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,
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