I’m a gardening pro and found the eight laziest ways to keep your plants alive – plus they’ll only cost you pennies

A GARDENING pro has shared eight of the easiest tips to keep your plants alive – and they’ll only set you back pennies.

Armen suggested using a tablespoon of cinnamon to keep pesky insects away, and a sponge at the bottom of your plant pots for a no-effort solution to watering.

Armen took to TikTok to share eight easy ways to look after your plants - including using cinnamon to ward off pesky insects


Armen took to TikTok to share eight easy ways to look after your plants – including using cinnamon to ward off pesky insectsCredit: TikTok/@creative_explained
He also recommends using cellotape to remove spider mites from leaves, and leftover potato water to add key nutrients back into your soil.


He also recommends using cellotape to remove spider mites from leaves, and leftover potato water to add key nutrients back into your soil.Credit: TikTok/@creative_explained

He also claimed keen gardeners can use cellotape to quickly remove spider mites from leaves.

Known online as @creative_explained, the content creator regularly shares life hacks and green-fingered tips with his 5.9 million followers.

In a new TikTok reel, he said: “Gardening hacks.

“If you put a sponge in the bottom of a pot it will act as a water reserve for your plants, keeping the soil nice and moist.

“Sprinkle cinnamon on the soil to keep ants away and stimulate root growth!

“Misting your plants with chamomile tea will boost their growth and prevent diseases on the leaves.

“If you want your plants to bloom, sprinkle some Epsom salt on the soil.

“To quickly remove bugs off leaves, just wrap some tape around your hand and then just tap away.

“Check this out…dead on contact. Sorry spider mites.

“After you’ve done boiling potatoes, all that water is packed with nutrients.

“Don’t dump it out. Save it and use it to fertilize your plants!

“Clone your plants with honey! Just get a clipping, cut the bottom at an angle, dip it in the honey and plant it in soil. done.

“Put a whole egg in the hole next time you plant something – it’ll enrich the soil.”

Fans loved his quick, green-fingered tips, with the video gaining more than 32,500 likes and 344,400 views.

In the comments, other TikTokkers shared their reactions, with one writing: “So many ideas!”

“Okay the cinnamon and epsom salt are true and will work. They are not long term like everything in this video, but it works,” another commented.

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A third added: “I love this guy! He has all kinds of tricks for plants and stuff.”

Someone else put: “Constantly learning. Love your info. I use it offensive.”

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Get ready for No-Mow May

Bugleweed spreads in dense mats help turn a turfgrass lawn into a friendlier place for pollinators.

For about eight weeks, from early March as the snow is melting to the beginning of summer, the annual springtime resurrection of the landscape passes as a blur for those of us who work in the green industry. With more work to do than anyone can expect to fit in a day, spring is equal parts exhilarating and exhausting for gardeners. As we try to keep our heads above water, one of my favorite gardening trends of the last five or 10 years gives some welcome relief.

“No-Mow May” is a relatively simple concept with big implications. Don’t mow your lawn for the month so your landscape can better support early season pollinators. A mowing pause allows lawn “weeds” like henbit (Lamium amplexicaule), white clover (Trifolium repens), or creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea) to flower, providing nectar and pollen sources for bees and other pollinators.

There are more than 40 million acres of irrigated turf grass across the country. For many native insects, especially pollinators who rely on flowering plants, that area may as well be desert. Scratch that. Deserts are way too biodiverse to compare to managed turfgrass. Those 40 million acres of lawn may as well be asphalt. Worse, considering the amount of pesticides dumped on turfgrass each year (an estimated five to seven pounds per acre according to the University of Massachusetts), those 40 million acres are really more like superfund sites if you’re an insect. Recent legislation to curb pesticide usage in the commonwealth limits the use of neonics, a specific class of systemic pesticides that make flowering plants toxic to the insects that depend on them. While this moves the state in the right direction, there’s more work to do to convince the average landowner that there is a better way to manage a lawn. No-Mow May is a great way to support the effort, diversify our landscapes, and make our yards better habitat for beneficial insects.

I’ve been practicing No-Mow May since I first bought my house in 2013. The previous homeowner planted bugleweed (Ajuga reptans) as a groundcover in a garden bed adjacent to the sidewalk. Bugleweed, a European plant species in the mint family, forms a dense mat of evergreen foliage. It’s a great groundcover for those who have the space to let it spread and there are many cultivated forms available at local garden centers. The bugleweed in my garden escaped the bed where it was planted and started spreading through the lawn in front of my house. That first spring, I let the bugleweed flower in the lawn, carefully mowing around its purple flowers and letting the honeybees from the farm down the street do their thing. The bugleweed spreads a little every year, outcompeting the turfgrass. Ten years later, my family enjoys a huge spring carpet of color, and I enjoy spending less time mowing at the height of spring.

My approach to No-Mow May might not be for everyone, but luckily there are many different options for those who

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A commercial real estate crash? Analysts, Elon Musk sound alarm

There’s a growing chorus of investors and economists — along with Elon Musk — who are warning of a looming crisis in the commercial real estate market.

Analysts with Morgan Stanley recently joined the chorus sounding alarms for the commercial real estate sector, which began facing challenges more than two years ago when the COVID-19 pandemic spurred a sudden shift to remote work and turned downtown offices into ghost towns.

Now, the sector could be the next in trouble amid banking turmoil, which led to the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank last month.

Commercial real estate crisis?

“Commercial real estate, already facing headwinds from a shift to hybrid/remote work, has to refinance more than half of its mortgage debt in the next two years,” Lisa Shalett, chief investment officer for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, wrote in a weekly Global Investment Committee note issued Monday.

Shalett wrote Morgan Stanley strategists are noting the commercial real estate sector faces a “huge hurdle: More than 50{b5e4caabb46945dac267f6fa1789e0b2b1831cce91f79b27f72a0de22e4bb018} of the $2.9 trillion in commercial mortgages will need to be renegotiated in the next 24 months when new lending rates are likely to be up by 350 to 450 basis points.”

Shalett also noted commercial real estate has “primacy on the balance sheets of the regional banks, which in the past cycle accounted for 70{b5e4caabb46945dac267f6fa1789e0b2b1831cce91f79b27f72a0de22e4bb018} to 80{b5e4caabb46945dac267f6fa1789e0b2b1831cce91f79b27f72a0de22e4bb018} of all new loan originations.”

Commercial real estate prices, Shalett noted, have “already turned down and office vacancy rates have moved toward a 20-year high.”

Morgan Stanley analysts are forecasting a peak-to-through commercial real estate price decline “of as much as 40{b5e4caabb46945dac267f6fa1789e0b2b1831cce91f79b27f72a0de22e4bb018}, worse than in the Great Financial Crisis,” she wrote.

“Distress of this type has historically not only hurt the landlords and the bankers who lend to them, but also the interconnected business communities, private capital funders and owners of any underlying securitized debt,” Shalett continued. “The tech and consumer discretionary sectors will not be immune.”

Morgan Stanley analysts “fear stresses in other asset classes” like commercial real estate “will become another headwind for megacap stocks alongside those posed by a profits recession and/or economic recession.”

Venture capital and private equity could also face hurdles, wrote Shalett.

“Venture capital faces markdowns, a cash crunch and a challenging funding environment. In private equity, recent-vintage funds are susceptible to markdowns and a slowdown in raising new funds,” she wrote. “Consider rebalancing portfolios with an eye toward markdowns on illiquid investments. Venture capital and commercial real estate are especially vulnerable.”

While many stock investors have “declared the bear market is over,” Shalett wrote, those calls ignore “the realities that corporate earnings are vulnerable, and turmoil in regional banking could tighten loan standards.” That could turn trickle down and reverberate across business communities and the economy.

“Stock investors are dismissing the potential effects on the economy from the recent regional banking turmoil such as greatly tightened lending standards, which could increase the probability of a near-term recession,” she wrote.

Elon Musk on commercial real estate

Last week, Tesla and

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10 crops for rapid results |

Fast-growing vegetables can give you results quickly and simply. When some vegetables can take a long time to grow, you can easily get impatient. This is where you utilize quick-growing vegetables.

If you are thinking of when to plant vegetables, planting speedy crops will give you harvests while you wait for other slower-growing crops. Also, by growing these fast-growing vegetable plants successionally it can mean a continuous supply of homegrown produce all through the season.

The likes of micro-greens, salad leaves, and radishes can give you rapid results with crops in just a few weeks and many of the fastest-growing crops are simple to grow, even for a beginner gardener. I have grown all of these quick-growing vegetables in the kitchen gardens that I worked in during my time as a professional gardener. I found it very rewarding to sow the seeds, watch them grow, and then get a harvest in such a short period of time.

A selection of vegetables in a wire basket

Sowing fast growing vegetable plants can fill gaps as other slower crops develop

(Image credit: Getty/Debby Lewis-Harrison)

10 fast-growing vegetables to add to your veg plot

These fast-growing vegetables can all give you fast results and are easy to grow at home. As well as for growing in beds, if you are looking for vegetable garden ideas, these crops are suitable for raised garden beds and many are even ideal for vegetable container gardens.

Always follow the guidelines on seed packets and be aware that the speed of growth for all crops outdoors will depend on the time of year they are sown and the weather conditions.

1. Microgreens

A tray of radish microgreens growing

Radish microgreens are a great crop for growing on a kitchen windowsill

(Image credit: Getty/HUIZENG HU)

  • ready to harvest: 14-21 days

Microgreens can be grown on a windowsill and go from sowing the seeds to harvesting in as little as two weeks. They are the seedlings of plants and are packed with nutrition and flavour.

Common microgreens to grow at home include cress, radish, beets, pea shoots, and arugula. You can grow microgreens year-round and they can be added to salads or used as garnishes on dishes. Sow microgreens regularly, every week or two, to ensure a constant supply of delicious and nutritious shoots.

Buy microgreen seeds from Burpee (opens in new tab).

2. Radish

Harvesting radish out of the vegetable garden

Radishes are a great option for anyone new to vegetable gardening

(Image credit: Getty/Ipinchuk)

  • ready to harvest: 20-25 days

Radishes are one of the fastest-growing crops and can be grown either in the ground or in raised beds, pots or containers. Sow the seeds thin and thin seedlings out until they are an inch apart. Water regularly and harvest when the radishes are about an inch in diameter.

Growing radishes means you can discover the wide range of colors, shapes, and flavors they come in.

Buy radish seeds at Walmart (opens in new tab).

3. Arugula

A close-up of arugula in a bowl

The baby leaves of arugula have a sweet taste

(Image credit: Getty/Maciej Nicgorski / EyeEm)

  • ready to harvest: 20-50 days


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Paid Online Survey Sites That Will Earn You Extra Money | Family Finance

Anyone looking to generate side income can participate in paid online survey sites – some of them are even reputable. Paid online survey sites are pretty straightforward: Participants answer some questions or fulfill some tasks online and earn money in exchange for their time.

But is it easy cash? Unfortunately, no. Some paid online survey sites may be worth your time, however, if you keep a few rules in mind:

  1. Never pay to use an online survey site. You’re the one who is supposed to get paid. If you have to spend any money to join these sites, you are probably being scammed. Shopping at a retailer through these sites is obviously fine; in those cases, you’re buying products.
  2. Don’t depend on the income from survey sites. There are better side gigs. These paid online survey sites work best if you get some enjoyment by trying to score good deals and earn extra cash – and if you don’t mind spending a few minutes filling out a survey, only to be told you don’t qualify because you fall into the wrong demographic.
  3. Be realistic about the time investment. Filling out a survey sounds like something that will take just a few minutes. Don’t be fooled. Sometimes they can take as long as 15 or 20 minutes.
  4. Don’t expect to get paid quickly. It can sometimes take days or weeks before you earn enough points or money to cash out.
  5. Don’t invest significant time on survey sites. If you’re having fun earning a little extra money, great. If it feels like work, you should try to find some work that actually pays decent money.

With those caveats in mind, here are some of the best paid online survey sites that can help generate extra income.

Branded Surveys

You can sign up or join via Facebook. You create a profile and answer a few questions about your life. The more personal information you give, the more the company knows about you – you really shouldn’t use any of these sites unless you’re OK with businesses knowing personal things about you – so it can offer surveys tailored to your interests or lifestyle.

You earn points from completing surveys for market research clients of Branded Surveys, which are being done for Fortune 500 companies, and you can redeem the points for cash.

The average payout is up to (note the “up to”) 300 points per survey, and you can cash out once you hit 500 points, which equals $5. According to Branded Surveys, 100 points equal $1. You can get paid via PayPal, gift cards, PayPal or a Branded Pay account.

Google Opinion Rewards

Google is everywhere, including in the paid online survey site industry. You download an app and answer some questions about yourself, then based on that information you’ll receive surveys “around once a week, although it may be more or less frequent,” according to the Google Opinions Rewards website.

These surveys, conducted by market researchers, are typically short, and you

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