22 April 2021
9 Simple Gardening Hacks To Try
This list of fun gardening hacks has something for every level of gardener. Breathe some new life into your garden and create a true outdoor oasis with these ingenious and simple hacks!
1 - Deter Slugs and Snails With Caffeine
If your garden patio is constantly being swamped by slimy gastropods, then why not try fending off those pesky slugs and snails with some strategically-positioned household items?
Placing tea bags or coffee grounds near your plants and garden edging are all great ways to keep the snails off those defenceless leaves. The caffeine works as both a repellant, keeping the snails and slugs away from your cabbage patch, and as a toxicant, so if they’re stubborn enough to risk it, they’ll suffer the consequences of invading your garden!
2 - Free Fertiliser
You can use the aforementioned coffee grounds to enrich your soil. But in fact, a huge number of common waste items can be added to a compost heap or bin which is a great way of putting your green waste to use and making your garden as fertile as it can be.
A compost bin is recommended (to speed up the process of decomposition, and because composting without one can be unsightly!) and in it you can place all manner of materials such as grass, hedge or plant clippings, stems, unwanted fruit and veg, paper and card.
3 - Speed Up Your Composting
If you find that the composting isn’t going as fast as you would like, you can purchase accelerators which contain nitrogen to kickstart the process. This is designed to simulate the high levels of nitrogen found in green waste - therefore it shouldn’t be necessary if your compost contains a sizable amount of grass, weeds or veg.
You can also buy activators that contain carbon, but similarly, these aren’t usually required if your compost contains enough brown waste such as branches, dried leaves and paper.
4 - Stop the Snails With a Beer Trap
If a caffeinated deterrent isn’t effective enough to stop the most tenacious of slugs, and you find that the claggy critters have still been feasting on your flora, then you can create a beer trap. Making one is as simple as procuring an old margarine tub or tuna tin, and filling it with beer.
Next, dig a small hole in the soil and place the container so that it’s flush with the ground around it. The snails and slugs go straight for the beer, as they’re attracted by the yeasty scent.
5 - Soak Seeds
When you’re planting seeds, you can give them a boost by soaking them for a day in warm water. Particularly for larger seeds, this helps break down the outer coating which allows them to start the germination process sooner.
This outer coating is designed to protect the seed from harsh conditions - from extreme hot or cold temperatures, to the highly acidic digestive systems of animals. None of this nature-proofing is likely to be necessary in a domestic garden of course, and so soaking your seeds slowly breaks down these defences and allows the seed to get on with the growing process.
All you have to do is take a small bowl or cup, fill it with hot tap water, and put the seeds in. The ideal time to leave them in ranges from 12 to 48 hours depending on the size of the seeds and what plant species they happen to be. Seed packets will sometimes provide you with the perfect length of time to soak the seeds, but if not, the answer is a mere internet search away.
6 - Help a Plant to Survive Longer While You’re Away
You can use kitchen roll to produce capillary action, which is perfect for keeping houseplants alive while you’re away from the house, or garden plants alive in a dry spell. First make sure that the plants’ soil is already saturated (otherwise the kitchen roll might absorb water - the complete opposite of what we want to do).
Next, simply soak the end of several squares of kitchen roll and place the paper either in the soil or underneath your potted plants. The liquid will travel through the paper and keep your plants provided with water over a number of days. This is also pretty useful if you occasionally forget to water the plants; the kitchen roll keeps you covered on the watering front!
7 - Toilet Roll = A Cheap Biodegradable Planter
A great way of reusing the cardboard tubes of spent loo rolls is to fold up the card into a square, cut four flaps into one of the ends, and fold over to close.
Once you’ve done this they should be able to stand up, but if they don’t seem to be supporting themselves well enough, then you can tie several of these loo roll planters together with some string.
Now all you need to do is fill the planters with soil, moisten, and plant some seeds. You’ll probably want to leave your latent plants in the cardboard planters for a number of weeks before transplanting them to your garden.
8 - Custom ‘Sprinkler System’
A novel way of getting water to your plants without shelling out on a hose nozzle is to take a plastic bottle and poke holes into the lid. Now you simply fill the bottle and turn it upside down to water your plant.
This has two advantages over other methods: first, you don’t have to be scared that you’re damaging your fragile plants by bombarding them with blasts of water; and second, you can save money by getting water to your plants as efficiently as possible. This is ideal if you are on a water meter, or are just looking to use less water generally.
9 - Grow An Avocado Tree
Avocados are a summer fruit that are simultaneously healthy, highly nutritious, and hugely fashionable at the moment. They’re also expensive to buy from supermarkets, so growing your own avocado tree is an excellent way to stay on-trend and save money at the same time.
It’s also pretty easy, requiring just some additional toothpicks (to support the stone seed at its early stages), water and sunlight.
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