Interesting Garden Hacks You May Not Know About

Interesting Garden Hacks You May Not Know About

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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.
  • Save on water with diapers. Diapers placed in potted plants improves moisture retaining ability; therefore, you can water less often.

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Read more about Gardening Tips & Information

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23 Gardening Hacks, Tricks, & Tips (Plus: 3 Gardening Mistakes To Avoid)

For some, gardening comes naturally — for millions of others, it’s an endless array of trial-and-error. Whether or not you were born with an instinctual green thumb doesn’t mean you have to settle for a lackluster garden void of personality and beauty. If you’re searching for easy, innovative and amazing gardening tricks, continue reading for 23 insanely awesome hacks capable of turning your garden into an area of pride, beauty and fun!

The gardening tips, tricks, and hacks below are in no particular order. In fact, I think some of the best ones are further down the page!

Enhance Crop Yield with the Alaska Grow Bucket

There are few advancements in the art of growing that have gained quite as much attention as the Alaska Grow Bucket. This simple system utilized contained growing environments while delivering concentrated amounts of plant feed through a gravity fed vinyl tubing system. Moreover, this streamlined operation ensures plants are constantly watered, fed and drained through its self-watering irrigation system, which by the way does not require electricity. Through its unique design – and cost-effective materials – the Alaska Grow Bucket system can significantly improve the quantity and quality of crop yields without costing you an arm-and-a-leg.

Streamline Watering to Enhance Crop Yields

Tomatoes are one of the most common – and desired – vegetables for any home gardener. While these plants are relatively easy to cultivate, many find their annual yields disappointing. If you wish to dramatically enhance your overall yield, you must alter how you grow and water these delicious vegetables. This method, as outlined by Home Talk .

Begin by setting up a circular wire cage – typically for growing tomatoes. Next, drill three to five holes in large container, such as a garbage can, and place the container in the middle of the growing area. Plant your tomato plants around the can. Fill the garbage can with compost and fill with water. The water slowly leaks through the holes in the bottom of the container and feeds the root systems nutrient-rich water. Refill the container every two days and watch your tomato yield quadruple with this technique.

Grow Vertically – Simple and Yield Producing Strawberry Tube Planter

As strawberry season quickly approaches, many are looking for ways to maximise their fruit production. One of the biggest problems many gardeners face – especially those in urban environments – is space. However, with the vertical strawberry tube planter you can grow delicious strawberries within a fraction of the space required. How, you may ask? By growing vertically. With materials such as PCV downpipes, rubber tubing and duct tape, you’re able to create a stable vertical growing space ideal for strawberries. While these growing spaces are available for commercial purchase, making your own is cheap, easy and actually fun.

Grow Potatoes Anywhere with Huge Yields – Living Fence Posts

Potatoes are one of the most flexible vegetables, and also one of the easiest to grow. However, as many urban farmers and those with smaller yards understand, these delicious and versatile vegetables typically won’t grow in their allotted space. However, much like the strawberry hack listed above, you can grow a significantly potato harvest by choosing to go vertical.

The living fence post, as outlined by Growing Lots Urban Farm (unfortunately, this post is offline at the moment) showcases an easy and effective method for growing up to 25 pounds of potatoes within a wire cage no bigger than those used to grow tomato plants. By filling the cage with soil and surrounding it with hay, you can create the ideal growing environment for the potato plant. While this may be slightly on the advanced-side for new gardeners, after a few tries you’ll soon have a vibrant and successful potato harvest.

Vertical Barrel Planters – An Easy Guide for Maximum Crop Yields

For millions, the desire to maximize their gardening yield is very real however, either due to space or financial reasons, they’re unable to plant the number of plants necessary for large harvests. However, the introduction of vertical gardening has literally changed the way countless gardeners approach gardening.

Vertical barrel planters are relatively easy to create, and due to its ability to maximize space, you can yield substantial harvests in a surprisingly little space. After reading this tutorial – watching its accompanying video – you’ll have the knowledge needed to delve into this effective way of maximizing yields, even in the smallest of yards.

Multiply Your Garlic Crop – With Only One Bulb

Transforming one garlic bulb into a thriving crop is far easier than you may think. Garlic is one of the most popular culinary ingredients however, its use as a medicine is just as powerful – and supported by medical and Herbalism communities. Because of this, cultivating your own garlic crop should be a priority within your gardening list.

To start, simply take an organic garlic bulb and break it down to reveal its included garlic cloves. Each clove you see can be grown into a healthy garlic plant. Simply plant the garlic clove with the pointed tip pointing toward the sky. Now, cover the clove and watch your new supply of garlic grow!

Unleash Your Onions by Growing Vertically

As you can probably tell, vertical growing is one of the most effective ways to maximize harvests even in the smallest growing space. If you wish to increase your onion yields, then you should take a look at vertical growing as outlined by Fresh Organic Gardening. This method involves a plastic bottle filled with soil and onion sprouts. Throughout a simple process, you’ll soon have more fresh onions than you know what to do with.

Aquaponics System – An Easy and Effective Approach

Hydroponics is an advanced growing technique where plants thrive in water, not soil. If you’re looking to explore the next generation of farming, then this is an adventure for you. Aquaponic grow systems, as outlined by Five Gallon Ideas, is a fully organic way of growing almost any plant you can imagine. Because this method does not destroy soil, it’s a truly sustainable way to grow plants. While there are many hydroponic systems available on the open market, some of the most effective are those you make at home with common materials. Using the guide outlined in the aforementioned post, you’ll soon have a thriving hydroponic system without having to spend thousands on advanced products or technologies.

Biodegradable Planters Out of Old Toilet Paper Rolls

Looking for a way to enhance the appearance of your garden while simultaneously repurposing an everyday item? Click Here for step-by-step instructions on how to turn old toilet paper rolls into the perfect Earth-friendly planter.

Add Some Personality With Custom Moss Graffiti

For some, moss is a nuisance, while for many others, this small green growth can produce visually stunning results. Why not call upon the power of nature to invigorate your garden with personal messages or designs. All you need is a location with ample sunlight and an easy mixture of buttermilk, sugar and water (or even beer). Explore step-by-step directions Here.

Lemon Rind Seedlings

Wish there was an easy way to start a seedling without having to purchase additional products? You’re in luck! This simple guide shows you how to support healthy seedlings within a lemon rind.

Gallon Jug Watering Spot

Perfectly watering your garden can be difficult if you don’t have the proper tools. The most successful homesteading or urban farming ventures are those which repurpose everyday items – like a gallon water or milk jug. This simple guide shows you how to make the perfect watering can with gallon jugs.

Gallon Jug Transformation Into a Gardening Shovel

Need effective gardening tools, but you’re low on cash? No problem, A Farm of Your Home features a simple way to transform old plastic gallon jugs into gardening shovels, trays and plant tags.

Store Bought Basil Plant Cuttings

One of the most exciting qualities of freshly bought herbs is its ability to be replanted for homegrown herbs. None are as successful at this venture than freshly bought basil. This easy to follow guide clearly explains how to plant store-bought basil cuttings.

Shower Caddie Hanging Gardens

Don’t have a lot of space for traditional gardens? Time to go vertical! This guide details how to transform an everyday shower caddie into a vibrant and productive hanging garden.

Shoe Rack Vertical Gardening

Urban farmers and homesteaders must maximize every square inch of their garden. Vertical gardening is the way to go, and This easy-to-follow guide gives step-by-step instructions for transforming your shoe rack into a high-yielding vegetable garden.

Towel Garden Watering Technique

Going out of town for a few days (or feeling a little lazy)? Don’t let your plants suffer. This insanely clever trick helps keep your garden freshly watered while you’re away through the use of everyday paper towels.

Sweeten Tomatoes With Baking Soda

Taking the tartness out of homegrown tomatoes has never been easier – or more cost effective. The Gardening Cook offers a simple guide to sweeten tomatoes without the use of expensive, or toxic, ingredients.

Prepare Pots for Optimum Plant Health & Growth

So you’ve just bought several gorgeous planting pots to add a sense of drama and beauty to your backyard? Before you insert your delicate plants, it’s imperative to prepare the pots. Instead of using chemical treatments, reach for items you already have. Combine equal parts of water, rubbing alcohol and white vinegar into a spray bottle. Apply a liberal amount into the pot and thoroughly scrub to remove clay pot salt deposits. Place the wet pot in direct sunlight to dry. Once fully dry, insert your plants and watch them grow.

Protect Your Plants from Winter’s Frozen Grasp

Sudden frosts and freezing temperatures can literally destroy young and mature plants. While there are many ways to protect your plants from freezing temperatures, save time and money by using gardening items you already have. Simply place a bucket or clay pot over the plants to protect them from frost and freezing temperatures.

Feed Plants with Vegetable Soup

Vegetable soup is a wonderful addition to any Fall and Winter meal plan however, did you know there’s an effective fertilizer derived from the very plants you wish to grow? Next time you boil your vegetables, don’t throw away the used water. Rather, allow the water to cool to room temperature and pour directly at the base of plants. The nutrients extracted from the boiling process work wonders to promote healthy growth and maximize fruit production.

Prevent Fungus With a Spot of Tea

Tired of fungus destroying your plants? Want an effective way to eliminate fungus without turning to synthetic and chemical treatments? If so, simply make a cup of chamomile tea. After brewing a batch of organic chamomile tea, pour the cooled tea into a spray bottle and apply directly along the base and branches of your plants. Perform this treatment once-a-week to ward off fungal growth. This is an especially effective gardening technique for young seedlings. Need a stronger anti-fungal treatment? Dissolve a single aspirin tablet in 1 quart of water and spray around the base of the plant or directly on fungus to immediately kill fungus spores while protecting the plant from future infection.

Keep Pot Soil Where It Belongs With Coffee Filters

If you’ve ever tried caring for potted plants, you’ve likely found the soil leakage to be a problem. If gone unchecked, essential nutrients can seep out of the pot holes, which results in weak and damaged plants no good for any plant, but especially herbs and small vegetable plants. Prevent this situation with a common household ingredient – coffee filters. Place an appropriately sized coffee filter along the base of the pot before adding soil. The filter keeps soil in the pot while allowing water and wastes to easily drain.

BONUS Section: The Top 5 Gardening Mistakes

There’s a lot to learn about gardening, and while some people are naturally inclined with a green thumb, the rest of us learn through a never-ending series of trial-and-error. Although there are literally thousands of pages detailing what you must do to keep your garden healthy and happy, there aren’t very many resources detailing what you should never do.

If you’re just starting out in the world of gardening and wish to make this transition as seamless and productive as possible, then continue reading to uncover the top 3 most common gardening mistakes, which are guaranteed to ruin your garden.

Mistake #1 | Grand Visions Without Grand Knowledge

Perhaps one of the most common mistakes made by new gardeners is simply starting off too big. While you may have a grand vision of what you wish your garden to look like, without proper experience, equipment and knowledge, what starts off in good intentions will quickly lead to frustration, headaches and a garden that’s disappointing.

The best way to begin a gardening strategy is to start small within your first year. Use this as a growing opportunity, for not only your plants but also your knowledge. You’ll find honing your gardening skills to be far easier on a smaller scale. As you grow in your abilities, slowly add more plants and begin detailing the garden of your dreams.

Mistake #2 | Foregoing Sunlight Recommendations

Sure, there’s a little wiggle room when it comes to the exact amount of sunlight needed to grow healthy, vibrant plants. However, the most common mistake made by novice gardeners is to completely ignore light requirements. Every plant features unique light requirements, and if you do not actively work to satisfy these requirements, then you’ll soon find yourself standing among a garden of dead or ailing plants.

The first step in preventing this problem is to learn the layout of your garden. How much sunlight do specific areas receive? It’s only with this knowledge are you able to purchase plants and position them in the best location based upon their unique needs.

Mistake #3 | Over or Under-Fertilizing Your Plants

There are few mistakes capable of completely destroying the health and yield of your garden than over or under-fertilizing the plants. Although fertilizer is an essential component for a healthy and happy garden, misuse of its ingredients can literally burn plants at their core.

The variables that go into determining the best type of fertilizer are just as varied as the plants themselves. Too much, too little, incorrect timing and the wrong type of fertilizer will prove detrimental to the health of your garden. For example, all plants thrive on nitrogen to grow. Because of this, many fertilizers feature high-nitrogen content. While certain plants, such as lettuce, require high nitrogen fertilizers for optimum growth, the same amount of fertilizer will stimulate excessive top growth for other plants, which will reduce its fruiting potential.

Therefore, it’s imperative that you go easy on the fertilizer and do your research regarding the exact amounts needed for specific plants.

(Image from: Stacie)

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Tips To Kick Start Your Raised Vegetable Garden

Now that we’ve explored the advantages of raised beds, it’s time to learn some useful tricks and tips so you can breeze through your first experience of creating a raised vegetable garden.

Choose Cedar When Possible

One of the most important decisions to make when selecting your raised bed is the material. As mentioned, plastic might be a cheap option, but it also breaks more easily when exposed to the elements and may even leak harmful chemicals into your plants.

The most common, affordable, and eco-friendly choice is cedar raised garden beds. Cedar planters are rot-resistant, chemical-free, and will make your garden or terrace look like a million bucks.

If you only have a small balcony and want to start a vertical garden, a planter box with a trellis support structure is a fantastic and versatile option. You can either hang a couple of smaller planter pots on the trellis and plant more veggies in the planter box, or you can grow climbing species — such as green beans, cucumbers, or cherry tomato plants — and use the structure to support their vining nature.

Consider Companion Planting

Raised garden beds are also great for companion planting — planting veggies next to other veggies and herbs that support each other’s growth. For example, carrots and basil grow really well next to tomatoes, while bush beans enjoy the companionship of strawberries.

If you have a large garden and plan on using a wheelbarrow to transport gardening materials or carry weeds, take that into account if you decide to set up more than one raised bed. You want to make sure you have enough space to move around your garden and have room to work comfortably without being jammed between two garden boxes.

Know How (and When) to Water Your Garden

Once your seedlings have turned into adult plants, you may want to add mulch to the soil. This helps to keep snails and slugs at bay and allows the ground to retain moisture. Retaining moisture is key for raised garden beds, as they tend to need more watering than conventional gardens.

The good news is that since these containers are usually heavily populated by plants, this slows down the water evaporation rate, as the soil is less exposed to the sun.

To further support your plant’s hydration, water only in the mornings or evenings. Also, adopt occasional but abundant waterings instead of frequent little sips. Doing so encourages the plant to develop complex root systems and lowers water use.

If you’re setting up more than one or two garden beds, using a watering can may not be the most efficient hydrating method. Investing in drip irrigation or a soaker hose is a more systematic and cost-effective method. It may be a bit more expensive upfront, but it’s well worth it.

These two systems water the plants at the base, where they need it the most, preventing evaporation and water waste. Avoid sprinklers as they drop water on top of leaves, which may cause powdery mildew and other diseases. If you’re a busy gardener who leads a busy life, consider building your own self-watering garden bed.

Put Your Plants in Their Place

Try to lay out the garden boxes horizontally and facing south so that all plants are exposed to full sun. If this is not a viable option, plant taller species on the north side of the bed and smaller ones towards the south.

Plants that need less care can be placed in the center of the bed, while veggies that require more attention should be planted near the edges.

Even newbies to gardening can benefit from some of these ideas. Your garden will love to grow when following these gardening tips. Do you have tips that we missed?? Let us know on our Facebook page!! We love to get more ideas and hacks from all of you!

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