Gardening can be a rewarding experience, or it can be a seasonal source of frustration. The results may not reflect the time and energy we put into our gardens.
If you’re worried that all of your energy will be wasted on a sad-looking garden, fear not.
We’ve come up with thirty of the best gardening hacks to help your garden thrive. There are gardening tips from seasoned pros for everything from germinating seeds to taking care of your tools.
Many of these hacks are natural alternatives to the chemical solutions found in garden supply centers. There are natural ways to repel pests and get rid of weeds.
You’ll also find inspiring ways to help grow your garden faster and produce more blooms. Most of the projects and hacks are inexpensive, with many using everyday items found in your pantry or supply closet.
Have fun picking out the projects and trying the hacks in your own garden.
1. Ladder Garden Makes Room for More Plants
A simple wooden ladder showcases a large indoor plant collection in a small area.
Add sections of pallet wood across the middle for more support. Use trays filled with small rocks to catch draining water.
2. Orange Peels Are a Natural Bug Repellent
Orange peel contains D-Limonene which is used as a degreaser and bug repellent.
Add them to the base of your plants to keep away ants, slugs, and other curious wildlife.
3. Reuse Broken Clay Pots as Plant Markers
Use a marker to add the names of plants onto the rims of broken pottery. Anchor them in the dirt for a natural look.
4. Test Your Soil With pH Balance Hack
Place equal amounts of garden soil into two separate containers. Observe the soil after adding four ounces of vinegar. If it fizzes, your soil is alkaline.
If there’s no fizzing, check the other container by combining 4 ounces of baking soda with distilled water and adding it to the soil. If there’s fizzing in this container, your soil is acidic.
If neither container has any fizzing, your soil is balanced.
5. Protect Seedlings From Fungi With Cinnamon
Cinnamon is an excellent antifungal treatment for seedlings.
Roll the ends of stems in powder you’ve spread on a paper towel. Spray a mist of cinnamon-infused water onto leaves to prevent fungus.
6. Project to Sharpen and Store Garden Tools
Seal the inside of a medium-sized terracotta pot and fill it with sand.
Mix in 20 ounces of mineral or baby oil. Insert your garden hand tools. The oil prevents rusting, and the sand keeps them sharp.
via One Good Thing
7. Use Paper Towels as Self-Watering Tool
Use the wet paper towel garden hack when you’re unable to water your plants for a couple of weeks. Tightly roll up a length of paper towels and lay them across the dirt.
Leave the other end in a container of water. The potting soil will use the water from the towels, which in turn wicks water from the container.
via Life Hacker
8. Ease Transplant Shock With Epsom Salt
Prevent root shock by adding 2 teaspoons of Epsom salt into the hole before transplanting your flowers and shrubs.
9. Quickly Harvest Herbs With This Kitchen Utensil
Quickly strip the leaves off of plants just using a fork. This works well with plants with heavy stems such as rosemary or basil.
via 5 Minute Crafts
10. Pallet Wood Projects for Storing Garden Tools
This nifty pallet project includes a cubby shelf. The rest of the materials can be found at your local hardware store.
It uses recycled rake and hoe heads as hooks.
11. Stop New Weed Growth With Vinegar Solution
This hack works best with new weeds. Add one tablespoon of liquid dish soap and a cup of table salt to a gallon of 5% white vinegar. Spray directly on the weed and avoid your plants.
12. Easily Measure Seeds Spacing With Muffin Tin
Press a standard muffin tin into the soil to measure the space needed between seeds.
This works best with plants that need about three inches of space between them.
13. Turn Plastic Milk Jug Into Watering Can
Turn any plastic jug into a watering can by punching holes into the screw-on cap with a hot needle or a soldering iron with a fine tip.
Using a milk jug will give your plants extra calcium from the residue.
14. Prune, Pinch and Deadhead for Faster Growth
Pinch off growth an inch above a pair of leaves to keep the plant’s growth straight. Deadhead old blooms so more energy is channeled to newer growth.
Pruning is like deadheading, but it covers any dead or dying growth on the plant, like stems.
15. Recycle Newspapers Into Seed Starter Pots
Newspapers can act as a container for starting seeds.
Mold the paper over a cylindrical object and fold up the bottom. Water lightly as it collapses quickly if it’s soaked.
via Shifting Roots
16. Use Wine Bottles for Self-Watering System
Recycle your empty wine bottle by turning it into a watering container for a larger potted plant.
Punch a single hole into the cork, fill with water, and bury the neck two inches deep into a container.
17. Use Sunday Paper to Stop Weeds
Pulling weeds encourages more weed growth. Get rid of weeds the right way by smothering them with newspaper.
Heavily water the area in question and drop a thick layer of newspaper on top. Spray down the paper and cover it over with mulch.
via Kevin Lee Jacobs
18. Vaseline Is a Gardener’s Best Friend
Vaseline has several uses in the garden. It will keep your garden tools free of rust. It’s also great for keeping pests from crawling up stems.
19. Line Flower Pots With Coffee Filters
Coffee filters can work two ways in a planter. They can prevent dirt from flowing out of the drainage hole. If you’re using a plastic pot, it will help hold in moisture.
20. Repel Snails With Coffee Grounds
Use coffee grounds to keep snails away.
The grounds also work in your soil as fertilizer.
21. Fertilize Plants With Leftover Cooking Water
Add the nutrients that leached out of boiled vegetables into your garden. Let the water cool and water as usual.
22. Hold More Moisture in Your Soil Using Diapers
Pull apart a diaper and add all of its contents into a bowl filled with four cups of water. As it soaks, it will turn into a gel. Blend this into your soil and you’ll be watering less frequently.
23. Eggshell Powder Repels Pests, Adds Nutrients
Control beetles, snails, and slugs in your compost and garden with eggshells. Rinse off any egg residue inside the shells. After they’re dry, grind them into a powder.
Drop at the base and on the leaves of your plants.
24. Repelling Mosquitoes With a Perfect Planter Blend
Build up these beautiful container gardens filled with plants mosquitoes despise.
Add several around your patio for bite-free entertaining.
25. Use Raw Honey as Natural Root Starter
Dip cuttings into raw honey as a natural alternative to chemical root propagation. It has protective antifungal and antibacterial benefits.
Use it right from the jar without heat and drop the cutting into the soil.
26. Hydrogen Peroxide Boost Plant’s Oxygen Intake
Misting your plants with a solution of hydrogen peroxide helps them receive a boost of oxygen and naturally controls pests. Use one teaspoon of a 3% solution per cup of water.
27. Make Seed Starter Cups From Citrus Peel
You can use citrus peel as you would any other seed starter. Create a hole in the bottom for drainage. Sow two seeds into a starter soil mix and put under a grow light.
Thin to one cutting and drop the entire planting into your garden.
28. Germinate Seeds Using Vodka as Seed Starter
Small amounts of alcohol have been shown in a clinical study to promote a cell’s metabolism. To speed up the germination process, drop half a teaspoon of vodka into a gallon of water.
Soak your seeds in the well-mixed solution for no longer than 30 minutes. Rinse well and sow as usual.
29. Cans Replace Rocks on Bottom of Planter
Add crushed cans to the bottom of your deep planters instead of rocks.
Doing this not only helps with aeration and drainage, it doesn’t add as much weight, making the planters easier to move around.
30. Paper Egg Cartons Are Perfect Seed Starter
Use paper egg cartons for germinating seeds. When they’re ready for transplanting, drop them right into the ground. The paper will disintegrate and enrich the soil.
31. Dollar Tree Trash Baskets For Keeping Out The Critters
via Sophia Martin
Dollar Tree to the rescue! Dollar Tree trash baskets make great cloches for keeping out the critters.