Gardening Super Hacks for Spring
We all have our tips and tricks when it comes to gardening. These have probably been passed down to us from our grandparents or parents as we spent time in the back yard with them as children. But as well as these, there are many more that you might not have tried out before and will perhaps find a little, well… strange, to say the least.
With that being said, Spring is fast approaching and often if you find yourself in a new build, there’s a lot of opportunity to use your green fingers with the space. If you’re looking to spruce up your new garden, there is plenty you’re able to do to keep a neat correlation between the two.
So put the fertilizer down and the lawnmower away, because here are some less than traditional gardening tips you definitely need to try out this year.
Vacuum your artificial lawn
More and more of us are embracing the concept of an artificial lawn, especially those of us who might be a little ‘black thumbed’ when it comes to gardening. Artificial lawns look great all year round but instead of grabbing the broom to remove any dirt or leaves that have fallen onto your plastic grass, did you know you can just get the hoover out?
Of course, it needs to be dry to vacuum but in the summer this shouldn’t be an issue. Swap the Flymo for a Dyson and your green area should look great all year round.
Penny for your thoughts
This isn’t actually a gardening tip, but if you want to keep some of those pretty blooms you’ve cut from your back yard healthy and fungus free in their vase, then drop a copper penny in the water. Copper is an excellent natural fungicide and will draw out any fungus growing on the plants, keeping them healthier looking for longer.
While this method isn’t one many will want to try out, urinating on your garden can help plants grow quicker as it helps them produce more proteins that aid their growth. It’s also a good idea to add it to your compost heap, as the acid increases the rate of decomposition.
Get the bubble wrap out
Bubble wrap isn’t just great for popping when you’re feeling a bit bored – in the winter you can use it to cover taps and pots to insulate and protect them from frost. You can even cover your greenhouse windows with the stuff and insulate those too!
Gareth Richards, an expert horticulturist for online garden supplies company Bakker Spalding, has a few tricks up his sleeve when it comes to deterring pests from your prized plants, he said: “Put petroleum jelly around the tops of your plant pots. When the slugs venture up the sides for a nibble on your plants they slip straight back down.”
Gareth also noted that food waste is also great when it comes to gardening. “Place banana skins in the soil around your rose bushes,” he said. “The potassium is great for plant growth [and] you can also place orange peel in your borders to keep cats away; they hate the smell.”
Plant curry and mint
Cats, ants and other garden pests don’t like the smell of curry and mint plants, so these are great for planting around areas you want to keep pest free. Mint destroys an ant’s sense of smell, making it harder for them to travel around your garden and encouraging them to avoid the area.
Be aware, though, that mint spreads quickly. To deter this you can push a long tube (an old rain pipe will do) into the ground and then plant the mint into it. The tube ensures the roots grow downwards and can’t spread out into the soil.
Liquidise those bugs
Sounds gross, but this tip is great for creating all natural insecticides you can spray on plants in your garden. Trap and then blend together bugs from your garden in a mixer, add to water and then spritz this mixture onto the affected plants.
It’s like treating poison with an antidote made from a mild solution of the poison itself, bugs won’t want to visit places where the remnants of their dead pals have been sprayed – or it just doesn’t smell great to them. Also, please ensure you use a different blender for bugs – no wants a nasty surprise in their smoothie the next day.
Clean out your hairbrush
Matthew, a Garden Centre Assistant at the Old Railway Line Garden Centre, recommends using hair as a slug barrier around your vulnerable plants!
“It is quite abrasive to slugs and snails but also releases some beneficial nitrogen into the soil as it decomposes.”
Crack open a can
Slugs and snails love beer. So, if your prized strawberries have been feasted on by these slimy fiends grab a can of the good stuff and pour it into a tin or jar that you’ve buried into the soil. They’ll be attracted to the smell, crawl in and drown. It’s a pretty horrific way of removing them from the garden but one that works every time. You don’t even need to crack open a good can of beer, a cheap everyday value supermarket brew will do the job.
Help your garden grow
Don’t pour your cooking water away
The water you use to cook pasta, rice and vegetables in is a great source of nutrients for plants, so don’t throw it down the sink, save it and sprinkle it on young bulbs to encourage growth.
Garden by moonlight
There’s some debate over this tip, but some people believe that the phases of the moon have an effect on how your plants grow. For example, on a new moon the increased moonlight apparently encourages root and leaf growth and is the best time to plant crops such as broccoli, cabbage, lettuce and cucumber.
Apparently, you should also mow your lawn in the fourth quarter, because there is less gravitational pull that hinders plant growth. It’s also believed that planting by moonlight is a good idea, because it prevents weeds that have been pulled up while tilling from sprouting.
It might sound a bit wacky, but there’s no harm in giving it a go if you’re a bit of a night owl anyway.
Water plants with chamomile tea
Chamomile tea is great for plants because it contains anti-fungal properties that ensure they
don’t succumb to diseases. Whip some tea up and mix it with water, then spray or water it straight onto plants when they’re looking a little dry. Many gardeners also recommend soaking seeds in the tea before planting to improve their resistance to disease.
Plant cucumbers next to sunflowers
Popping some these two next to each other not only gives the cucumber something to climb as it grows but the sunflowers also help sweeten them up, making for extra tasty salads in the summer!
Add powdered milk to tomato plant soil
Yep, that’s right, throw some powdered milk into the soil when planting your tomatoes and you’ll save them from dreaded mildew and calcium deficiency. Powdered milk is preferred over the pourable kind, simply because it doesn’t smell while breaking down and there is less risk of putting too much into the soil and causing issues.
When it comes to gardening there are plenty of alternative methods that should help your outdoor space flourish into something beautiful. These tips can be easily tried out by everyone, from those just starting out in the back yard to those who have been tilling and planting for years.