise adds. I mash a hard-boiled egg in a bowl and add a ta­ble­spoon of pickle rel­ish and one can of drained tuna. The egg yolk and pickle juice blend to­gether to make a nice, creamy dress­ing. — Vicky L., Ohio


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