• A garden manicure is what my mother calls it: When working with plants and dirt, rake your nails across a bar of soap. The soap prevents dirt particles from lodging under nails, and the soap washes away easily when you are finished. Happy Gardening! — JoAnn
• If the string on your trimmer is always breaking or jamming, try this old trick: Give the coiled string a spray with vegetable oil before you thread it. It lubricates the line, making it less likely to pull and less likely to break.
• “If you have a spade with a long handle, you can transfer common measurements to the handle. Just lay a tape measure alongside the handle, and use a black marker to note common spacing, like feet and inches. Then, when you put in plants, you can check quickly whether they are spaced correctly. Very handy!” — P.E. in Arkansas
• “Garden tool storage doesn’t have to be hard. Fill a wide mouth bucket with clean sand. Add a half quart or motor oil and stir. Then use the sand to clean and store your garden tools like shovels, rakes or hoes. The sand/oil mixture helps clean the metal surfaces, and the heaviness of the container lets you stick them in the sand without fear of everything falling down, like it would if you leaned them along a wall.” — E. in North Carolina
• Here’s a recipe for a quickie bird feeder or bath: Flip over a nice-size flower pot, and place the pot’s tray on the top. Fill with seed or water. The birds will thank you — maybe even by eating some nuisance bugs along with the seed.
(c) 2014 King Features Synd.