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Spring Gardening Tips

The Martha Stewart Show, April 2011

Spring is the time to dust the cobwebs off our flowerpots and planting paraphernalia to prepare for the gardening season ahead. Here, Martha shares simple ways to get your tools in tip-top shape using basic bleach.

Flowerpots
Spruce up flowerpots after a long winter spent in storage with a solution of 3/4 cup Clorox bleach to 1 gallon water. Using a stiff brush, scrub off any stubborn dirt.

Mechanical Equipment
Ensure all mechanical equipment, like lawn mowers, leaf-blowers, trimmers, and edgers, is in working condition by checking the oil, tire pressure, and blade sharpness. Remove grime by cleaning with the bleach solution detailed above.

Shears and Pruners
To sharpen shears that have grown dull, try this easy trick: Fold extra-fine grain sandpaper so that the grain faces out on both sides. Then, make several clean cuts with the shears.

When doing a lot of pruning, dip pruners in a bleach solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water between cuts to prevent transferring any diseases that may be present from plant to plant.

Cut Flowers
When it comes time to pick your first spring blooms, keep them fresh and vibrant for as long as possible by adding 1/4 teaspoon bleach to every quart of cool water used in the vase, to slow bacteria growth.

Stained Clothing
Don't be afraid to wear white in the garden. If you end up with dirt stains, presoak your white clothing in warm water with a powder detergent for at least 1 hour. Then, wash as usual with your favorite detergent and 3/4 cup bleach. Repeat process as needed.