Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook are always full of ‘hacks’ that are supposed to make all aspects of your life easier. From household cleaning, grocery shopping and cooking, hacks are ways that you can take seemingly simple everyday items and transform them into time-saving tools. One of the most fertile grounds for hacks is in the garden.
After all, if you are an avid gardener, you spend a lot of time getting your hands dirty. While there is a certain meditative quality about spending all day digging around in the soil, there are certainly times when a time saving tip or two (or three or four!) would be most welcome. Gardening hacks can make your life a lot easier, help you increase your yield, and save you heaps of time.
Check out some of our favourite gardening hacks, all designed to change your life and improve your harvest.
If you are going on holiday or just need a break from your gardening chores, fit a series of terracotta stakes with a wine bottle full of water. Stick the bottle into the soil, and as the terracotta stakes absorb the water, it will leak slowly over time. This waters the soil and keeps your plants roots moist and hydrated.
Cinnamon not only tastes great, but it also has some important anti-fungal qualities. It also smells delicious! You can sprinkle cinnamon around your garden and on your seedlings in order to prevent diseases and stop rot in its tracks.
Soft bodied pests, such as slugs and snails, love to slither their way into your garden beds and eat all of your plants. Don’t let them get away with it – egg shells will do the trick. Coarsely crumble some egg shells and lay them down in a circle around your plants. Slugs and snails won’t risk the journey through this sharp and uncomfortably jagged mine field, and so your plants remain safe!
While you might already save the water left over after you boil or steam vegetables for soups and gravies, you can also use it to fertilise your garden. Don’t ever pour this valuable water down the drain! When the water has cooled down, you can pour it over your plants in order to fertilise them with the nutrients and minerals leeched out of your cooked veggies and boiled eggs.
No watering can? No problem. Simply upcycle a used plastic milk container by poking a series of holes in the lid. This allows the water to flow through freely and works just as well (and some even say better) than a traditional watering can.
Planning to start some seedlings soon? You can use your leftover lemon peels and spent wedges to get them started in your garden. In addition to being handy and essentially free, they will self-compost, adding extra nutrients to the soil.
No matter how big or small your garden, you deserve to take some time out to admire all of your hard work. After all, you have put hours and hours of time into creating this fertile and abundant space – you need to be able to rest and enjoy it!
Sloane and Sons Garden Benches give you a stylish and comfortable place to do just that.
Many of us have loads of used coffee grounds each day, and rather than ending up in the landfill you can use them in the garden. Not only are they great in a compost, they will also repel pests and insects. Keep ants, snails, and slugs away by spreading your used coffee grounds around your garden on a regular basis.
When you are repotting a plant, it can cause a lot of unnecessary mess. Help to keep the soil in the pot – rather than all over the ground – by lining the pot with a coffee filter. This keeps the drainage holes from of soil and prevents them from clogging, and stops soil from tumbling out after watering.
Want to increase your yield with a few simple, time-tested methods? Start by pinching the tips of your young plants – this causes bushier growth. Always deadhead the spent flowers from your plants – this promotes more blooms. You can also remove top shoots from your herbs to prevent bolting and encourage healthy growth. And finally, while many new gardeners are loathe to prune their plants, this is an important process that helps with rejuvenation.
You don’t have to spend your hard earned money on seeds or seedlings for certain vegetables and herbs. You can start fresh basil, celery and onions from cuttings and scraps that you might normally throw in the bin. Place them in some water and they will start to grow – have a look at this link for more than 25 different veggies that you can grow from cuttings.
Diseases and rot are the bane of a gardener’s existence. However, you can use hydrogen peroxide to save your plants from root rot and many other fungal diseases. Simply spritz the seed with a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution once a day. Another handy tip is to create a mixture of 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 32 parts water to keep your plants’ root system healthy and strong.
You need your plant packets and tags in order to have their instructions handy, but do you often end up just tossing them in the shed? Instead of throwing them in a drawer never to be found again, place them on a key ring with paper clips. This keeps them handy, well organised, and accessible when you need them.
Honey is truly one of the world’s most wondrous substances. Not only is it antibacterial and antifungal, it also contains enzymes that can help to promote root growth. Think of it as a rooting hormone that can help your cuttings succeed – it helps them to set roots and propagate.
Transplant shock can kill even the hardiest plants. To prevent this problem, use some Epsom salts. Dig a hole and add approximately a tbsp of Epsom salts in the bottom. Cover with a thin layer of soil and then add in the plant. Finish planting as normal, and your chances of success will be greatly improved.