Spring has sprung, and it’s time to put your green thumb to good use! Whether you enjoy admiring beautiful flowers as they bloom or planting and growing your own food, we’ve got a list of 9 simple and thrifty gardening hacks for you to try this season.
1. Natural Pest Repellent
A homemade, nonchemical pest spray will keep common garden pests away from window boxes. To make, place a peeled onion, two peeled garlic cloves, and one teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a blender. Add three cups of water and blend until smooth. Allow the mixture to sit overnight, strain it into a spray bottle, and generously coat plants with the solution. It will stay fresh for one week in the fridge.
2. Kill Weeds Naturally
Who knew you can use boiling water to kill weeds? Boil water in a kettle and pour the water on weeds growing between driveway cracks or pathway pavers. Make sure to pour close to the ground so you don’t splash yourself or any nearby plants with the hot water. Super easy, natural, and costs next to nothing!
3. Avoid Dirty Fingers
Getting a little dirty obviously goes hand-in-hand with gardening. Oh sure, you could wear gloves, but they can get in the way and make the job take twice as long rather than just digging in with your bare hands. A simple trick to avoid dirt-embedded fingernails is to slide your fingers across a bar of soap. The soap will collect under your nails and keep the dirt away!
4. Strawberry Fix-Its
Strawberries make a great addition to your garden, but it sure can be a pain to grow them. They need a lot of space, and it’s also tough to keep critters away – and who can blame them, the tangy berries are so tasty! One way to deal with your critter problem is by securing tinsel to the planter box or even tying it to a piece of wire and inserting it directly into the soil. The tinsel will move in the wind, scaring away the birds. To keep land critters like rabbits away and to save space, you can use vertical containers. Since the berries will be higher up, it’ll be harder for the rabbits to reach them, and they’ll cover a smaller area in your garden – more room for other lavish plant life!
5. Yogurt Cup Plant Markers
Create homemade plant markers using empty yogurt containers, scissors, and a permanent marker for an endless supply at your disposal. Cut a line going from the container opening to the base then cut the base off, leaving a large rectangular area where the side was. Cut strips out of the rectangle piece about ¾ an inch wide (enough space to write on them). Now make a “V”-shaped slit at the bottom of each strip, which is how you’ll put the marker in the soil, and label them with your pretty hand writing. Eat more yogurt, make more markers!
6. Use Eggs
For a natural and inexpensive (and we do love saving money!) way to fertilize your plants, place an uncracked raw egg in a pot and cover with soil. The fertilization properties will be released as the egg decomposes. Oh, and don’t worry about rotten eggs – it will slowly deteriorate over time without emitting an odor.
7. Berries Like Coffee, Too
Coffee doesn’t just perk people up; berries benefit from coffee, too. Because blueberries flourish in an environment of high acidity, pouring your leftover coffee (if you have leftovers, that is) into the soil will help them grow and flourish.
8. Give Produce a Bath
If you’re growing edible plants in your garden, an efficient process for gathering and rinsing them is to use a tub and colander. Instead of purchasing a special mechanism, get a plastic bucket and a small laundry basket or colander from a dollar store – the colander should fit inside the tub. You can clean the veggies directly in the garden and recycle the water to feed your other plants!
9. Homemade Reservoir System
Many plants, like tomatoes, require deep watering. A nifty, DIY reservoir delivery system can be made using an empty 2-liter plastic bottle. Puncture holes in the sides of the bottle, and dig a hole in the soil deep enough to insert the bottle bottom-down right near the roots of the plant. Add water to the bottle as needed, and it will trickle out through the holes. This low-tech system will allow the water to reach the roots directly rather than waiting for it to soak down through the soil, avoiding water loss in the process.
Oh, and just an extra piece of advice – you might want to keep the dog out of the garden…or, the cat?
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