By: Leslie Garner, Early Childhood Educator
Who doesn’t love a good hack to make life easier and save a little money too? I know these days most people are searching for quick tricks and shortcut ideas for all types of things, including gardening tips. Read on for some interesting garden hacks that just might make your life easier.
Tips and Tricks for the Garden
Here’s a list of useful gardening tips for gardeners you may not know about but could be worth a try:
- Smother grass and weeds with paper products. If you have places where you need to kill grass, you can do so without using harmful chemicals. Just put that old piled up cardboard or newspaper to use by smothering the grass. Also known as sheet mulching, it works the same for pesky garden weeds too.
- Keep dirt out of fingernails with soap. There are a number of ways to use bar soap in the garden, but here’s one that most gardeners should appreciate: Before you go out in the garden, rub your nails over a bar of soap. This acts as a buffer and will keep dirt from becoming stuck under your fingernails.
- Grow new roses in potatoes. You read that right. Just place your rose cutting from a mature bush into a potato. It’s full of nutrients and moisture.
- Planting a pot in a pot. If you have invasive plants in your garden, prevent their spread by using plastic pots. Before planting in the ground, plant in a pot and then bury the pot into your garden. The pot will act as a barrier to keep the plant in check and prevent it from spreading.
- Self-cleaning tool holder. All you need is a terracotta pot filled with a mixture of sand and mineral oil (baby oil can also be substituted). Be sure to cover the drainage hole if your pot has one.
- Plant tag info. Do you have a growing collection of plant tags lying around but don’t want to toss them out? Create a plant tag key ring to keep them neatly organized so you can easily refer back to them if you need to. Just punch holes in the tags and put them all on a key ring.
- Kill weeds with vinegar. Instead of using harmful chemicals, especially if you have young children or pets, try using vinegar for natural weed control. While it may not tackle those deep-rooted weeds, it will easily take care of pesky shallow rooted ones. You can also make a mixture of liquid soap, salt, and vinegar added in a spray bottle for a homemade weed killer that is inexpensive and chemical free.
- Help seeds last longer. Don’t toss those silica gel packs that come with your new purchases. When placed with stored seeds, it can make them last longer.
- Recycle cooking water to feed plants. Use your “cooking water” to water your plants, such as water from boiling veggies. Instead of pouring the water down the sink, let it cool and then pour it over your plants.
- Design tips for gardeners. If you have a smaller garden space but wish it were larger, place mirrors in the garden on fences (or nearby structures). This gives the illusion that your garden is bigger than it really is.
- Don’t toss those old colanders. These make perfect flowerpots! Coming in a wide range of colors, and complete with drainage holes, your plants will love them. Just add some landscape fabric to keep soil in but allow water to drain out. These can also be made into hanging baskets or gifts.
- Use cola on your azaleas. While using cola in the garden may sound odd, many gardeners say it works. It can raise the acidity in the soil and provide nutrients for microbes, resulting in more organic matter in which the plant can feed. If your skeptical, give it a try.
- Keep pantyhose handy. Placing pantyhose over developing fruit helps keep it safe from birds, insects, and other critters until ripe and ready to harvest. The material also allows for stretching in order to grow with the fruit.
- Old baby gates make wonderful trellises. If you have young children, you likely have an old baby gate or two laying around. Put them to use in the garden as trellises for your vining plants.
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