These clever gardening hacks will make light work of garden chores and many recycle common household items into useful garden products. A win-win any day!
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.
Keep reading for some tips to make gardening easier for you.
These Gardening Hacks Will Make this the Best Year Ever
From clothespins made into plant markers to packing peanuts to lighten your plant pots, this list has lots of creative ideas
There are dozens of ways to mark your plants 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 on a clothespin 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.
The markets add some color to the garden too when not much is flowering.
How to stake plants
Many perennials and vegetable plants are small when planted but then need staking when they grow. Try some of these ideas:
Use a ladder.
I love this idea that I found in Garden Gate Magazine.
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 rod stakes.
Insert an expandable curtain rod near a plant that you know will eventually need staking. Tie the plant with a piece of pantyhose
As the plant grows, just expand the curtain rod as the plant grows to give more support.
Recycle pieces of old cages.
I have some old tomato cages that come in several pieces. 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 gardening hacks:
Planters can get heavy or the plants get too ingrown to get out of them. These hacks will help.
If you drop a terracotta pot and it breaks, don’t throw it away. Save the pieces to use as filters in the bottom of another pot to keep the soil from washing out the hole.
Check out this post to find other ways to cover drainage holes in pots.
Packing peanuts make pots lighter.
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.
If you don’t want the roots to grow in the soil, place them in plastic bags first.
Use a drill to release ingrown plants.
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.
Instead, 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.
Creative Plant towers.
Many plants like to grow up instead of near the ground. These creative plant towers are very easy to make.
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!)
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.
Cucumbers will also perform much better than growing on the ground too! See my project here.
Creative Seed starters.
If you start a lot of seeds in the spring, things like peat pellets and special pots for seed starting can add up. Instead put some of these ideas to work.
Lemons to start seeds.
After you make fresh squeezed lemon juice, save the cut halves of lemons, 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 all and plant the new plant in the garden.
Other types of citrus will work too, like oranges and grapefruits.
Egg shells make great seed starting pots. 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 the seedlings along with the shell into the garden.
See lots more creative tips for seed starting in the article.
Plant Improvement Gardening Hacks.
From making your own fertilizer to adding coffee ground to change the acidity of your soil, these plant improvement gardening hacks have you covered.
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. M
ake 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.
There are many other fertilizers that can be made at home too. 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.Some thinking that baking soda sprinkled around the plants will add some sweetness to your tomatoes. Is this true? Find out!
Tomato plants that won’t ripen the fruit
Nothing is worse that a tomato patch full of fruit that refuses to turn red, or even worse develops bottom end rot.
There are many reasons these things happens but it is mainly due to hot temperatures of summer which bring the production of lycopene and carotene to a halt or incorrect watering techniques
There are several ways that you can trick Moher Nature into ripen tomatoes on the vine. Topping the plant helps, as does pinching suckers, removing dead leaves and pinching off late flowers.
Get my tips for ripening tomatoes on the vine here.
Save those coffee Grounds to help your soil.
Many nitrogen loving plants, such as hydrangeas, camellias and roses will benefit from this tip.
Add coffee grounds to your soil near the plants that like an acid soil for spectacular results. See other tips for using coffee in your yard here.
Don’t waste your vegetable 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 the water first. They don’t like that drink at all!
DIY Weed Control.
Getting rid of weeds in the garden is a task that most of us hate. Get some help with these gardening hacks.
Control weeds by using newspaper mulch.
Newspapers will break down quickly and add to the soil and they are a great way to control weeds in garden paths, and garden beds. They also attract earthworms to the soil, which is beneficial.
They 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 weed killer.
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 the solution after it has rained and the weeds will disappear quickly. See more about vinegar weed killer here.
Miscellaneous gardening hacks
These creative gardening hacks will help with attracting wildlife and getting more plants for free.
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. See my tutorial here.
Get new Plants for free.
Did you know you can grow your own pineapples? I just love this idea! 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.
For more tips on getting plants for free, check out this article.
Now it’s your turn! Share your clever gardening hacks.
What other garden tricks have you used to make your gardening chores easier? Please share them in the comments below.
I’ll add some of my favorites to the article and shout out to you in name.
Admin note: This article on clever gardening hacks first appeared on the blog in May of 2015. I have updated the post to add new photos and tips.