Spring is here! Well, nearly. Within the next few weeks, we’ll be seeing more and more sunshine, spring showers and – of course – beautiful plants. That’s right, it’s time to start tending to that garden once again. Whether you’re an old pro or a garden novice, you’ll be looking for some tips and tricks to keep your garden healthy and beautiful for a low price tag. Check out these 20 tips to up your gardening game and save yourself a few bucks.
Use Recyclables for Pots
Not all plants (especially little seedlings) need to be planted in lovely ceramic pots. While those are nice bits of decoration for your plant, you can easily grow your seedlings up in a more eco-friendly and budget-friendly manner! Plastic containers and milk cartons are a few good ideas, and you can even make your own pots out of newspaper.
Add Hydrogen Peroxide to Plant Water
Contrary to what you might think, a little hydrogen peroxide is great for plant food, especially for inside plants. Include 1 tsp. of hydrogen peroxide per 1 liter of water to help prevent fungal diseases in your plants.
Consider Growing Seasons
The longer it takes your plants to grow and mature before harvest means the more time and money you have to invest in upkeep. To cut a little of both, look into the growing season of your plants. Regular “Main Season” cabbages, for example, can take up to 110 days to fully develop, while the hybrid cabbage plant called the “Alcosa” only takes about 65 days until harvest.
Water with Old Coffee and Tea
That old coffee and tea lingering at the bottom of your mug? Don’t dump it down the drain – dump it on your plants, instead! The rich amounts of nitrogen in these caffeinated beverages and the low amount of phosphorous are great to put on plants every month or so. Switch to organic coffee if you’re worried about any chemicals infiltrating your plants.
Make Plant Markers from Sticks
Metal or clay plant markers can get expensive and simply wear away over time, making them a less-than-wise investment. Instead, use some old tree bark to mark your plants. This is a free way to mark your garden and certain barks may root, giving you a new plant to move to another bed in time!
Don’t Forget to Mulch
Mulch is an absolutely crucial step to a thriving garden. Not only does it breakdown and nourish your plants, but it reduces your need for fertilizing, watering and weeding, too. Mulch is an important (and often inexpensive) way to keep you garden healthy all season long.
Use Spices on Seedlings
To prevent diseases in seedling, don’t turn to a chemical products. They will only damage your plants and carry an increased risk to consume them. Instead, use spices you have right in your cabinet – like cinnamon, turmeric and clove – and take advantage of their anti-fungal properties!
Make Compost Out of Tea
Compost is a homemade and very cheap way to recycle and help your garden, all at once. Tea compost, in particular, supplies plants with nitrogen and micro-nutrients that will keep your garden healthy for months and months. Plus, you get to drink more tea than usual – for the garden, of course.
Don’t Keep Veggies Past Their Prime
You’re spending time and money on a beautiful garden and if you’re growing vegetables, you probably plan on eating them! So don’t waste all that effort and money on vegetables if you’re going to leave them in the garden past their prime. Know when each veggie should be harvested so you can enjoy them at their maximum nutritional value!
Encourage Beneficial Insects
Although it sounds weird, some bugs you WANT in your garden. Spiders, bumble bees and mason bees, to name a few, keep plant-eating bugs off your plants. But to keep these garden heroes around, you need to provide homes for them to lay their eggs (not weeding in the fall gives them the perfect place to do just that) and nix the chemicals to keep them from getting poisoned.
Don’t Ignore Slugs
Slugs may seem harmless, but they can ruin weeks of work in a few days. So when you see them in your garden, you have to act quickly to get rid of them. If you have ducks, pick the slugs out of your garden and feed them to the ducks – they love slugs. It’s sad but true, the slugs need to go.
Fence Deer Out
Deer – as cute and fluffy as they are! – can be a menace to your garden. They love to graze, so your delicious looking garden is basically dinner time for them. You don’t want to poison deer with pesticides, but how do you keep them off your veggies?! By building a high fence. And the higher, the better, because some of these bad boys can jump.
Invest in Plant Covers
Light row covers are cheap and can save you tons of time and money by warding off caterpillars. Like slugs, these critters can ruin a garden in moments. Worst of all, they lay eggs extremely quickly, so when you see signs of caterpillars you have to act quickly to get rid of them.
Begin Hybrid Seeds Inside
Hybrid seeds are expensive, so to get your money’s worth you want to make sure you let the plant grow to its’ largest potential. To do that, it may be wise to start the seeds inside in a flat. Use a growlight while indoors and then transplant them outside when they’ve grown to give them a bit more leg room.TipHero
Try Hollow Beds If You’re Lacking Water
If you’re in an area where water is scarce, you don’t want to go with raised beds; you’ll notice more plants will die off with this method. To get as much of the available water to the roots as possible, go for hollow beds. This will assure healthier, well-fed plants no matter the water situation!
Don’t Waste Ashes
When you have ashes leftover (especially from your wood stove) don’t get rid of them or ignore them! You would probably never consider this, but ashes work wonders in your garden. Put those ashes on vegetable roots, especially for beets, to raise the pH of your soil. (Expert Tip: you want the pH of your soil to be between 6.5 and 7 for veggies).
Marigolds are the MVP of your garden. Beautiful and fragrant, these plants also keep away harmful insects. But their biggest selling point is their powerful roots. Marigold roots discourage nematodes that can fatally harm your garden and generally purify the soil. You go, Marigolds.
Plant Green Manures in the Fall
If you don’t know, green manures are fast growing plants that cover bare soil, like fall rye and winter wheat. Plant these green manures when you’re putting your garden to bed in the fall to keep your garden fertilized and protected against the winter weather until spring!
Properly Space Your Plants
To get the most out of your plants, you’ll want maximum growth. To get this growth, you need to give your plants room to grow. It makes perfect sense, when you think about it. If they aren’t competing with plants in the same area, each plant will require less fertility and water than it would in closer quarters. This saves you time and money, but gives you the healthiest plants
Save Your Coffee Grounds
Used coffee grounds are one of the greatest (and cheapest) things for your garden. Don’t wait to compost, add used coffee grounds right to the soil for a blast of nitrogen and other nutrients that will nourish your soil.
Do you have any gardening tips? Share your green thumb wisdom with the rest of us in the comments section below!