Map Your Storage Area to Find Equipment Easily, Encourage Hens to Lay with Salt Eggs, and More Country Lore

Get rid of aphids with a homemade potassium-based insectidal soap, cover seeds with damp fill sand after rainy weather planting, remove a coffee stain with beer, control yellow jackets and ants with borax syrup, make a crawl space comfortable with scrap plywood, keep cool with an old hat dipped in water, reuse jars to freeze leftover vegetables, use a banana peel for shoe polish, get eggshell fragments out with eggshell halves, control fleas with petroleum jelly, bait mouse traps with peanut butter, keep mice away with a pet hamster, and other handy tips from MOTHER’s readers.

| August/September 1992

Cover Seeds with Damp Fill Sand After Rainy Weather Planting

I would like to share a gardening practice with MOTHER readers.

We work up our garden in the fall to make it ready for early spring planting. We sometimes get a week or two of rainy weather just when we would like to plant. So we make our rows with the hoe even if it is wet, plant the seeds in the moist soil, and cover them with damp fill sand. Even if the sun comes out and makes the dirt crusty, the tiny sprouts come right up through the sand.
—Joy Gonnerman, St. Paul, Nebraska  

Ants Farm Aphids 

I hate to pop Chad Miebach's bubble, but unless the ants are different in Arizona, the Department of Agriculture's Home and Garden Bulletin, No. 67, says that ants are a sign of aphid infestation and are pests themselves. Aphids produce a sweetish, sticky substance called "honeydew" which ants love. Research shows that ants actually "farm" aphids for this reason and will "milk" the aphids when production is low. Whenever you see an unusually large ant population around gardens or fruit trees, check for aphids.

Though I have heard about the wonders of garlic oil (I haven't tried it), according to Rodale Organic Gardening, you can get rid of aphids with the use of a potassium-based insecticidal soap which you can make at home by combining:

1 teaspoon brown soap
1 teaspoon window-cleaning spirits
5 quarts water

When you spray the plants, just be careful not to spray the roots.
Janet Sue Hicks, Fountain, Florida  

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