Staring at an unfinished garden on a Sunday afternoon can be among the most frustrating of lazy day pastimes. Whether you’ve got a field stretching to the horizon or a top floor balcony crying out for some green attention, you might ask ‘What if I added a flowerbed?’, ‘How can I spruce up my window ledge?’ or ‘Should I add paving all the way to the garden shed?’ Well, fear not, because here are eight of the handiest cost-cutting gardening hacks that’ll fill your garden with personality and flora. You don’t need the greenest of fingers or to know names of plants that are harder to say than ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’, just grab a notepad, scroll down and let’s roll.
When life gives you lemons… make a mini plant pot for your seedlings! Don’t throw away your lemon peel, they are a great source of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (for those of use who aren’t chemists, that’s plant food). Pick a lemon, cut it in half and keep the peel. Once you’ve made yourself a lemonade, fill the empty peel with a healthy dose of potting soil, and place in a couple seeds. Maybe grow some mint to go with your next lemonade?
If you are not in the mood for growing plants from scratch, then cut up the lemon peel and spread in through your flower bed. The lemon will feed the soil and keep away pests that hate the acidic smell; it’s really two garden hacks in one!
Dear weeds, meet vinegar
While toxic sprays might be an effective way of removing weeds from a garden path or driveway, they are not exactly friends of the earth. Instead, use white vinegar, and not the expensive stuff. Go for the cheapest own-brand white vinegar you can find, fill an empty spray bottle and lightly douse your worst weeds. The next day, even the toughest of your unwanted garden growers will have given up and become ready for the compost heap.
Snail and slugs: step away
Sprinkle broken up egg shells around your most treasured plants and flowers and watch as the slime brigade backs off. They hate the sharp texture of a broken egg shell and will get the hint.
Used coffee granules
If you’re a coffee bean enthusiast and still have slugs and snails that didn’t back away from your egg shell sprinkling, then used coffee granules may be your answer. Not only is the caffeine great for giving your plants the kick they need to reach their full potential, but slugs and snails hate the stuff and would much rather tread on eggs shells than risk a coffee buzz.
Chilled boiled veg water
You read that right. Once you’ve boiled your favourite veg in preparation for a healthy evening meal, keep the water and let it cool. The next day, use it to water your plants! It’s a great fertiliser and will help your plants grow big and healthy. You can use water from a boiled egg too, as the calcium is great for your greens.
Baking soda for the tomato grower
Baking soda has a great reputation for cleaning all sorts when mixed with a dose of white vinegar. But take it into your garden and you’ll discover another use; spread it around the base of your tomato plant and you’ll neutralise the acids in the ground, and your tomato will taste sweeter!
Now you’re milking it
For those who have never got round to buying a watering can, and prefer not to use a gravy jug to give their flowers a nice drink, simply grab an empty milk bottle out of the recycling bin. Pierce the lid with half a dozen holes, fill with water and hey presto! You have a watering can.
Garden hacks are the perennials that keep on giving, and we hope that with the tips above you’ll be a step closer to knowing your chrysanthemums from your Santolinas.