You don’t need a green thumb to have a vibrant, plentiful garden. Rather, you just need to know a few simple tricks of the trade. Whether you’re planting a garden looking to be environmentally friendly, trying to save some money, or just want to enjoy the romantic notion of a quaint garden try these helpful gardening tricks.
1. Think Outside the Planter
Using planters are always an option, but they’re not the only way to get your seedlings started. For one, save those toilet paper rolls. You can fold up the bottom and then add some dirt along with seeds. Once they start to sprout, just plant them in the ground, because the toilet paper rolls are biodegradable.
The same goes for lemon rinds and egg shells. Both are great holders for the beginnings of a seedling, and both are used in compost, so you know they’ll work well in soil, too. Also, wheatgrass grows well in egg shells.
2. Recycle Your Gallon Jug
Rather than put your empty plastic milk jug in the garbage or recycling bin, turn it into a tool for your garden. You can either make it into a watering can by poking small holes into the plastic cap or turn it into three different kinds of shovels.
3. Make Grocery-Bought Herbs Last
Herbs and vegetables can be expensive, but not if you repropagate them. For herbs, take some cuttings, put them into water until they begin to grow some roots, and then replant.
4. Keep Plants Watered While You’re Away
No need to hire someone to water your plants when you’ve got paper towels and two glasses of water. Just put a glass of water at each end of the plants, roll the paper towel tightly, place it over the plants and put the ends of the towel in each water glass. The paper towel will soak up just enough water to keep your plants hydrated while you’re out of town.
5. Prepare Your Garden With Newspaper
In the fall, save the Sunday paper after you read it, because you can use it to get a part of your yard ready for a new garden patch. To start, mow the area where you plan to plant. You’ll then put a few layers down: start with the newspaper and then add either bark mulch or shredded leaves. Get the layers wet, and then wait. Once spring rolls around, you’ll have a new garden bed.
6. Use Epsom Salt
To encourage your plants to grow and keep those pesky bugs away, all you need is Epsom salt. That’s because it works both as a fertilizer (the magnesium sulfate encourages plants to grow) and a natural and safe pesticide (the salt doesn’t taste good to bugs).
7. Aspirin: Not Just For Headaches
Got a fungus problem in your garden? Then break out 650 milligrams of aspirin and put it in a quart of water. Spray it on the fungi – whether it’s black spots on your plant’s leaves or a powdery looking mildew – and pretty soon the nasty fungus will disappear.
8. Citrus Rinds: Pest Control
Save your orange peels if you want to keep away all kinds of pests. That’s because citrus rinds, when tossed with your garden mulch, have been known to keep bugs – as well as neighborhood dogs and cats – away from your garden.
9. Soak Seeds Before Planting
If you want your seeds to sprout and grow faster, soak them in water first. This works because moisture is one sign for a seed to start the germination process. To do this, simply put the seeds in a bowl of hot tap water for about 12-24 hours. After they’re done soaking, plant them as directed.
10. Use a Sponge in Your Planter
We’ve already established that moisture is key to good growing conditions. Since sponges are great at retaining moisture, it only makes sense to add a sponge to your potted plant to help your plant retain as much water as possible.
11. Save Space With Bathroom Caddies
If you don’t have room for a garden, you can still grow a couple of plants and herbs. All you need is to create space by making a hanging garden out of bathroom caddies.
12. Coffee: It’s Not Just For Waking Up in the Morning
For one, use your leftover coffee grounds to enrich your soil with 2 percent nitrogen; an added bonus is that the grounds help deter critters. That’s not all; use some of your coffee filters in your pots to prevent water leaks.
13. Fix the pH of Your Soil
The pH of your soil can either help or hurt the growth of your garden. So, after testing the pH of your soil, you may discover that your garden needs a bit of help. Use vinegar and sodium bicarbonate to alter the pH of your soil. Bonus: Vinegar can kill weeds, while baking soda can kill fungus.
14. Prevent Tools from Rusting
Tools are a key part of keeping your garden in tip-top shape. Keep your tools from rusting by storing them in builders’ sand.
15. Repel Mosquitoes Naturally
You’ve spent all this time and effort on creating a beautiful and fruitful garden. Now you should be able to enjoy it. To guarantee that, keep mosquitos away by finishing your garden with a few plants that naturally repel them, like citronella, lemon balm, marigolds and more.
Gardens may take work, but gardening can be fun with clever tricks like these. What’s your favorite gardening trick?
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