These Gardening Hacks Will Make this the Best Year Ever
I love to write about clever ideas that gardeners can do to make their garden chores easy. Sure, it is easy to throw money at a project, but with a bit of creativity you can accomplish the same tasks in a DIY manner and save a lot of money at the same time. These clever gardening hacks will make this the best year ever.
Marking plants. There are dozens of ways to do this and most of them require very little in the way of materials. Here are some of my favorites:
- Tomato plant markers. Tired of the retail plant markers getting lost in the foliage so that you don’t know what variety your tomato plant is? Try this neat tip. Use a sharpie to pencil on the name of the tomato plant and then just clip it to the wire of the tomato cage. Super fast and you can raise the clothespin when the plant grows taller!
- Herb plant markers. Get some dollar store wooden spoons and forks. and paint in a color to match your decor. Then use a paint pen to paint on the name of the herb. The spoons and forks are the perfect choice for your “kitchen garden.” See my project here.
- General plant markers. This one is super easy. Just find a few smooth stones, paint them in colors that you like and paint the name of the plant in another color. They add some color to the garden too when not much is flowering.
- Use a ladder. I love this idea that I found in Garden Gate Magazine. (affiliate link) Position a ladder on upside down Terra Cotta Pots. Place a plant that will eventually need some support so that it grows between the rungs of the ladder. As the plant grows, the rungs of the ladder will help to support the weight of the plants. It almost gives the area a “raised garden bed” look.
- Expandable curtain rods. Insert an expandable curtain rod near a plant that you know will eventually need staking. Tie the plant with a piece of panty hose and just expand the curtain rod as the plant grows to give more support.
- Recycle. I have some old tomato cages that come in several pieces. (affiliate link) They work great for cherry tomatoes and determinate tomatoes. But I have more of them than I need now. I use the pole part of the cage to stake my dinner plate dahlias and they are the perfect length for this job. Why have things sitting in the garden shed when they can be put to use in other ways? This stake doesn’t look like it is needed now, but the dahlia just started growing. I will tie it as it grows and the stake is in place now so it won’t hurt any roots by being added later. One tomato cage gives me three plants stakes for other uses too!
Plant pot hacks:
- Packing peanuts. I love way some of the biggest plant pots look on my deck but they can get really heavy when filled with soil. Instead, use packing peanuts in the bottom of the pots and fill with potting soil. The planter will be much lighter and easier to move around.
- Use a drill. One of my most dreaded chores is removing old annual plants from planters each spring. I normally either throw the old soil away, or tip the whole thing out and dig away to get the old plant and roots to save it. Put your drill and an auger to use. Attach the auger to the drill and run it in the center of the pot where the plant is. When you reverse the drill, it will pull up the plant, roots and all and leave your soil intact for another plant.
- Bean teepee. I used old plastic stakes and pieces of nylon stockings to make a wonderful bean teepee. The beans climb up the poles and form a teepee shape during the summer. Kids will love to play inside the teepee (and have a healthy snack!)
- Cucumber cage. There is no need to invest in expensive cages for your cucumbers. A few stakes and some twine will give you a cage that the cukes will love to climb. (and they will perform much better than growing on the ground too!) See my project here.
Creative Seed starters.
- Oranges. After you make fresh squeezed orange juice, save the cut halves of oranges, scoop out the pulp, and leave them to dry. Then fill them with seed starting soil. Plant seeds that sprout quickly. Once rooted, just scoop out the soil, roots and plant the new plant in the garden.
- Egg shells. Just remove the top half. Take out the eggs (scramble them later!) and rinse. Fill with soil and add the seeds. Since egg shells are biodegradable, you can plant them shell and all into the garden.
See lots more creative tips for seed starting in the article.
Plant Improvement Hacks.
- Make your own Miracle Grow Fertilizer. The cost of plant fertilizers at garden stores can really add up to your weekly budget. But this does not have to be the case. Make your own Miracle grow fertilizer with water and just three common household ingredients: baking soda, household ammonia and epsom salts for a fraction of the cost. See my article here.
- Sweeten your Tomatoes. There is nothing like the taste of a fresh tomato that you have grown. It puts those that you buy to shame. Add some sweetness to your tomatoes by sprinkling normal baking soda around the plants.
- Save those coffee Grounds. Many nitrogen loving plants, such as hydrangeas, camellias and roses will benefit from this tip. Add them to your soil near the plant for spectacular results. See other tips for using coffee in the yard here.
- Don’t waste the potato water. Most plants love starch. Make use of this by saving your potato water to add to your soil near the plants. Just be sure not to salt it first. They don’t like that drink at all!
- Control weeds by using newspaper mulch. Newspapers will break down and add to the soil and they are a great way to control weeds in garden paths, garden beds and can even be laid over sod to help with starting a new garden bed without digging. See how to use them in this article.
- House hold vinegar. Household vinegar has so many uses around the home. When organic vinegar is mixed with dish washing detergent, it makes a great garden weed killer. Just spray it after it has rained and the weeds will disappear quickly.
Feed the hummers.
- DIY hummingbird nectar. Who doesn’t like the feeling of watching hummingbirds fluttering around a feeder? You can make your own nectar instead of buying it for just a few cents. All it takes is sugar and water. Contrary to popular opinion, red food coloring is not necessary. The hummers like the sugar water just fine.
Plants for free.
- Grow your own pineapples. I just love this one. Simply cut off the top of a store bought pineapple and let it dry out. Plant the top in potting soil and grow it. It takes a few seasons but will product your own pineapples! See how to do it here.
Share your tips. What other garden tricks have you used to make your gardening chores easier? Please share them in the comments. I’ll add some of my favorites to the article and shout out to you in name.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."