20 Unusual Gardening Tips that Work
Clever gardeners around the world have figured out how to sort out common gardening issues by repurposing household items and centuries-old techniques. Most of these gardening hacks are also easy to implement and cost less than a conventional alternative.
1. Repurpose Cheap or Abandoned Beer
Grab an empty, shallow and disposable tin as well as that abandoned beer. Pour a little beer into the tin and place it around dahlias, vegetables or any plants with a snail or slug issues. These slimy pests are attracted to the smell of the beer, crawl in and drown themselves. Bury the tin in the dirt to hide the edges, if you’re worried about aesthetics. Jars work, too.
Others pour half of a beer into a watering can with 1 tablespoon of Epson salts and 2 tablespoons of fish emulsion. Mix well, water on top of plants and watch them flourish within a few weeks.
Plants and pests don’t discriminate so cheap beer works just as well as craft beer does.
2. Blend Your Bugs
Collect those pests and liquify them in a blender using one part water to two parts bugs. Strain, put the liquid in a spray bottle and use as a very effective, natural insecticide. And, of course, it helps to have a designated blender for this rather than what you use in the kitchen.
3. Don’t Dump Leftover Coffee or Grinds
While there has been some debate over whether or not leftover coffee or coffee grinds are beneficial in the garden, the folks at Sunset Magazine put both to the test. It turns out that coffee adds phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, copper and nitrogen to the soil. For those of you who would like to geek out by reading the entire report, visit Sunset Magazine.
Coffee is also a deterrent for slugs and snails and a natural anti-fungal.
4. Plant in Odd Numbers
Groups of three and five, for example, look more balanced while giving the illusion that plants are larger and perhaps healthier than they really are. There is something about repetition that creates a feeling of reliability and comfort in our brains. Plus, garden experts believe that odd-numbered groupings of plants in asymmetrical patterns, such as a group of three in a triangle, replicate the natural look of plants growing in the wild.
5. Garden by Moonlight
This one may be an urban legend, but it’s thought that planting in the evening yields healthier plants and that tilling the soil under the cover of darkness prevents weeds from sprouting because they need sunlight to do so.
6. Plant with Packing Peanuts
Mix a generous amount of packing peanuts into the soil of a container garden. This technique uses less garden soil, making large containers lighter than they otherwise would be. The latter is especially handy if you anticipate moving them around.
7. Save Plastic Pots
Speaking of reducing soil in container gardens, save small plastic nursery pots—especially the little six packs—and flip them upside down in the bottom of large containers. The space they occupy translates to less soil required in the pot and a lighter container garden.
8. Reuse Banana Peels
Bananas are full of potassium, potash, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, phosphates and sodium—nutrients that plants need. They decompose quickly for effective nutrient delivery and are thought to help plants fight off disease. Some gardeners toss banana peels into a blender with water to lessen the decomposition wait time. Roses and tomatoes especially love a banana peel feeding.
9. Line the Bottom of Pots
10. Mark Your Gardening Tools
11. Give Seedlings a Drink of Tea
12. Use Common Cents
13. Save Soda Bottles
14. Toss in an Egg
15. Repurpose Hard-Boiled Egg Water
Don’t toss that water you used for boiling perfect eggs. Let it cool and toss it into your vegetable garden where plants will thank you for the added calcium.
16. Get Mosquito-Free Rain Barrels