18 Clever Gardening Tricks That Will Make Your Neighbors Jealous
Gardening is a relaxing hobby that many people enjoy. It can entail some level of skill and can take up quite a bit of time but there are plenty of tips and tricks that you can use on your own to make gardening easier. These tips can also help your garden be more successful in its output. Try some or all of these tricks on your own and see how successful they can be.
1. Use Coffee Filters as Pot Liners
When growing plants in a flower pot, start by lining the pot with a clean coffee filter. This will help keep the soil from falling out of the bottom of the pot. It will also help hold water in the pot for a little longer. Usually, when you water a plant the water comes right out from the bottom of the pot, the coffee filter will slow down the water slightly so the plant can absorb the moisture better.
2. Add Epsom Salt to Potting Soil
Epsom salt isn’t just for relieving aches and pains in your body. It can also be used in your garden to increase the garden’s ability to absorb nutrients. It can also help seed germination. Simply mix one or two tablespoons of Epsom salt in every hole in the dirt before you place seeds into the hole. You can also add one cup of salt for every 100 square feet of soil if you have a large garden.
3. Make a Hanging Herb Garden
If you are low on space but still want to have an herb garden, use a hanging shoe rack to make a vertical garden for your personal use. This is also a great choice if you have pets that might dig up your garden. Start by poking some holes in the bottom of the pockets for drainage and fill the pockets of the shoe rack with potting soil or compost. Add the plants you want and care for them as you would a normal potted plant.
4. Reuse Coffee Grounds
Your used coffee grounds actually have multiple uses for gardening. It can be used to add nutrients to the soil since the grounds are made of 10 percent nitrogen which can help your plants grow. Coffee grounds can also help keep slugs and snails out of your garden since the grounds are acidic. Simply add coffee grounds to the soil or add them in when fertilizing the plants.
5. Grow Seedlings in Eggshells
Eggshells can also have multiple purposes in your garden. Instead of growing seedlings in pots or other containers, start them in eggshells. Plant the seedlings in an eggshell (one that is intact enough to hold soil and seedlings) in the same way you would in a pot or plastic container. Once the seedling grows large enough you can take the full plant complete with the eggshell and plant it in your garden. The shell will decompose in the soil and act as compost that adds calcium to the soil naturally.
6. Start Plants in Citrus Rinds
Similar to eggshells you can also start your seedlings in citrus peels. Take a citrus fruit of your choice (the bigger the better, obviously) and hollow out the rind. Fill the rind with soil, add in two seeds, and care for it as you normally would in a typical pot. When the seedling is mature enough to transplant into your garden you can take the whole plant, rind included, and plant them in the earth. The rind will self-compost in the soil and add nutrients to the soil and to your plant.
7. Keep Critters Away with Plastic Forks
If you’re concerned with critters and pets getting into your garden and eating your plants, you can use plastic forks to keep them out. All you have to do is place plastic forks in the soil strategically prong side up. This will deter critters from coming into the garden since they won’t be able to avoid the sharp prongs. Exact placement will depend on the layout of your garden but use your best judgment and place them around in ways that won’t allow a clear path for critters.
8. Grow Roses with Potatoes
Potatoes can be used to propagate roses using rose cuttings. They have their own nutrients as well as moisture that will be transferred to the rose allowing it grow nicely. Take your rose cuttings and push each cutting into an individual potato. Plant the potato and cutting and tend to it as you would any other plant. You can also use this technique for other wood-stemmed plants.
9. Make Compost at Home
As beneficial as store-bought compost is it can be expensive. You can bypass the cost by making your own at home. You can use readily available organic matter to make your own compost to use in your garden. Dead leaves, egg shells, vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and other organic matter (no animal products!) can be placed in a container to break down. Add the contents to soil to create compost that you can use normally in your garden.
10. Wine Bottle Irrigation
If you have potted plants that you water regularly, consider using wine bottles to do the job for you. By filling a clean wine bottle with water and placing it upside down in your potted plant you can slowly water your plant. This will water your plant slowly so it can absorb the water evenly. The upside down bottle will allow the water to trickle out slowly instead of quickly saturating the plant. This can be beneficial on hot, arid days.
11. Grow Sweeter Tomatoes with Baking Soda
You can harvest sweeter tomatoes by sprinkling baking soda on the soil as you grow your tomato plants. It only takes less than one-quarter of a cup per plant to achieve this. Sprinkle the baking soda on the soil around the plant taking care not to get it on the actual plant. You can alternatively add one teaspoon of baking soda to a gallon of water and water your tomato plants with the infused water. This lowers the acidity of the soil which leads to sweeter tomatoes. Note: tomato plants should be no smaller than one-inch in diameter before doing this.
12. Use Milk Jugs to Protect Plants
If you’re dealing with unpredictable weather and are worried about frost harming your plants, create a makeshift incubator with empty milk jugs. Take a clean milk jug and cut the bottom of it off and discard the lid of the jug. Place the cut jug gently over the plants in question and pack soil around the bottom of the jug. Your plant will be protected from the elements and you can still water it from the opening of the jug. Once the weather evens out and frost is no longer a concern, remove the jug.
13. Make Eco-friendly Newspaper Pots
You can take newspaper and shape it into a pot and use it to grow seedlings. Similar to the eggshell and citrus rind technique, you will plant your seedlings in the newspaper pot normally and transfer the entire thing to a larger pot or your garden. The paper can either be removed or left to break down in the soil. This will save you money on seedling containers and limit plastic waste.
14. Make a Double-purpose Cucumber Trellis
Cucumbers are a climbing plant that requires a trellis for proper growth. You can make your own trellis with a few pieces of wood and some chicken wire. Place the trellis near your cucumber plants so the plant can climb up the chicken wire. You can then place shade-based plants like lettuce underneath the angled trellis where it can benefit from the shade that the climbing cucumber plant creates.
15. Use Diapers to Boost Moisture Levels
Placing a clean diaper at the bottom of your potted plant absorbent side down can help increase the moisture levels in the soil. Soak the diaper with water before placing it in the pot and let the diaper keep the soil moist for longer periods of time. Since the diaper is nontoxic and also biodegradable it will break down naturally without harming the plant.
16. Make Seed Tape
Instead of buying expensive seed tape, use toilet paper to make your own. Roll out enough toilet paper to match the length of your garden row, fold it up, and cut it in half. Next, make a paste with one part flour and three parts water. Roll out the cut toilet paper, add a drop of paste every two inches, and add one to two seeds to each dot. Lay the paper in your garden row and cover with dirt.
17. Create an Automatic Water Supply
If you forget to water your indoor plants or if you’re going away for a few days, this method can help keep your plants watered in the interim. Roll up a few paper towels tightly and place one end of the roll in a glass of water and lay the rest of the paper across the soil of your plants. The paper towels will absorb the water and then disperse it evenly onto the soil of the plant over time. This will keep your indoor plants hydrated while you’re away.
18. Save Instructions on a Keyring
All of those plant tags that you try to save but probably lose can be stored in a safe and handy manner. Instead of leaving them in the dirt or filing them away, punch a hole in them and place them on a keyring. You can easily flip through all of them on the ring and hang them in your garden shed or in another convenient place when not in use. Doing this will prevent them from getting lost or damaged and will keep you organized, too.