Gardening is incredibly rewarding, and it doesn’t have to cost the earth. There are plenty of household items that will be lying around in abundance that you can use to give your plants a healthy boost. The gardening experts Greenhouse Sensation bring you eight amazing horticultural hacks that you need to start trying today.
- Baking soda
If you’re already familiar with household tips and tricks, you’ll know that baking soda is a very useful tool to have at your disposal, with plenty of uses for your garden too.
Notice that your flowers and shrubs are suffering from a little fungus? Mix three tablespoons of baking soda with a gallon of lukewarm water and spray the affected plants at least once a week. It should clear up in no time.
- Eggshells and coffee grounds
Did you know that some of your common kitchen waste items can be used to give your garden a boost? Weather you have a huge garden or a little composter, take your waste eggshells and coffee grounds and mix them into your soil. It’s a double win; they give your soil nutrients and help prevent blossom-rot on vegetables.
Eggshells can also be crushed into smaller pieces and sprinkled around plants to deter pests, encourage seedlings to grow and fertilise.
- Egg cartons
Every gardener feels a surge of happiness once the winter frost starts to melt and spring appears from around the corner. The perfect way to get a headstart on growing your seedlings is to use an empty egg cartons to plan them. Each egg hole can fit the perfect amount of soil, so simply place on a water proof surface, plant your seeds and watch them grow on your windowsill.
- Soap shavings
Squirrels can be adorable, but for gardeners they can also be a nuisance. There’s nothing worse than planting seeds and baby plants only to have squirrels dig up the soil and even the plants themselves. Want an easy way to solve this problem? Grate a bar of bath soap on the soil around your plants – depending on the size of your garden one or two bars should be plenty and it lasts for a good few weeks.
Vinegar is an incredible tool to have in your gardening arsenal. It can be used to remove rust from your gardening tools, add a much needed sparkle and shine to plastic patio furniture, kill emerging weeds on your path, and it’s a chemical-free way to clean bird and butterfly feeders.
It’s also good to use during harvest season. Diluted vinegar can be used to scrub off those stubborn berry stains, and add a spoonful to your vase of water when displaying freshly cut flowers inside.
- Old pennies
Who doesn’t have a load of old rusty pennies lying around? Even those old foreign copper coins at the bottom of the kitchen drawer will work. Copper is an incredible fungicide so take the time to bury a few coins in places around your garden to keep the soil healthy and to fend off fungal infections.
- Aluminium foil
Did you know that while aluminium foil is pretty much 100% recyclable, it is often not accepted due to being covered in food waste? But don’t worry because you can use it in your garden instead.
Twist strips of foil around the branches of your fruit trees to protect from birds. It works by making a noise in the wind and reflects the light to put them off landing. And you can wrap the base of your young plants and shrubs with foil up to waist height to put off deer, rabbits and mice from feeding.
When you scatter your mulch, mix in small pieces of foil to deter pests that are sensitive to light away from your vegetable patch and plants.
- Newspaper and cardboard
If you’re working towards a chemical-free garden, then paper is your new best friend. Newspaper is biodegradable so can be placed under newly dug plant beds to kill off the grass and weeds and prevent them from growing back. It also encourages earthworms which can keep the soil healthy.
Add old newspaper to your compost heap to get rid of nasty smells. And there’s no need to worry about toxins from the ink; most modern publishers use soy which is an organic pigment.