Organic fertilizer is great for your plants. Using organic fertilizer can help ensure a healthy…
After years of gardening, I have lots of hacks that help me enjoy my garden. There are other great time saving hacks that others use. So I decided to make a list of great garden hacks to save you time and money.
Egg cartons for seed starting is a great garden hack
Don’t buy those plastic seeds trays. They are expensive and you have to store and clean them. Try using a cardboard egg carton. The egg cartons are the perfect size for starting seeds. Just put soil in each eggs cell then plant your favorite seeds. Water as normal. The egg carton will absorb some of the water. This will help stop the soil from drying out.
When you are ready to plant you easily cut the egg cells. The egg cells allow you to plant the seeds that are ready to go into the garden while others may need more time. Since the cartoons will be soft, I simple rip the cell apart a bit to help encourage root growth without disturbing the young roots.
I would call this a great garden hack because it hits all my top goals; free, recycle, effecting and easy!
Using coffee filters as a garden hack
I honestly have not done this one but I see the benefits. I do something similar with a paint stainer….see below.
You can use a coffee filer, new or used! Make sure that you use bleach free filters. Simply line a small pot with the filter. The coffee filter will help keep soil from coming out of the drain holes while allowing the water to still filter through.
When you need to repot the plant into a bigger pot, the filter will help keep the soil and roots untacked when you transfer it into a larger pot.
This is a great hack because it solves the problem of any soil coming out of the pot and makes replanting easier.
Using paint strainer bags as a garden hack
This has been my go to for years. Whenever I plant in a pot that I know the plant will outgrow I always line the pot with a paint stainer. They will make repotting a large plant super easy and fast.
Like the coffee filter, the paint strainer will keep the soil and roots in the pot while allowing water to drain freely.
I would certainly put this as a great garden hack. It will add a few dollars to your gardening budget but make your life so much easier if you have to repot a large plant. I would not plant without them
Drill holes in the lid of a bottle
This is a great one, since I can never seem to find a good watering can.
The way this works is that you take any milk jug, soda bottle or any container with a plastic lid that screws on.
Drill a few holes in the lid. The number of holes depends on the size of the lid. Your goal is to make enough holes that the water will “rain” out. This will make watering your plants easy without disturbing the soil.
If you don’t have a drill you can put holes in the lid by heating up the end of a nail then pressing the nail thru the lid.
The biggest advantage to this and why I do it is that it helps you not waste fertilizer! I have a jug for water and I have another jug that I use exclusively for fertilizer. It allows me to use some of the nutrient water and then store any unused fertilizer water safely without wasting!
So this hits all my must haves for a great garden hack; free, recycle, solves the problem of wasting unused fertilizer solutions which saves me even more money.
Plastic bottle as greenhouse
This one has been around for many years. I think I did this in my kindergarten garden many, many years ago. But just because its not new doesn’t mean it is not a great hack.
Simply take any plastic bottle and cut off the bottom. Cover your seedlings with the bottle and open the cap. The plastic bottle will act as a greenhouse and will also protect the seedlings from some pests. If it is warm, open the cap to allow ventilation and stop too much heat from building up. Keep the top on if it is cooler but make sure that there is still ventilation
Great garden hack because its: free, recycled, and very effective
Diaper or sponge as a garden hack
Diapers or sponges are a surprising way to keep your plants hydrated. This hack works especially well in those popular hanging baskets with the coco bases.
Line the bottom of the planter with a few spongers, placing them on top of the coco. Then fill with your soil and plants.
How it works is that water your basket as normal. Some of the water will be absorbed by the diaper. This moisture is then available to your plant roots for a much longer period of time than the water that flows through as you water. It will keep your soil consistently moist. You can even go a few days without watering if needed.
Diapers or sponges are must have for anyone who loves hanging baskets.
It is on the list of great garden hacks because it: uses old “recycle” sponges, so free, easy to do and makes life easier if you are a busy person.
Seeds in photo album
This is a hack that is great for those of us that have lots of old seed packages that alway seem to be scattered around.
Get any photo album binder with plastic pocket sleeves. It is important to get the kind that have small pockets for individual pictures or cards. Use these pockets to put your seeds in. It will be easy to see what you have, the variety, year, and other good information.
A photo album or binder will cost you a few dollars but if you organize your old seeds it will be worth it. No more buying new seeds because you can’t find your old ones. No more seed getting dumped on the floor or lost in the back of a shelf. The plastic will help keep the seeds safe from environmental issues, however, I would make sure they packages are sealed well.
So a great hack because, although it will cost money at first, it will save time and money in the long run.
Wine cork as labels
Many gardeners have a problem with garden tags. Often you plant so many things that it is hard to remember the exact variety that is planted. I have made lots of nice signs. They all start out pretty then fade or get washers out over time making them useless.
You can buy very nice wooden or painted signs but they too will crake or fade. The ones that will last will typically cost a $5-$10. That seems cheap however multiple that over a few dozen varieties and it adds up! Plus you can’t put the exact variety on the sign. For example I don’t need to know that the plant is a tomatoes. I can tell that by looking but I can’t tell that it is a Brandywine planted on 5/15.
That is why wine cords are great. They are small so they will not compete with the plant for attention. Wine corks are easy to write on. Use a Sharpie, the writing will stay clear the whole season. Even though they are small you can write lots of important information on they.
When you finish writing your information simply use a chop stick, bamboo skewers, old forks or any other types of things as a post.
This is another one of the hacks that hit all my must haves: recycled, free, easy to use and saves time and money.
And a great bonus is that every time I get a new plant I have a reason to open a new bottle of wine to enjoy while relaxing in the garden!
Self watering almond milk box, etc as a great garden hack
These days many people buy Chi Tea mixes, Almond milk, and other things in the type of container that are water proof and have a cap. You can use some of these to make self waterers for your garden.
Because they tend to be on the large size, these work best for large pots, window boxes or right in your outdoor garden.
All you need to do is pierce several holes into the sides of the carton. It is best to put holes in only the sides that will be facing the plants.
Then dig a hole big enough to put the box in with about an inch sticking out of the ground. You should stay several inches away from the base of the plant. This will insure that you don’t disturb the roots. Fill the hole in around the box. Make sure that the holes you made are on the side of the plant.
Fill the box up with water. Leave the cap off, this will allow the water to slowly drip out of the hole you made. The box will keep the soil moist without over watering. One box full of water will last several days or even a week depending on how many holes and the environment.
This is a great trick for large planters. If you are busy or are going on vacation, this trick will save your plants from drying out and dying.
Again a great hack because: recycle, free, time saving and easy.
Cooking water can be water plants
Cooking water is my favorite hack of all. It is so simple and so good for your plants.
If you are like me you love to steam vegetables. The bottom of the steamer collects the water from the cooking process. This water is alway colored from the vegetables.
Did you know that the used water is not only full of color but full of great nutrients? All the goodness of the vegetable is now in that “waste” water.
The same is true for all your cooking. Pasta water, the water from boiler eggs, rice water, etc all contain great nutrients.
Instead of pouring that water down the drain, let it cool completely then use it to water your plants! They will absorb all those otherwise lost nutrients.
This is a great hack because: its free, its easy, it uses something that we generate everyday and it makes for wonderful healthy plants.
For some great ideas on how to make your own organic fertilizer check out “DIY organic fertilizer from things you have in your house”
I hope you try some or all of these great garden hacks. Please let me know in the comments and as always please like and share. Thanks you!
Don’t forget to checkout “How to water your plants while away”
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