Sunday, May 1, 2011

QUICK Garden Tip

Plant green beans in a pvc pipe. Drill holes in it, put potting soil in the pipe, then put the beans in the holes, and the vines will grow out the holes. Hang the pipe up so you can stand up and pick the beans.

Check out our May Gardening Tips below... and Q & A's with the Garden Caddy Guy... plus more!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Hey, Mr. Garden Caddy Guy! Q and A's with our Garden Guy

We've got tips and suggestions to (hopefully) answer your garden needs. Just email to Hey, Mr. Garden Caddy Guy at  and our own Mr. Garden Guy will answer a random sampling of questions for you. We'll keep adding them to this page so be sure to check back and read this post often.

Currently we discuss below:
Herbal Throat Remedy - might surprise you!
Black Spot on Roses - yuck, get it off!
Compatible Planting - my favorite

Mr. Garden Guy
 Q. Hey, Mr. Garden Caddy Guy:  Got any good natural plant tips for a sore throat? - Michael D, Delaware

A. Yep! A very common herb, Thyme, can be used as a tea with honey to soothe a sore throat and scratchy cough. Awwww, hope you feel better soon.

Q. Hey, Mr. Garden Caddy Guy:  What can I do about black spot on roses? - Kelly, California

A. To answer your question I'm going to quote some great advice from the big guys at the National Gardening Association. I think they have a thorough answer.
"There are several organic ways to control black spot. Most of them rely on regular monitoring and upkeep. None of them are difficult, and can be accomplished while you\'re admiring your roses. Plant roses in full sun. If you give your roses a spot where they receive a full six to eight hours of sun per day, you\'ll not only have plants that grow more robustly, but also plants that are more able to resist black spot. Black spot loves moisture, and, in shade, water evaporates much more slowly. In full sun, evaporation happens more quickly, which not only helps prevent black spot, but other fungal diseases as well. Plant roses in an area with good air circulation. This accomplishes the same thing as planting in full sun: moisture evaporates more quickly. In addition, with plenty of air circulation, hopefully breezes will blow any newly-germinated black spot spores away from your roses. In an area with poor air circulation, the spores have nowhere to go but back onto your plant and the surrounding soil. Water correctly. Try to avoid overhead irrigation, which wets the foliage. It\'s more efficient to water at ground level anyway; you lose less water to evaporation. Also, avoid watering late in the day. Water evaporates much slower in cooler evening and nighttime temperatures. Remove leaves that show signs of infection. As soon as you see black spot on your rose foliage, remove any infected leaves. Throw these leaves away. Don\'t put them in your compost pile. If you check your roses regularly, and remove infected foliage immediately, you\'ll have a good chance of keeping black spot under control and keep it from infecting other parts of the plant. Keep a clean garden. Pick up and throw away any fallen rose foliage regularly. Especially in late winter, rake up the area around your roses, dispose of any debris, and give the entire area a good three inch deep layer of mulch. If you do this before new foliage begins to emerge, it\'s fairly unlikely that you\'ll have any major issues with black spot. Choose resistant cultivars. If you\'ve had persistent problems with black spot, be sure to make sure that any new roses you add to your garden are resistant. Your local nursery will be able to provide you with suggestions. If you discover symptoms of black spot, dust with sulfur powder. Sulfur will not kill the fungus spores, but it will prevent a new generation from germinating. Or, spray with a solution of 1 tsp. baking soda mixed in 1 qt. warm water in the early morning hours. Spray roses with a dormant oil or Bordeaux mixture when plants are dormant (usually in winter)." 
Enjoy your beautiful roses, Kelly! 

Hey, Mr. Garden Caddy Guy: 
Q.  What exactly is "compatible planting"?
Alex, California 

A.  Companion/compatible planting is based on the idea that certain plants can benefit others when planted near each other. Scientific studies of companion planting have confirmed that some combinations have benefits unique to those combinations.  Many gardeners have seen how well it works to mate certain plants for their mutual benefit. Some vegetables will yield up to twice as much when planted with companion plants.

Here is a great link to companion charts so you can plan what to plant together.  CHARTS.   Our thanks to

The next step is to plant flowers that repel insects along with your vegetables. Here is a link to flowers that protect your vegetable garden:  CLICK HERE   Thank you to eHowHome. 
Hope this helped.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Gardening Tips for May - Plan Ahead!

May Gardening Tips And To Do List

Use this list to help you figure out what gardening tasks you want to accomplish in the month of May. Plan now so you'll be ready!

photo by the GTC Garden Guy

  • Plant seed or seedlings of warm-season crops like tomatoes, peas, beans, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplants, melons, peppers, pumpkins, and summer squash.
  • Sow beets, carrots, lettuce, and radishes
  • Plant herbs such as thyme, sage, parsley, chives and basil
  • Plant spring flowering shrubs like rhododendrons, azaleas, and camellias
  • Plant or sow summer annuals such as geraniums, marigolds, lobelia, impatiens, sunflowers, zinnias, cosmos, alyssum, and phlox

Important Transplant Info

Transplants become less stressed when they are set out on a cloudy, calm day. Unfortunately, gardeners may need to transplant when they have the time, regardless of the weather. Strong sun and wind are hard on new transplants, so set out plants in the late afternoon when the wind comes down and the plants have overnight to acclimate. Provide shade and wind protection with berry baskets, small crates, or screens. Mulching helps since it lowers the rate at which water evaporates from the soil and controls the soil temperature. For a complete tutorial on How To Use Mulch Properly, and The Wonders of Mulch, see

  • Feed roses after their first bloom, then repeat feeding every four to six weeks. Try a complete fertilizer like a 10-10-10 granular or liquid soluble

  • Fertilize everything right now. Annuals, fruit trees, fuchsias, perennials, shrubs, etc. Use a higher phosphorous fertilizer like a 10-60-10 for better flower, fruit, and vegetable set

  • Feed spring-flowering shrubs like azaleas, camellias, and rhododendrons with an acid based fertilizer as soon as they have finished flowering

  • Later in the month, thin fruit on heavily bearing trees. With triples and doubles, prune to singles

  • To revitalize and encourage branching remove spent flowers from camellias, roses, azaleas, fuchsias, geraniums , rhododendrons, impatiens, and all annuals. This will lengthen the flowering time for eachplant and keep it shaped and compact

  • Newly planted trees and shrubs should be watered deeply every week or two until fall rains begin

  • Water established trees and shrubs deeply and infrequently to help with-stand summer heat

  • Mulch soil to save water, smother weeds, keep soil cooler. Spread 1-3 inches (2.5-7cm) of bark chips, compost, wood shavings, or other organic material under shrubs trees, annuals and vegetables.
  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs and vines after bloom.
  • Prune rhododendrons immediately after flowering. Old clusters should be snapped off when partly dry, but remove with care in order not to decrease or prevent bloom next year.

  • Divide indoor plants when new growth starts in spring. Root cuttings during spring and summer when the plant is actively growing.

Letting a young lawn grow too tall and then cutting it back to the recommended height is detrimental.

Such extreme leaf removal stops the flow of food to the roots, weakens the plants, and opens the lawn to diseases. Never let it grow so tall that you have to cut off more than one third of the grass blade.

More Tips:
  • To keep garden plants growing at a steady rate, fertilize them with manure tea or diluted fish emulsion every six weeks.

  • Lightly side dress perennials, including spring bulbs, with a 5-10-10 or 10-10-10 fertilizer, being careful to avoid the center or crown of the plant.

  • Caladiums need generous amounts of water and fertilizer to encourage continuous production of new leaves during the summer. Apply a light, side dressing of 5-10-5 fertilizer every two weeks, and water thoroughly to encourage bright-colored foliage.

  • Pinch back annuals when 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) high to promote bushy growth. Some that require pinching are zinnias, petunias, and salvia.

Weed and Pest Control

    • Keep an eye out for aphids and earwigs and get them before they take over your plants.
    • Aphids? Spray infested stems, leaves, and buds with very dilute soapy water,  then clear water. It works on even the heaviest infestation.
    • Where earwigs and sowbugs (slaters) are a problem, try trapping them with rolled up newspapers moistened with water. The insects will hide in the papers by day. Gather up the traps and dispose of them frequently.
For Fun

Introducing your children to gardening can be a rewarding experience for the entire family. Give them a small plot of their own with full sun, good soil, and drainage. Geraniums and begonias from pots are easy for little hands to handle, and marigolds, radishes, and favorite vegetables can be added. It's a pleasant
and productive way to spend time together.

  • Keep It All Together in the Garden!
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Garden & Tool Caddy was created by a true garden lover who “donated” one too many garden tools into his recycling bin, whose dog knocked over his water bottle ten too many times, and whose cell phone is still “out there” somewhere under a bush.  Please check out our first post to see how we got started:   You'll see lots of fun pictures, too!


Friday, April 8, 2011

Rust Remedies - Time to Garden

Hello Gardening and Garden Tool Caddy fans!

I don't know about you but I've been waiting through a long winter and Spring is finally here.  However, I always forget the shock value of going outside and finding weeds that popped up even before Spring (how do they do that?) and  rusty tools that look impossible to clean.  Before you throw them out, here's  some healthy tips on how ro remove rust without using harsh chemicals. Our thanks to The Farmer's Almanac for their handy Rust Remedies by Kristen Hewitt.

1 – A good place to begin is simply scrubbing the rusty surface with steel wool, sandpaper, a wire brush, or even a crumpled up ball of tin foil. If the metal hasn’t rusted too deeply, a little elbow grease will go a long way. But even if the rust is deep, it’s a good idea to eliminate outer flakes of rust first, before using other methods.

2 – For more stubborn rust, try using white vinegar. The acetic acid in this common household product is acidic enough to dissolve rust. You can soak smaller things like earrings, wipe it onto a surface with an old cloth, or just pour it directly over rust spots or bolts and screws that have rusted together. Be sure to rinse items thoroughly after the rust has dissolved, since vinegar left on the metal could damage the surface.

3 – Baking soda is great for cleaning lots of household messes, but have you ever tried it on rust? Make a paste by mixing it with water, making sure it is thick enough to stick to the rusted surface. Let it sit for a while and then scrub it off with steel wool or a wire brush. You may have to repeat this process a few times.

4 – Have an extra potato lying around? You can use a slice of it to scrub rusted surfaces—this works especially well for knife blades, pots, and pans. Sprinkle a little salt or baking soda onto the potato and then rub it over the rust spot, or just insert the knife into a potato and let it sit. The oxalic acid in the potato helps to dissolve the rust.

5 – Lemon juice can also dissolve rust—sprinkle some coarse salt onto the rust, then add lemon juice. Don’t let it sit too long, or it might cause damage. Wipe off the juice and rinse. Try mixing lemon juice with a little vinegar for an extra strong solution. Not only will you be rust-free, but whatever you are cleaning will smell like citrus!

6 – Does Coke really remove rust? If you’ve ever dropped a penny in a glass of Coke, you were probably impressed (or alarmed) that the penny came out clean. Coke contains high levels of phosphoric acid (a common ingredient in store-bought rust removal products) and can be used for rusted nuts and bolts or even corroded battery terminals. However, it can be quite a challenge to clean up since it is so sticky, so you may want to try a different method first
Once you’ve finished, rinse and dry all surfaces completely—if you leave items wet, they’ll just rust again! You may want to prime and repaint things like bicycles, lawn furniture, or any surface that will face continuous exposure to wet weather. Also be sure to check bikes (especially the chains) for any damage deep rust might have caused before you start using them again.

Happy Gardening from GardenToolCaddy.Com
Please check out
our very first post to see how we got started.

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

What About Those Herbs?

Thank you to the Gardening Guru for these great herb suggestions for your garden.

Angelica. Requires light shade and moist soil. Direct seed in the fall. It is considered a "hardy" plant and does best in cool climates. Angelica is mainly used as a condiment or confection. Roots and leaves are harvested in late summer of its second year of growth. Biennial.

Anise. Prefers a sunny location and well-drained soil. Sow seeds in the spring. It is characterized as a "half hardy" plant and requires alkaline soils. Leaves and seeds taste like licorice. Annual.

Basil. Grows well in bright light and moist soil. Propagate in the spring. It is a "tender" plant and grows well in containers. Often used in cooking from Thai recipes to Italian. Annual.

Bay. Requires light shade and well drained soil. Propagate with cuttings. Considered a "tender" plant, bay grows well in pots and is known for its leaves. Perennial.

Borage. Grows well in sunny locations and prefers dry soil. Direct seed in the spring. It is considered a hardy annual and often self-seeds. Flowers and leaves give a cucumber-like flavor to drinks. Annual.

Caraway. Select growing areas with full sun and well-drained soil. Seed in spring or fall. It is a hardy plant. Caraway seeds are aromatic and are popular in cooking and as an ingredient of liqueurs. Biennial.

Catnip. Prefers full sun and adequate moisture and well-drained soil. It should be direct seeded in the spring. Catnip can also be propagated through divisions or cuttings. It is considered a hardy plant and should be cut back in autumn. Often used for tea and is attractive to cats. Perennial.

Chervil. Requires partial shade and well drained soil. Seed in the spring. Chervil is a hardy plant and, if sown early, will self-seed. It is used as a garnish, like parsley. Annual.

Chives. Plant in partial shade and dry soil. Seed in the spring or use divisions to propagate. It is a hardy plant and will also do well indoors. Leaves provide an onion like flavor. Perennial.

Cicely. Likes growing areas with partial shade and rich soil. Seed in fall. Sweet cicely is a hardy plant that was once used as both a sugar substitute and as a furniture polish. Perennial.

Cilantro/Coriander. Grows well in sunny locations with rich, well-drained soil. Sow seeds in the spring. The leaves are known as cilantro while the seeds are called coriander. A hardy plant, this herb has a pungent taste that isn't for everyone. Popular in Thai and Mexican cooking. Annual.

Dill. Appreciates full sun and rich, well-drained soil. Seed in spring. It is best known for its use in pickling. Annual.

Fennel. Plant in sunny locations with well-drained soil. Seed in the spring or use divisions to propagate. A hardy herb, it has a faint anise fragrance. Perennial.

Horehound. Requires a sunny spot and dry, alkaline soil to grow well. Seed in the spring or use divisions or cuttings to propagate, A hardy plant, this herb is often used to flavor candy. Perennial.

Hyssop. Thrives in bright light and dry soil. Seed in the spring or use divisions or cuttings to propagate. A hardy plant, hyssop has a flavor that is slightly bitter and minty. Used to flavor liqueurs or its young leaves can be added to salad. Perennial.

Lavender. Prefers gardens with full sun and dry soil. Seed in the fall or use cuttings. Lavender is a hardy plant with fragrant leaves often used in potpourri and sachets. Perennial.

Lemon Balm. Select garden areas with partial shade and moist soil. Seed in the spring or propagate with divisions or cuttings. It is considered a hardy plant. Often used in jams, jellies and fruit salads. Perennial.

Lemon Verbena. Thrives in partial shade and well-drained soil. Direct seed in the spring or use cuttings to propagate. Lemon verbena is a semi-hardy plant that does well indoors. It adds a lemony taste to teas, cold drinks and jellies. Perennial.

Lovage. Needs light shade and a rich, moist soil to grow well. Direct seed in the fall. A hardy plant, lovage will self seed. Adds a spicy taste to dishes and is sometimes used in teas to reduce flatulence. Perennial.

Marjoram. Appreciates partial shade and rich, well-drained soil. Seed in the spring or propagate with cuttings. An excellent container plant, marjoram attracts beneficial insects and butterflies to the garden. It is sometimes called oregano and is both sweet and spicy. Often used in meat dishes. Perennial.

Myrtle. Requires a sunny garden spot and well-drained soil to thrive. Often propagated from cuttings. Myrtle is a tender plant and is often grown in containers. Its fragrant leaves are used in potpourri and herb sachets. Perennial.

Oregano. Grows best in full sun and sandy, well-drained soil. Seed inside in spring and transplant or propagate with divisions or cuttings. Oregano is a hardy plant that should be cut back in late fall. Perennial.

Parsley. Prefers light shade and rich, moist soil. Direct seed in spring. It is considered a half hardy plant and often self-seeds. Biennial.

Peppermint. Thrives in light shade and moist soil. Propagate through divisions or cuttings. Peppermint is a hardy herb that spreads easily. Many gardeners prefer to grow in containers. Perennial.

Rosemary. Select a planting location with full sun and dry, well drained soil. Can be propagated through cuttings and is considered a tender plant. Does well indoors and is often used on veal, lamb, shellfish and other meats. Perennial.

Sage. Grows best in full sun and well drained, rich soil. Seed in spring or use cuttings. Sage is a hardy plant and should be replaced every five years. Use with meats or in dressings. Perennial.

Savory. Requires full sun and rich soil to thrive. Sow seeds in spring. It is considered a "semi hardy" plant. Use as a condiment for meats and vegetables. Annual.

Spearmint. Appreciates partial shade and moist soil. Propagate with divisions or cuttings. Spearmint is a hardy plant that spreads easily. Can be grown as an indoors plant. Perennial.

Tarragon. Choose garden spots with full sun and rich, dry soil. Propagate through divisions or cuttings. Tarragon is considered a hardy plant that often requires winter protection. Used in Barnaise sauce and Dijon mustards. Perennial.

Thyme. Needs a sunny location and dry soil to grow well. Direct seed in spring or use cuttings or divisions to propagate. Thyme is a hardy plant that can be grown indoors. Used to season meats and vegetables. Perennial.

Woodruff. Plant in partial shade and moist, well drained soil. May be propagated through divisions or cuttings. Woodruff is a hardy herb and provides good ground cover. Used in everything from potpourri to May wine. Perennial.
Source: The University of Missouri.

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Garden & Tool Caddy was created by a true garden lover who “donated” one too many garden tools into his recycling bin, whose dog knocked over his water bottle ten too many times, and whose cell phone is still “out there” somewhere under a bush.

Happy Gardening from GardenToolCaddy.Com

Please check out
our very first post to see how we got started.