Whether you’re just getting started for the first time or you’re a veteran veggie grower, may your bounty flourish with these easy gardening hacks and tips….
Maybe on some level, being a skilled gardener is genetic. If your parents or grandparents have/had a green thumb, maybe you’ve inherited one yourself.
Whether or not you grow a thriving plot of veggies is perhaps also determined by the same DNA that determines if you’ll be athletically or mechanically-inclined.
Nonetheless, even a fifth-generation gardener learns by trial and error. To minimize epic garden fails and to help you save money, here are some easy gardening tips and tricks. (Maybe these hacks will even help you earn money, if your veggies come out tasty; you can sell to your neighbors.)
Thrifty gardening Ideas for the Beginner
Starting a garden from scratch can be overwhelming. Especially if you have nobody showing you the ropes and holding your hand each step of the way.
The key to growing a successful veggie garden for the first time is starting small. An 8 x 10 raised bed will be more than sufficient for growing your first tasty bunch of produce.
Your veggies obviously will need good soil that’s rich in nutrients and drains well. Compost will help to fertilize your soil. And one of the cleverest hacks if you’re a coffee drinker at home is saving your used coffee grounds for compost.
The used coffee grounds help add minerals to the soil as they further decompose. If you don’t drink coffee at home but do so at a cafe, ask the staff if you can collect some of the discarded grounds. They’ll more than likely happily oblige.
For best results, if you’re going to use coffee grounds, they should be part of an overall compost, not the entire thing. In fact, you’ll have better results if about three-quarters of your total compost is plant matter or humus.
Another compost tip is adding eggshells. Eggshells are comprised of calcium, which is a key minerals plants need to sprout precious seedlings.
Here’s one more compost hack for gardening….
Discarded lemon peels and rind also contribute to soil nutrient profile. Adding used-up lemons to the soil will help seedlings sprout.
Gardening Hacks and Tips for Preserving Water
One of the best ways to keep plant roots moist is using organic mulch. That might not be a mind-blowing gardening hack. But some people neglect this simple best practice. It’s such a critical part of gardening, however, that it’s worth mentioning. Spreading organic mulch over the roots not only helps retain moisture. It can also prevent weeds from sprouting.
Now here’s a water-conserving hack you may not be familiar with….
Take an empty wine bottle. Fill it with water. Place the cap or cork in and put the bottle upside down in your planting pots or directly in the garden.
What will happen is the water will trickle out slowly. This is like a low-tech version of drip irrigation. It’s ideal for hot, desert-like conditions or if you won’t be available to water your plants because you’ll be out of town.
If you don’t have wine bottles handy, any other bottle will do.
Another way to prevent water from seeping to fast is by again using coffee. Not the used coffee grounds this time, but coffee filters. The filters will slow down the water drainage. Think of all the water that’s wasted after you water plants in a pot. The water quickly seeps out.
Eliminate Pests In Your Garden
One reason beginner gardeners end up quitting is it becomes impossible to defeat pests. One simply way to minimize them is to rotate your crops every year. Even if you have a tiny starter 8 x 10 plot, it’s important to rotate the crops. That’s because if year after year, you’re planting the same thing, you’re more likely to attract pests.
Aphids are the most notorious pests. They can drive you crazy if you try to squish each one individually. An easy gardening hack for pests is by using sticky tape. You can place some around your hand with the sticky side facing out. Simply pat the leaves where the aphids are hanging out. Make sure to check underneath the leaves.
Another smart strategy for dealing with aphids is letting them win. By planting nasturtiums or other plants that the pests are attracted to, the buggers will leave your produce-producing plants alone.
DIY Vegetable Garden
If you’re going to grow your own, weeds will become your worst enemy. To tackle that problem, use the following clever gardening hack….
If you have cardboard boxes from all those Amazon prime delivery orders, they can help prevent weed overgrowth. The cardboard can serve as the base layer for your plantings. Then, you can add your mulch, grass clippings, coffee grounds, lemon peels and other compost.
Sprinkling baking soda around your plants will boost the alkalinity of the soil. This can lead to tastier produce. Baking soda won’t harm your plants. In fact, it may prevent fungus and mildew from infecting your plants.
Baking soda works best on fruits and vegetables off the vine or stem. For best results, sprinkle it during springtime.
Creative Vegetable Garden Ideas
When you see someone else’s creative garden, you might suffer from envy.
But lots of things around the house you don’t use anymore can serve as creative gardening fodder. Old furniture, wheelbarrows, shoeboxes, water bottles … they can all be transformed into beautiful mini-veggie garden planters.
Even before you begin your garden plot, though, consider this tip….
Use cooking flour to outline the garden design layout. You can use your hand to alter the design. Think of the flour like a pencil on paper that can be easily erased.
Here’s one last easy ways to get tasty veggies from your garden….
Take a discarded milk jug or water bottle. Drill a few small holes into the cap. This will allow water to drip out. Then, cut the bottom off the bottle.
After the bottom of the bottle is cut off, you then place the the up-turned bottle into the pot. (Or, in directly in the ground.) If planting in the ground, leave about an inch of bottle above the soil line. If you keep the water or milk bottle filled, your plant roots will thrive.
Sources: 101 Gardening Hacks