The grass may appear greener on the other side, but it doesn't have to be thanks to these DIY gardening tips. Forget the silver bells and cockle shells because your garden can grow beautifully with these ordinary items and a few tricks.
Stop Weed Growth With Newspaper
Newspapers may be losing the battle against online news websites, but there's still a place for the printed periodical. Just because the news in the paper is no longer fresh the day after, it can still keep your plans fresh.
Weeds are no match for the newspaper when laid out piece by piece on the soil, so put your paper to good use once it's been read. Because the paper is so thin, it allows moisture from rain and garden watering to pass through to the soil but keeps the nasty weeds at bay.
Make a Greenhouse From a Plastic Bottle
Some plants need a little more love and care than others and require specific conditions to keep them safe to grow at their best. Much like babies in an incubator, certain plants need to be homed in a structure that will protect them from external elements.
While growing these plants in a greenhouse is ideal, it's not always possible. The next best thing is making your own mini greenhouse using a plastic bottle. Cut the bottom of the bottle and add a layer of soil for your seeds or plant cuttings. Add water, replace the rest of the bottle, and place it in direct sunlight.
Turn That Large Bottle Into a Watering Can
No watering can? No problem! As long as you have a large bottle on hand, you’re good to go. The best kind to use for this trick are those that can hold a gallon or a liter of liquid, so think of that plastic milk container or juice jug that you were about to throw out.
The most important thing with this tip is that the bottle has a tight-fitting lid. Use a sharp tool like a knife or a pair of scissors to poke a few holes through the top and then fill up the jug before replacing the lid. Make sure to screw it on tightly, or you could end up showering your plants a little too much!
Combat Root Rot With Sponges and Diapers
As any gardener can imagine, root rot is not ideal. The condition occurs from a little over-enthusiastic watering, with too much H2O causing damage to the plant at its most important part — the root. Turns out you can indeed have too much of a good thing. Thankfully, though, this trick should help.
The idea is based on what you might use to spill some water on a surface — soak it up with a sponge! Place an ordinary kitchen sponge at the bottom of your pot before adding in your soil, and it should absorb any excess water. You can even use a diaper as the same principle applies, but probably best to make sure it’s clean!
Create a Vertical Planter With a Shoe Organizer
If you don’t have a large area to house your plants, that doesn’t mean that you cannot create a glorious garden. This simple trick will help you cover your walls in flowers and herbs, so you can design your own version of the hanging gardens of Babylon.
Instead of using an empty shoe organizer as an excuse to buy a new pair of pumps, fill it up with some soil and seeds and turn it into a planter that can be hung on a wall. The individual pockets provide perfect spaces for little plants to flourish but remember to poke some holes to allow the water to drain.
Make Markers With Wine Corks
If you can't remember whether you planted parsley or coriander in that pot, this tip is for you. It's always a good idea to label the plants you have growing in your garden, but you don't need to buy expensive markers when an old wine cork will do. This way, you also have a good reason to finish off that bottle of wine.
Collect any wine corks you have lying around, as well as something that you can stick on one side to make them stand up. Depending on how deep your pot is, toothpicks or skewers should work. Find a felt-tip marker, break out your best handwriting, and place that cork in your soil so everyone can see what you have growing.
Grow Spring Onions in a Jar
Spring onions often make the perfect addition to a salad, but it’s not always easy to pop over to the shops to get some. That’s why growing your own can be a great idea. But if you’re worried that you don’t have enough space to do so, keep reading because this tip might be perfect for you.
All you need to do to have home-grown spring onions in your kitchen whenever you like is save a few of the cuttings that still have the root attached. Get a small jar, fill it halfway with water, and submerge the root of the onion. A little patience is required, but it will be worth the wait.
Keep Tiny Pests Away With Plastic Forks
It's not just you who thinks those plants that you're growing are delicious. Little creatures like rabbits, squirrels, and even mice might try to get their paws on whatever you have in your garden, but there is a way to stop them that doesn't involve using harmful pesticides.
All those plastic forks hiding in your drawer can finally be put to good use in your garden. It's also an efficient way to re-use plastic instead of throwing it away. Place the forks prong-side up around your plants to create a little fence that should hopefully keep Peter Rabbit and his friends away.
Use Toilet Paper Rolls as Plant Holders
Sometimes seeds need to germinate a little before they are ready to enter the big bad garden, and the best way to help them along is with some empty toilet paper rolls. The paper tubes make great holders for tiny seedlings to grow safely by offering just enough space.
Start by lining up the empty rolls on a flat surface. Then gently place soil and the seeds of your choice into each one. Over time you should see plants begin to sprout, and then you can move them outside. Most toilet paper rolls are biodegradable, so you can place the entire thing in the soil, and the paper should disintegrate.
Make Fertilizer From Kitchen Scraps
Do you have leftovers sitting in the kitchen? Well, all those bits and pieces that were cut off during the cooking process, or are inedible for humans, are excellent to use as fertilizer for growing plants. It's also far more cost-effective than going to buy a bag of compost.
Next time you're frying eggs, making a fruit salad, or brewing a pot of coffee, don't throw away those shells, peels, and coffee grinds. Instead, let them sit in a bag for a few days (mind the stench!) and then mix them beneath the soil in your garden. All those nutrients will do wonders.
Grow Roses Using Potatoes
Valentine’s Day may have come and gone, but roses are delightful to have any time of the year. If you’re thinking of growing your own buds but are having a bit of difficulty, try this unconventional tip that makes use of an item you probably already have in your kitchen — a potato.
This process requires some old roses, so don’t throw out that bouquet just yet. Remove all the petals and leaves until you are left with only the stem, and then cut the end of it at an angle. Poke a hole in the tater and let your stem stand inside. Bury the veggie in some soil and wait for your rose bush to start blooming.
Space Out Your Plants Using a Muffin Tray
Everyone needs a little space at times — even plants. You don’t want your green babies to be fighting each other for water and sunlight as they grow, so make sure to space them out a bit when placing them in the soil so that everyone is comfortable and happy.
Of course, spacing can be done by simply eyeballing, but if you don’t feel like using a ruler to measure, a muffin tray works perfectly too. Press the tin into the soil to make a slight dent, and place your seeds within the rings created. Your inner perfectionist will be proud.
Use Seeds From Your Veggies
Buying seeds can be fun, but using the seeds from the vegetables you've already got is a two-for-one deal! Next time you're chopping up peppers, pumpkins, or tomatoes, set aside some of the seeds that you find inside and follow a few simple instructions to be on your way to growing your own.
Both peppers and tomatoes work well for this trick, so take your pick. Scrape out some of the seeds and place them in one-half of the pepper before covering them in soil. Put your new seed holder in the ground or a pot, and make sure it's covered up. Water it regularly, and soon you’ll have your own home-grown veggies.
Make Weed-Killer From Household Products
Organic fruits and vegetables are all the rage, but they can be difficult to grow when pesky weeds are in the way. Products from the store used to kill off unwanted plants often contain harmful chemicals, so it is best to make your own whenever possible.
Luckily, homemade weed-killer can be created using just a few items found in your pantry. Mix a liter of white wine vinegar with a cupful of salt and a tablespoon of dish soap. The salty-sudsy-sour concoction should be placed in a spray bottle and applied to your plants when the sun is out.
Make Little Greenhouses in Takeout Containers
Plastic bottles are not the only item that can be used to protect your plants. If you’re not a big fan of soft drinks, you can always use some old takeout containers to create little greenhouses for your plants which need a tiny bit of extra care to thrive.
The method behind using the containers is much the same as with its bottle sibling. Cover the bottom of the container with soil and place your seeds or cuttings within. Close the transparent container with its lid, and you’ve got yourself a DIY greenhouse!
Water Your Garden With Weed Nutrients
Weeds are one of the things that often annoy gardeners the most, but, believe it or not, the troublesome plants can actually have some use! The weeds possess nutrients that can be given back to your garden if you take advantage of this simple little trick.
Once you’ve removed the weeds from your plant beds, put them in a container and cover the cuttings with water. Let the weeds soak for a few hours until they leave all their nutrients behind. Toss the weeds but keep the water and use it to give your plants an extra boost.
Use Coffee Filters To Keep Your Soil in Place
Coffee grinds can make fantastic fertilizer, but coffee filters can also come in handy when planting. The paper's thin nature makes it perfect for absorbing any excess water in the soil that may be just a little too wet but certainly won't dry out your plants.
Place one of the filters at the bottom of your pot before adding the soil. The idea is for the paper to form a thin barrier that will allow any extra water to drain through while keeping all your soil intact and in the pot — exactly where you want it. After all that hard work, you deserve a cup of coffee!
Use Soap To Rid Your Garden of Pests
Placing pieces of soap in your wardrobe is a creative way to keep your clothes smelling nice, but putting soap in the garden has a use, too. If you find that your plants are being visited by hungry critters, a bit of soap might help keep the pests away.
Lots of animals can’t stand soap (we’re looking at you, deers), so sprinkle some shavings or cut up some cubes and place them around the garden to stop the creatures from coming by. The trick is not only easy and cost-effective but will also leave a refreshing fragrance.
Fertilize Your Garden With Table Salt
While fruit and veggie peels are best for creating compost, sometimes you may find yourself in a pinch… in which case, some salt will do the trick. It's best to use a bit more than a pinch of the grains for this method, making a natural fertilizer for your plants.
Add a tablespoon of salt to a liter of water and pour a bit of the mixture into each pot's base. You can also sprinkle a little salt directly onto your plants. The seasoning should help your babies grow nicely — but we can't promise that it will improve how they taste!
Use an Aluminum Can To Target Those Weeds
Weeds usually require pretty strong solutions to knock them out, but the substances can sometimes cause harm to the plants that you’re actually trying to grow. So, how do you target unwanted visitors without hurting your babies in the process? This trick should help.
Find yourself an aluminum can or even a plastic bucket and remove the bottom. The idea is to have a cylindrical object that you can place around the weeds when you spray your killer concoction — all the while keeping your precious flowers safe from any chemicals.
Use Plastic Bottles To Lift Potted Plants
Flower pots, like people, come in all different shapes and sizes. Also, like people, some vessels are deeper than others. If you happen to have a pot that's too deep for the plant you want to place inside, this simple trick is a smart way to keep everything at eye-level.
If you have any plastic bottles leftover after making miniature greenhouses, you can place them inside your pot before adding your soil and vegetation of choice. The hidden layer will elevate your plant to look perfectly fitted and help avoid any root rot that may occur.
Use Zip Ties To Control Climbing Plants
Even plants need a little support sometimes. When tomato plants begin to shoot up, their stems become vulnerable and can use a bit of help to stand up straight. The same thing happens with beanstalks and sunflowers, so this is certainly a tip worth having in your gardening arsenal.
Start by getting a stick around the same height and width of the stalk and bind them together using a regular old zip tie. Once fastened, trim the end of the tie to make it neat. The stick will likely offer enough support to keep your stem upright — and the zip tie will make it look like they are hugging.
Keep Slugs at Bay Using Beer
If you find that slugs are frequently munching on your leafy greens, offer them a drink instead. For some reason, slugs are attracted to the yeasty fragrance of beer, which is excellent news if you want to keep your plants nibble-free without spraying any pesticides.
Simply pour out part of your pint into a small dish and place it in the soil where you see the mollusks gathering. They should gravitate towards the liquid and leave your plants alone. Discard those who went for a swim and enjoy the leftover beer while admiring your slug-free garden.
Get Rid of Ants With Some Cinnamon
Cinnamon can turn good dishes into great ones — and it can also keep ants away from your plants. It turns out the spice isn’t just useful in food, but also when growing a garden. Sprinkle a pinch of ground cinnamon around your plants, and ants should stay well clear.
That's not the only trick that cinnamon can be used for when it comes to gardening. If you find that your plants could use some help with how quickly they're growing, cinnamon acts as a rooting agent and will give them the kick they need by simply sprinkling a little on the stem of a new plant cutting.
Use an Orange Peel as a Plant Holder
If the term "biodegradable" gets you excited, you'll probably adore this little hack as it exemplifies the saying "waste not, want not." All you need is the peel of an orange, grapefruit, tangerine, or any other citrus of your choice. Enjoy the juicy segments because it is the rind that is needed for this trick.
Due to the peel's citrusy nature, it is best to plant fruit or veggies that thrive in acidic conditions, like peppers or radishes. Once all the flesh has been scooped out, poke a hole in the bottom of your make-shift pot, add some soil, seeds, water, and you're ready to grow!
Cardboard Can Keep Your Garden Weed-Free
When people say that secrets are buried beneath the surface, there is a chance that they may be referring to this ingenious hack. Apparently, placing pieces of cardboard beneath your garden is an efficient way to keep weeds out of your hair — and your flower beds. Who knew?
All that is needed for this trick is — you guessed it — sheets of cardboard, so find some boxes and rip away. Place the pieces around the garden, underneath the soil, and notice how it allows the soil to stay moist but creates a strong enough barrier to keep any pesky weeds from popping up.
Make Fertilizer From Epsom Salt
Magnesium sulfate, known by the more common name “Epsom salt,” is a chemical compound ideal for agriculture, meaning it is excellent for your garden! Science aside, the grains help regulate the soil and provide them with the nutrients it needs to thrive.
To take advantage of this, add around two teaspoons of Epsom salt to a liter of water and mix well. Once fully diluted, place the liquid in a spray bottle and apply it to your plants to assist with germination, nutrient absorption, and chlorophyll production.
Keep Tools Rust-Free by Placing Them in Sand
Ever hear about archaeologists finding tools in ancient Egypt that were still in perfect condition? That’s all thanks to Mother Nature’s anti-rust substance — sand. Although we can’t promise that your garden tools will remain pristine for centuries to come, you can avoid rusting in the present age with this tip.
Unload a bag of sand into a bucket and add some mineral or baby oil. Mix well until clumps begin to form (if you don’t fancy getting your hands dirty, this is a great time to call in the kids), then place your tools in the sand and say goodbye to rust for a while!
Use Plastic Pots To Stop Plants From Spreading
If you’ve ever added too much butter to a batch of biscuits, then you probably know how messy things can get when they spread out a lot. To avoid the same thing happening with your plants, we recommend using plastic pots (and definitely not adding any butter).
Most plants come in plastic pots in the store, so why not make use of them instead of throwing them out? Place the pot, plant, and soil into the ground and keep your green baby from taking over any other plant’s terrain. To allow full growth, try using a plastic pot with some extra space.
Baking Soda Helps Tomatoes Grow Sweeter
Many bakers understand the importance of adding baking soda to their batter to prevent their cakes from flopping. However, it's time that gardeners became familiar with the famous baking agent, too. Especially if they have tomatoes growing in their garden.
There's nothing like a sweet red tomato, and it seems as though baking soda is the trick to achieving that! Sprinkle some at the base of your tomato plant (while avoiding the roots and leaves) or add the powder to water and spritz away. Get ready for some delicious tomatoes!
Use a Wine Bottle To Keep Plants Hydrated
Not only can you use the cork from your wine to indicate what plants you're growing, but the bottle can be of use, as well. For this trick, keep the cork on hand. Once you've enjoyed the last few drops, wash out your wine bottle and fill it up with H2O. Replace the cork after poking a hole through the length of it.
The next step is to simply place the bottle neck-side down into the soil and let the water slowly drip through the cork. It may look as though your plant had a raucous party, but it’s an excellent way to ensure it stays watered if you aren’t too good at remembering to hydrate your greens.
Laundry Baskets Make Superb Strawberry Planters
This trick may require a bit of fiddling, but the result will feel well worth it when you have strawberries growing out of your ears. Or at least your laundry baskets. To get started, place a plastic garbage bag inside the basket and fill it up with soil.
Cut into the garbage bag using a pair of scissors, using the basket's holes as a guide. Then plant your strawberry seeds in the little holes, as well as on the flat surface above. Make sure to water the entire basket, and you should have sweet red fruit growing in no time.
Grow Your Own Avocado Tree in Just 4 Steps
Fewer fruit or vegetables have ever been as trendy as the avocado. Entire restaurants have been established with menus centering on the avo, so it seems like a pretty good green to have in your garden. If you're not sure how to grow an avocado, listen up because it's probably easier than you think.
First, eat an avo! Once you're done, take the large pit and place three toothpicks into it. Add the pit and its antenna to a glass of water and make sure its bottom is submerged. Soon enough, roots should begin to sprout, at which stage you can transfer your plant into a pot filled with soil.
Keep Your Seeds Safe in Medicine Bottles
If you happened to buy more seeds than your garden can hold, don’t throw them away — or worse, misplace them completely. This trick will help sort your petunias from your peppers and keep all the little seeds safe and fresh until they are ready to be planted.
Dig through your medicine cabinet for any old pill bottles you may have, wash them out, and leave them to dry. Similarly, rinse your seeds using a strainer and let them dry on a coffee filter for a couple of days. Next, marry the two, stick a label on the bottle, and keep your seeds in a cool area for up to five years.
Grow a Succulent Using a Water Bottle
Here's another hack that makes use of a plastic bottle. Once you are well-hydrated, make a few holes along the sides of the bottle using a pair of scissors and pour in around two inches of water (just enough to fill the base). Don't make the holes too low, or you'll end up with a leaking bottle.
Once the water is in, poke a few succulent leaves into the holes, ensuring that the roots are inside the bottle. Screw on the lid and place your new plant holder in a sunny spot to allow new succulents to form in a matter of weeks. The babies can then be replanted in the soil to grow even more.
Use Rope To Care for Your Plants While You’re Away
Living a jet-set lifestyle doesn't mean you can't keep plants in your home. This tip is for you if you're the kind of plant parent who has to leave your babies alone for days at a time but wants to make sure that they're still happy when you come back.
Fill a large vase with water and place it in the center of a table. Cut a long piece of rope into as many sections as you have plants, and set the pots on the floor around the table. Put one end of the string in the water and the other in the plant's soil. The water should travel via the rope, keeping your plants hydrated.
Keep Your Nails Soil-Free with Soap
Dirty fingernails aren't usually ideal, but it is sadly something that gardeners know all too well. Thankfully, this trick should go a small way to keeping the grime away from those nail beds and leaving your fingertips soil-free after playing around with plants.
All that's needed for this hack is a bar of soap. Scratch the surface of the block until bits of waxy substance have lodged underneath your fingernails. This should keep soil from getting caught up in there, and the soap will melt away when you wash your hands.
Use Old Tires as Planters
If this list has taught you anything, it should be that nearly any object can be recycled for the sake of the garden — including tires. So, next time your wheel gets a puncture that leaves it unroadworthy, forget your vehicle and use it for vegetation instead!
You can place the tires on the ground or hang them up with a rope, depending on the aesthetic you’re going for. If you plan to use it on the floor, place a piece of cardboard beneath the ring before filling it with soil and your seeds. You can also apply a coat of paint if you wish to brighten your garden even more.
Use Old Gutters To Grow Your Garden
Just because your gutters are worn and are no longer suitable for collecting rainwater doesn’t mean that they’re not good for anything else. Once the drains have been removed from the walls of your home, they provide an excellent place to plant flowers and other greenery.
Simply fill the gutter with soil and whichever seeds make you smile. As a result of their length, the gutters are ideal for placing along window sills and filling with geraniums and pansies like the flower boxes famously displayed throughout European towns.
Keep Bugs Away With Homemade Spray
Pesticides can possess some nasty ingredients when keeping insects away from your plants, and they also make those greens a little less healthy for your body. If you’re looking for a way to keep the bugs at bay while also ensuring that your fruit and veggies remain organic, this tip is for you.
Many natural items are used to make this concoction, including one clove of crushed garlic, a cup and a half of mint leaves (kudos if it’s from your garden), and a teaspoon of spicy cayenne pepper. Combine the ingredients with six cups of water and some dishwashing liquid, and you have yourself a DIY stay-away bug spray!