Everyone assumes that to be good at gardening you need to have a green thumb.
However, you’d be surprised how many tricks and secrets to a great garden are lying around your house. This list compiles some of the best and most surprisingly simple gardening hacks found around your home.
Stop Weed Growth With Newspaper
Most of us have piles of old newspapers lying around the house that ultimately just get thrown away. Instead of tossing them, lay them out on your garden and add a layer of soil on top.
The paper allows water to flow through when you are watering your plants but stops weeds from spreading through your garden. A newspaper isn’t the only household “garbage” that is useful in the garden, however.
Many gardeners dream of having a greenhouse in their garden. While it might bot be the huge glass structure you’re thinking of, there is a way to get your own.
Simply cut the bottom off a plastic bottle, fill the bottom with soil and your seedling, then water it and place the top back on. This creates a cheap mini greenhouse for your plant until it is strong enough to grow outside.
Green Onions Indoor
With everyone trying to get the freshest produce, a great way is growing your own. Green onions are not only surprisingly easy to grow but you can even do it indoors.
All you need to do is save the bottom white piece of the onion (the bit with the little roots still on), and place it in a jar with enough water to cover the roots without covering the top of the cutting. Leave it alone and in a few days, you’ll start to see new onions growing from the top.
Easy Vegetable Garden
Growing your own vegetables might seem like little more than a pipe dream, but you don’t even need to grow them from seeds. The easiest way to grow bell peppers, for example, is to gut the pepper in half and scrape the seeds so they fall into the pepper.
Then you simply fill it with some dirt and plant the entire thing. If you make sure to keep it watered you’ll see your own sprouts appearing in no time. You can even do the same with a tomato. Simply cut it in half horizontally and then places the halves in the ground, cover them and water. Easy!
Vertical Gardens Are A Shoe-In
Now you might think that since you live in a city and don’t have space for a garden, don’t forget that you can have a vertical garden. All you need is a hanging shoe organizer.
Poke a few small holes at the bottom of each pocket, fill with dirt and then add seeds or small plants. This is a great way to grow things like herbs in really confined spaces.
Corking Good Labels!
One of the biggest problems with a garden is that it can be difficult to keep track of what you’ve planted where. Forget complicated diagrams or awkward decorations you forget the meanings of.
All you need are some corks, chopsticks (or similar items like roasting sticks), and a marker. Simply write the name of the plant on the cork, skewer it with a stick, and stick it in the ground where you planted that plant.
Stop Plants From Spreading
One problem with gardening is that you plan it out so carefully, but ultimately plants grow and spread. Soon your plants are everywhere. A simple way to stop this from happening is by planting your plant in the ground while it is still in its plastic pot.
This helps to contain the roots and stops the plant from spreading. As an added bonus, this makes it much simpler to relocate the plant at a later stage too.
Simple Watering Can
Children love to help with gardening, especially with watering but often the watering cans are simply too big for them or there isn’t enough to go around. Never fear, all you need is a gallon jug.
Remove the lid and then using a sharp object, like a knife or scissors, poke some holes in the lid. Fill up your jug and screw the cap back on and suddenly you have a new watering can!
Cardboard Eliminate Weeds
Much like creating a weed-free garden with newspaper, if you want something a bit more substantial you can also use cardboard. Break a box apart and turn it into individual sections.
Lay these on the ground and them cover them with a layer of soil and mulch. The cardboard not only helps to absorb and retain water, but it acts as a barrier to those pesky weeds.
Place Plastic Forks In A Garden To Scare Off Small Pests
We wish that propping up a scarecrow in our backyards would be enough to keep some of the smaller garden pests away. Unfortunately, it just does not work like that. But that doesn’t mean there is no way to scare off squirrels, mice, and rabbits from snacking on all your hard work. To counter this, collect a couple of plastic forks and bring them out to the garden.
Place a few in the flower beds, pronged-side facing upwards. Keep them a bit spread out, but close enough to create somewhat of a barrier. While it might look a little like the garden is sprouting forks, this obstacle course will discourage rodents from eating away at a garden.
Save Kitchen Scraps For Garden Fertilizer
Just because someone does not have a composting container does not mean that they cannot benefit from adding their kitchen scraps to their gardening routine. Anyone can be an at-home compost master by just saving the things they would otherwise throw out, and adding them to their garden beds.
The best things to save up include eggshells, coffee grounds, banana peels, orange peels, potato peels, citrus rinds, leftover vegetable scraps, and even bread. Collect them over time (preferably outside since the process could get a little stinky), then bury them under the soil in the garden and watch the surrounding plants thrive.
Use Sponges Or Diapers To Fight Root Rot
Let’s pour out some fertilizer for all of the plants who have gone to plant heaven. It turns out that the leading cause of death for potted plants is improper watering, usually in the form of over-watering. It seems that we just care for our plants too much and end up smothering them with our love.
So put down the watering can and, instead, pick up a sponge — or even a diaper. Place that kitchen or baby product in the bottom of a pot before adding a plant. Both objects are known to soak up moisture and can end up saving a plant from too much water-based love.
Reuse Toilet Paper Rolls For Plant Seedlings
Here is an easy way to recycle while also helping form new plant life at the same time. Stop throwing out old paper towel or toilet paper rolls, and instead, put them to good use by using them to help germinate plant seeds for gardening. Use toilet paper tubes or cut paper towel tubes into segments, and stuff the inside with gardening soil.
Then, dip a finger in to create a space for seeds. Place the seeds inside and allow them to grow. Once they sprout, just put the entire tube into the ground in the garden. Over time, the tube will disintegrate and by that time the plant will be strong enough to grow without it.
Put Rose Cuttings In Potatoes And Watch Them Grow
In case everything in someone’s garden is not coming up roses, there are some easy ways to change that and create an entire rose garden in a backyard by using something from your kitchen. But we bet that no one would have guessed that growing these roses involves burying a couple of potatoes. This quirky trick is one of our favorites.
Take a few roses from a bouquet and make cuttings out of healthy stems. Then take those cuttings and lodge them into a potato and bury the potato underground. While it might sound odd, the potato will create an environment that will keep the cuttings moist and allow roots to grow.
Make An Effective Weed Killer Without Harsh Chemicals
The weed killer that home gardening pros pick up at the store is definitely effective, sometimes even way too effective. While it might be a quick way to kill weeds, oftentimes it accidentally becomes a quick way to kill all of the flowers and plants around it as well.
Whether someone is sick of accidentally killing their plants, or they want a weed-killing alternative that does not involve all of those harsh chemicals, here is the perfect trick. Make a homemade weed killer that works wonders by combining a gallon of white vinegar, a cup of salt, and a tablespoon of dish soap. For best results, use the mixture when it is sunny.
Use Plastic Containers For The Perfect Plant Conditions
While plastic bottles are a commonly-used way to create a greenhouse at home, there are tons of other ways to recycle additional plastic products and use them in a garden. Even the lid of a plastic take-away container can help take a garden to the next level.
For those seedlings that a home gardener wants to protect from pests or those stubborn seeds that need the perfect conditions, just put a clean plastic takeaway lid on top and bury the sides in a little bit of soil. This creates a barrier for pests while also allowing the plants to thrive in more humid, controlled conditions.
Don’t Put Those Weed Nutrients To Waste
Weeds are a frustrating part of gardening, and removing those weeds is an even more irritating process. While anyone that is doing some home gardening might want to get those weeds out of their sight right away, it is actually best to hold on to them. Next time anyone is weeding, take all of those weed scraps, place them in a bucket, and cover all of those greens with water.
Over a few hours, the water will soak up all of the nutrients stored away in weeds that would otherwise go to waste. After waiting, take out and discard the soaked weeds, and use the leftover water to water the garden. See, weeds can help sometimes!
Use Coffee Filters In Plant Pots To Keep Soil In Place
Here is a trick that works for both indoor and outdoor plants. Watering our plant babies can be therapeutic, but there’s nothing that ruins the experience more than showering a plant and ending up with wet dirt all over the place in the process. That is usually because the drainage holes at the bottom of flower pots make it so that water can escape, but so can all of the loose soil.
Unfortunately, plugging those holes can end up damaging a plant in the long run. Instead, when planting inside of a pot, lay a coffee filter at the bottom. This allows water to drain through but will block soil from escaping.
Use A Muffin Tin For Easy Garden Spacing
Plants are like people; they need a little bit of space sometimes in order to grow. That is why it is important for anyone who is home gardening to make sure to space their plants properly. Not only does it help the plants grow larger, but it just so happens to be that much more aesthetically pleasing. A plant spacing ruler can cost over $25 online.
So instead of shelling out that cash, anyone who has a muffin tin at home can save that money by putting it to use in their back yard. Take the muffin tin and press it into the ground, then move it throughout the garden space to create small indentations. Place seeds in the middle of each circle for perfectly-spaced plant babies.
Sprinkle Some Soap In The Garden To Rid It Of Pests
Everyone loves a good garden. Unfortunately, by “everyone,” we also mean all of those woodland critters, like the deer, rabbits, and squirrels, that live nearby. But there is a simple gardening hack that will keep someone’s yard project from becoming an animal’s late night meal. It turns out that deer and other garden-based pests hate soap.
Garden experts suggest taking a bar of soap and shredding it up, either in a food processor or manually using a cheese grater. Then, sprinkle that soap around the garden. The trick will keep deer away but won’t harm any of the plants. Just remember to put out some more soap after a few days if the scraps wash away due to rain.
Add Salt To A Garden For Easy Fertilizer
Take a look at what happens to most store-bought fertilizers over time. In house plants, one might notice that after a while, some salt crystals begin to float to the top. That is because a lot of the fertilizers available in stores include some Epsom salt — and herein lies a trick that anyone can also use at home. If anyone is running low on fertilizer or just wants a natural alternative, try adding some salt to the mix.
Either sprinkle a bit into a flower bed or add up to a tablespoon of Epsom salt into a gallon of water and mix the solution together. If mixing the salt with water, pour it under the plant’s base right where they meet the soil.
Use An Aluminum Can For Targeted Weed Spraying
When treating a garden with weed spray to try to eliminate those pesky weeds, there is not much standing between a healthy garden and a disaster. But there is no need for all the anxiety! Instead, just grab a plastic bucket or an empty aluminum can and put them to use. Either cut the bottom out of a plastic bucket or clean out an old aluminum can and use a can opener to take off the top and the bottom.
Place either device on top of a particularly weedy area and spray weed killer inside. This way, the spray will be focused around a specific spot, eliminating weeds along with calming your fear of killing the plants surrounding them.
Fill Large Pots With Plastic Bottles
Maybe a home gardener has a big pot that they want to use, but the plant that they want to put inside of it is too small. Or maybe someone just doesn’t want all of their soil to go to waste in an oversized pot. For both of those conundrums, here’s a helpful hack that is as simple as grabbing bottles from the recycling bin. Take empty plastic bottles and stack up them up inside the bottom of that big pot.
Then, go ahead and pour the soil on top. This way all of that soil will not go to waste and the bottles at the bottom will create air pockets that will help avoid root rot in plants. Who knew plastic bottles could help save some gardening money and some plants at the same time?
Store Garden Tools In Sand To Save Then From Rust
While our garden plants might get a ton of attention, sometimes our garden tools, on the other hand, receive no love whatsoever. Over time, all those hours that they have been stored outside through rain or shine take a toll on them. But there is an easy way to save tools before it’s too late. First, mix a bag of sand with mineral oil — for this, even baby oil works, since that is just mineral oil mixed with some fragrances.
Once that is all mixed well, pour it into a bucket, and place garden tools inside. This easy, at-home method will clean the tools and is also an easy way to store them in one space.
Keep The Insects Away With A Simple Homemade Spray
It’s utterly disheartening to go outside hoping to pick herbs or vegetables for a meal only to find out that insects have feasted on those plants before anyone else ever got the chance. Keep the bugs at bay using a simple, natural, homemade insect spray that is safe for all plants and pets. The recipe is pretty easy to make. All anyone needs is 1 head of garlic, 1.5 cups of mint leaves, 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 6 cups of water, and a dash of dishwasher liquid. Put it all into a food processor and add the mixture to a spray bottle for a repellent that actually works!
Sources: An Oregon Cottage, BetterBe, Fine Gardening