9 Out of 10 Gardeners Don’t Know These Clever Gardening Tricks
Do you love gardening? Whether you’re a seasoned green thumb or just getting started planting your own flowers, herbs or vegetables, you can likely use some of these clever gardening tricks.
1. Add nourishment with coffee grounds
Coffee is a stimulant not just for humans, but also for plants. That’s right, your coffee grounds can help your plants grow because the grounds are acidic. The acidic nature of the grounds makes them perfect to use for roses, blueberry bushes, and evergreens. Not only are you giving your plants a natural fertilizer, but you’re also reducing your waste by not tossing the coffee grounds in the trash.
2. Deter cats with coffee grounds or citrus peelings
Coffee grounds have another use for gardening: detracting cats. Cats can view the entire outside as one giant litter box, and that includes your garden or plants. Be sure that kitty does her business elsewhere by sprinkling coffee grounds. If you don’t drink coffee, citrus peels will work just as well.
3. Use coffee filters to stop dirt leakage in planters
Coffee filters are just as helpful in gardening as coffee grounds, because the filters can help stop dirt leaks in planters with drainage holes. Place one in the bottom of your planter, then pour the dirt or potting soil as usual. Since the coffee filters are made to filter coffee and water, they’re perfect for working with dirt and water.
4. Recycle a milk jug into a watering can
Don’t go buy an expensive watering can that may not water the way you want it to, instead use a milk jug to water your plants. Heat up a needle then pierce the lid of the jug with as many holes as you need, then fill the jug with water. You can also use a thumbtack to make the holes.
5. Soak your seeds in warm water 24 hours before planting
Getting ready to plant a few new seeds in your garden? Try this old-time gardening tip to make sure your seeds grow up into healthy strong plants. Soak the seeds in warm water 24 hours before planting. Just don’t soak them for too long, and be sure you plant them after the soaking period ends.
6. Avoid dirty fingernails with soap
You may love getting your hands in the dirt, and getting in touch with your inner Mother Nature, but what about those soiled fingernails? It can be difficult to remove dirt and grime from your fingernails, so stop it from happening with a bit of soap. Just scrape your fingernails along a bar of soap before you gardening — the soap will form a barrier under your nails.
7. Use a diaper to keep your plants moist and watered
Keep moisture levels high in your potted plants by using a clean diaper at the bottom of the pot. The diaper will do what it’s supposed to do, absorb water, and keep it in the pot, instead of letting it leak out. Your plants will be more hydrated thanks to the diaper, but just be sure you do it with the absorbent side up.
8. Label plants and deter animals with plastic forks
Plastic forks can work double duty in your garden. First, you can plant them tines down in the soil and write each plant on the fork. Next, if you plant them tines up, you’ll be creating a little barrier for your plants that will protect them from animals.
9. Place a cup of beer in the ground to get rid of slugs
If slugs are infesting your garden and you need to get rid of them, there’s a quick solution: beer. Pour some beer in a glass or a tuna can, then plant it into the ground. The slugs are attracted to the beer, and will be drawn to it, then fall into the beer. Experts warn that you should plant the beer glass at least 1’’ above soil level.
10. Re-use packing peanuts to improve drainage in pots
Take those packing peanuts that came in a package, and put them to good use, rather than tossing them away. You can help the drainage of the pot and make the planter lighter with the plastic peanuts. Just place them at the bottom, then put the soil on top.
11. Water plants with nutrient-rich cooking water
You can recycle nearly anything for your garden, and that includes cooking water. Why toss cooking water after you’ve boiled eggs pasta or vegetables? You can use it to water your plants, and they’ll appreciate it, because the water is packed with nutrients. Just let the water cool then water your plants with it.
12. Make planted tomatoes taste sweeter with baking soda
Do your tomatoes taste too tart? Would you prefer if they were just a little bit sweeter? Sprinkle baking soda on the plant’s soil, taking care to not let it get on the leaves or the plant. The combination of the soil and baking soda will lower the soil’s acidity levels, leaving you with sweet tasting tomatoes.
13. Curb weeds with a natural solution
Avoid buying heavy chemicals to kill weeds in your garden or on the lawn, because you can make a natural solution right at home. In an empty spray bottle or pump sprayer, combine ½ cup of liquid dish soap, 1 gallon of white vinegar, ¼ cup of salt, then mix and shake until blended. Spray on weeds as needed.
14. Recycle toilet paper rolls into biodegradable planters.
Planting supplies can be expensive, especially if you need to buy several plastic planters to start your seeds. Here’s a great green way to make biodegradable planters for seed starts. First, fold the toilet paper roll into a square, then cut it in half. Cut out the flaps and make the roll into a little box, folding the flaps together like you were putting together a cardboard box. Once you have your little square planter, plant your seedlings.
15. Fight pests with a pesticide-free spray
Are pests making their way into your plants and wrecking them? You can fight pests by making an all-natural spray with dish soap and cooking oil. Take 1 tablespoon of dish soap and mix it with 1 cup of unused cooking oil straight from the bottle. Then blend with 4 teaspoons of the oil mixture for every 1 pint of water. The spray will protect your garden from aphids, spider mites and more.
16. Test seeds for planting quality with a glass of water
Curious about your older seeds and whether they can still be planted successfully? Do a simple test by dropping them in a glass of water. If the seed sinks to the bottom, it’s good, but if it floats, toss it aside.
17. Determine if your soil is acidic or alkaline with vinegar and baking soda.
You can run an easy soil test with two common household items: white vinegar and baking soda. Fill ½ a cup with your soil and mix it with a ½ cup of baking soda and ½ cup of water. The soil is acidic if it fizzes. You can use this for acid-loving plants. Next, test for alkaline soil with ½ cup of soil and ½ cup of vinegar. Does it bubble? Your soil is alkaline. If your soil is neutral it won’t react to either ingredient.
18. Pack a planter with pool noodles to reduce soil use, improve drainage
If it’s summer, you should be able to grab pool noodles easily at a dollar store or discount store. Use the pool noodles to fill a big planter and save on soil costs, plus improve drainage. Chop the pool noodles into small pieces, then place at the bottom of the pot, then fill with dirt.
19. Reuse wine corks as plant markers
Don’t toss the corks from your wine bottles or let them accumulate dust. Corks are a perfect plant marker for herb and vegetable gardens. Just write the name of the plant on the cork, then pierce it with a wooden skewer and plant.
20. Add calcium to your garden with eggshells
Save your eggshells when cooking, and then grind them up in a blender until they’re a fine powder. The eggshells are packed with calcium, and sprinkling the powder on the soil will give it a boost of calcium. You can also leave the eggshells cracked and put them in the ground, and they should deter pests away from your plants.
21. Create perfect holes for seeds with a muffin tin
It can be hard to hand-dig perfect holes for your seeds, especially if you need to plant a lot of them all at once. Use a muffin tin to do your dirty work instead. Press it into the ground to make the indentation, and there you have it, perfect holes.
22. Use Coke in Your Garden–Really!
Soft drinks like Coca Cola can boost the composting process in your garden. The sugars in the soda can help to break down organic materials by attracting microorganisms. You could try using Coke in your garden for plants that are acid-loving, such as foxglove, and azaleas.
23. 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.