16 Gardening Tricks That Every Gardener Should Know About
by CODY TM
With the new season of gardening among us, there are multiple beginners just starting to grow their first plants. Gardening can seem complicated at times, but luckily, there are an abundance of tricks and tips to help you get started!
1. Homemade Weed Killer
To create your own weed killer, the recipe calls for 1 gallon of white vinegar, 1 cup of table salt, and 1 tbsp of liquid dish soap. No one really has time to pull weeds all day. Chances are, you already have these ingredients lying around your kitchen, so whipping up a batch of weed killer wouldn’t take too long.
–Be careful because this solution can be harmful to grass as well, so it’s best used in sidewalk cracks, landscape borders, and other areas with unwanted grass or flowers, and not spots where the spray may be harmful to your other plants. Also, if you spray the weeds when they are exposed to direct sunlight, it works its magic a lot faster.
2. Dry Creek Bed Garden
To break up a large portion of the yard, consider a dry creek bed for added visual interest. It not only looks fabulous, but it’s also great for landscape drainage and redirecting rain water on a slope. With the added benefit of the creek being low maintenance.
3. Homemade Rain Barrel
Rain barrels are easy to assemble and only take around 30 minutes or less to build. Collect the rain directly from your gutter spouts, and use it to water your garden, lawn, and potted plants. You will just need a heavy duty trash can, a drill, a pair of pliers, and a few other basic tools. There are even kits The Rain Barrel Depot can provide you as well.
4. Keep The Pets Out
Animals, especially cats, view the entire garden as one huge pooping station. This can cause you to pull out your hair from all the little surprises found around your garden. To stop these pesky little friends from pooping everywhere, strategically place a few plastic forks around your plants to deter them from destroying your fresh herbs, fruits, and veggies.
5. Rubbermaid Container Garden
If you have the lack of a backyard, do not worry! Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Using Rubbermaid storage containers, fill the bottom with packing peanuts and a layer of garden fabric so that they are easy to move. This method could even work on an apartment balcony.
6. Give Your Garden A Calcium Boost
Just like grinding your food makes it easier to digest, grinding eggshells makes it easy for your garden to absorb the calcium egg shells provide. Acting like a nutritious snack or breakfast for your garden!
7. Epsom Salt in the Garden
Epsom salt has a lot of uses. Epsom salt is rich in magnesium and sulfate which are crucial to plant life. For potted plants, mix a couple of tablespoons of the salt into your watering can once or twice a month. Even sprinkle it in your garden’s soil to help your seeds germinate better. Tomatoes and peppers benefit the most because they both tend to have a magnesium deficiency. Add a tablespoon or so in with the soil when first planting, and then sprinkle more into the soil once mature.
8. Fertilize Your Plants
Be sure to save your vegetable cooking water! The water has a lot of nutrients that your garden thrives on. Wait for the water to cool down first, and then use it to “fertilize” your garden or potted plants. This makes for a green and happy garden! I don’t recommend drinking the water or pouring the water over your plants while the water is still boiling. You may accidentally cook your plants!
9. Pinch Your Herbs
Pinch the upper portions of your herb plant stems off to encourage new leaf growth. Herbs have a natural instinct to stay alive so when they are pinched, they send a signal to the dormant leaf buds to grow.
10. Pot-in-Pot Landscaping
I don’t know about you, but I’m not a huge fan of redoing the landscaping every time the seasons change. Dig a hole for your seasonal plants and fill it with an empty plastic pot. Now you can just drop your seasonal flowers in there and easily switch them out once they’re ready to retire.
11. Line Pots with Coffee Filters
This is a wonderful method for indoor plants. Most of the time when you water indoor plants in the sink, you can lose a lot of the soil down the drain. Not to mention the mess it makes under the pot. Coffee filters allow the water to still drain, but keep the dirt contained.
12. Eggshell Starters
Get your garden started early by planting your seeds in eggshells indoors before the weather permits outdoor growth. There are several reasons why eggshells are the perfect pot for this, but the biggest is that they are cheap. Or if you own chickens then the eggs are obviously free. Eggs are full of calcium to give your seedlings that extra boost and easy to plant in the garden when ready.
13. Roses in Spuds
Just a quick tip, rose bushes or any bush, can be re-planted just by having the trimmings of the previous bush you want to grow from. Push the bottom ends of your rose trimmings into a small potato to help it retain moisture as it develops roots.
14. Stop Invasive Plants
Cut the bottom off of a plastic pot and bury it in the ground! Use it for invasive plants that tend to grow too large and take over your garden. This simple garden technique limits the growth of the root system, giving you better control over the size of the plant once it reaches maturity, and also protects the plants around it. This method is great if you’re planning on growing blackberries.
15. Plastic Pot Watering System
Place a sink pot in the middle of your garden to create a well for easier and deeper root watering. This is especially helpful for squash. As the roots mature, they get deeper and deeper into the ground’s soil, making it harder for the water to reach in a dry climate.
16. DIY Mini Greenhouse
Get your seedlings off to a good start with their very own little greenhouse! The bottom 3/4 part of a plastic soda bottle makes for the perfect little dome to cover your little pots with. This is also a great way to get the kiddos interested in gardening.
There you have it, 16 tricks of the trade for gardening. Good luck out there in the dirt!