27 September 2020

99 Remarkably Clever Gardening Tips & Shortcuts That You Can Steal Immediately!

 

 

Dave Ledoux – host

Greetings garden lover!

It’s finally here … the massive list of ideas, resources, hacks, tips and shortcuts that you can immediately put to use.  Our elves went out and scoured the interwebs for DIY garden sites and curated some amazing posts for you.  It is a truly giant gardening resource! When you first see a list like this it’s frankly overwhelming … where do you start? 

 

  1. Bookmark this page – you’ll want to come back to it again and again,
  2. Share this list – your gardening friends may come and share their best ideas with you
  3. Leave a comment – if you like one of the tips or have a great resource, leave it below
  4. Print this list – I have created a special pdf that you can download and print out so you have a hard copy, complete with links.  Super convenient!

 

 

 

Use Citrus Peels To Plant Seedlings Instead Of A Seed-Starting Plug Tray

 

We start the list with a famous tip from MyRomanApartment.  Instead of buying a traditional seed-starting tray made of plastic from the dollar store or garden section of your local big box store simply repurpose a grapefruit, lemon or orange rind into a makeshift genius tool.  

http://www.myromanapartment.com/garden-hack-citrus-peel-starter-pot-seedlings/

 

  1. Homemade Seed Mats For Teeny Tiny Seeds Like Lettuce and Carrots

     

 

There’s nothing like standing bent-over in your garden in a cool drizzling rain trying to poke the smallest seeds you can barely see into the ground.  Is it any wonder that gardeners go stark-raving mad with age?  You can save your back, knees, eyes and sanity with a DIY homemade seed mat that’s perfect for the Square Foot Gardener in all of us.  Rachel at GrowAGoodLife has a brilliant resource for us!

http://growagoodlife.com/homemade-seed-mats/Follow Rachel on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GrowaGoodLife

 

 

  1. Save Money On Seeds by Growing Kitchen Vegetable Scraps

     

 

You won’t believe your eyes when you fish out some garbage from the bin and grow it into fresh food on your windowsill or garden!  Dawn at TheHappyHousewife shares tips for growing herbs, spring onions, garlic, celery, lettuce and sprouts.  You’ll need good soil, fresh water and some sunshine.

http://thehappyhousewife.com/frugal-living/grow-food-from-kitchen-scraps/Follow TheHappyHouseWife on Twitter:https://twitter.com/HappyHousewife 

 

 

  1.  DIY Seed Tape From Toilet Paper – When It’s A Real Emergency

     

 

I happen to live in a northern zone where we get 5 months of winter.  Sometimes the roads are blocked with 4 feet of snow and you can’t get to the store.  Having a safe supply of toilet paper is common sense for northerners.  When the nights are long and there’s nothing on TV and you’ve listened to all the gardening podcasts, pull out a roll of TP and your favorite package of seeds, and follow step-by-step this great tutorial from Home And Gardens TV – perfect for bored kids!

http://www.hgtvgardens.com/diy-garden-projects/make-toilet-paper-seed-tape Follow HGTV on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/hgtv

 

 

  1.  Repurpose An Old Garage Sale Chandelier Into A Gorgeous Bird Feeder

     

 

I’m hooked on reality TV shows about buying junk in storage lockers, barns, estate and garage sales.  I found a great post from FakeBakedPotato on Craftster.org  showing an example of turning junk into a useful garden enhancement.

http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=48418.0%3Futm_source%3Dnewsletter1#axzz2b81QvJh7

 

 

  1.  Trap Fruit Flies With A Mason Jar, Apple Cider Vinegar and a Brown Banana

     

 

 When I was in college my roommates were absolute slobs.  They would leave half-eaten fruit lying around the kitchen, living room and bathroom.  Seriously, who eats an apple in the bathroom?  Invariably bugs would gather, and a swarm of fruit flies would torment us.  Rob from SalisburyGreenHouse gives an excellent primer on how to prevent fruit flies in the first place, and a nifty DIY trap for them if they arrive.

http://salisburygreenhouse.com/fruit-flies/ Follow Salisbury on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/SalisburyLand

 

 

  1.  DIY Method To Dry Herbs At Home With A Fan & An Air Filter

     

 

For centuries large estates in England would have a herb garden mere inches from the back door, providing abundant flavor and aromas for cooking.  Growing and drying your own herbs is one of the most popular activities today in the garden. Christian at WonderHowTo gives us an easy to follow blueprint to dry your own herbs at home with a couple of box fans and an air filter.

http://macgyverisms.wonderhowto.com/news/dry-herbs-home-with-two-fans-and-air-filters-0135704/

 

  1.  Build A Fabulous Outdoor Umbrella Stand In A Wooden Barrel

     

 

 Brooke shares a good one on Jenny’s blog at TheSouthernInstitute showing exactly how to create a solid shade umbrella by repurposing a barrel.  This is appealing since I live in a windy place and get cooked all summer with our south west facing backyard. Most umbrella stands are feeble and blow over.  This one is gorgeous!

http://thesoutherninstitute.com/2012/08/brooke-at-spruce-your-nest.html/ Follow Brooke https://twitter.com/spruceyournest Follow Jenny https://twitter.com/southerninst

 

  1.   Grow Drought-Resistant Tomatoes With A Deep Watering Reservoir

     

 

 You couldn’t turn on the news last summer without hearing about record droughts and water conservation.  Here is a great DIY tip for growing heirloom tomatoes by repurposing plastic pop bottles!  MrCompEng at BeautifulHomeandGardenDIY shares a blueprint to build your own garden deep root watering system.

http://www.beautifulhomeandgardendiy.com/deep-watering

 

 

  1.  How De-Skunk Your Dog (or Husband) Without Using Tomato Juice

     

 

On the Back To My Garden YouTube page I have a video of Mr. Skunk in my garden, sniffing around for grubs.  My neighbor’s poor Doberman took a full blast in the face a few summers back from sniffing the wrong end of a skunk.  Jill at ThePrairieHomestead has a recipe for taking the stink out of pets and people in a natural DIY concoction.

http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2011/01/natural-de-skunking.html Follow Jill:  https://twitter.com/homesteader

 

 

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  1.  Fight Mosquitoes In The Garden With Wine Bottle Tiki Torches

     

 

 Where I live we have 5 months of winter and 6 months of mosquitoes.  A little slice of paradise!  WhenThePigsFly has a brilliant tutorial on keeping the bugs away with citronella oil and repurposed wine bottles.  Now how can I get some empty wine bottles?  BTW, if you have a good contact for citronella seeds, let me know, we are trying to source some.  Send me a note at http://backtomygarden.com/contact-us/

http://www.whenthepigsfly.com/2012/01/diy-wine-bottle-torches.html   Follow WhenThePigsFly – https://twitter.com/WhenThePigsFly

 

 

  1.  How To Repot Rootbound Trees On The Cheap

 

  Here’s a tutorial that we made using my iPhone.  I took photo shots of each step and then compiled them in a youtube video.  I had a rootbound key lime tree and an umbrella tree.  Yes, the key lime was grown from a seed from a Florida fruit.  The dream is to one day have fresh key limes at home for putting in the frosty Coronas … giving the roots room to grow was step 1.   http://backtomygarden.com/container-gardens/repot-root-bound-tree/

 

 

  1.  Save Money On Garden Trowels and Scoops With Milk Jugs

     

 

  Melissa at AFarmOfYourHome shows how to repurpose plastic milk containers into useful scoops and shovels.  These are perfect for getting into tight corners in raised beds, and getting help from kids that tend to put shovels down and forget where they put them.  The bases of the milk jugs get DIY treatment into seedling trays.  In parts of Canada we get milk in bags not jugs, but orange juice or apple juice jugs will work just as well.  

http://www.afarmofyourhome.com/milk-bottle-garden-tools/   Follow Melissa – https://twitter.com/afarmofyourhome

 

 

  1.  Protect Your Plants With A Metal Garden Hose Guide

     

 

  How many times have you dragged the garden hose across the lawn trying to unkink it, and ended up smashing your wife’s flowers?  Trust me, the time invested in building a protective hose guard is time well spent. Josh at GardenGuides gives a brief tutorial on building a serious hose guide using rebar and copper pipe.  You might not need something this rugged, but if you build it I think it will be the last one you ever need!     http://www.gardenguides.com/134542-make-garden-hose-guide.html

 

  1.  Save Money On Vegetables By Forming A Small Co-op Club

 

  Dawn at TheHappyHousewife shares 3 great tips on saving money in the garden this year.  My favorite is get together with a couple of friends from your garden club or association and divide up the list of vegetables to grow.  And then share and enjoy the bounty.  It’s like a Christmas Cookie Exchange except with brussel sprouts and carrots and eggplants! http://thehappyhousewife.com/frugal-living/three-ways-to-save-in-the-vegetable-garden

 

 

  1.  How To Build A Bench In Your Garden The Quick And Easy Way

 

  Kayla from KaylasBasement has a tutorial filled with great photos showing how she built a backyard bench from cinder blocks, and 4×4’s.  This DIY project screams VERSATILE and can be done in an afternoon.   Whether you set it up under a tree for some shade, or beside the raised beds to give your back a rest when weeding, your imagination will soar. http://kaylasbasement.blogspot.ca/2012/06/diy-outdoor-bench.html

 

 

  1.  Build Your Own Drip Irrigation System Using Ollas

     

 

  What the heck is an olla?  A new idea on me that’s for sure.  Anais at UrbanHomestead has a brilliant pictorial showing how she uses a 4000 year old ancient  Chinese secret method of water conservation using terra cotta pots.  In a world fighting to save water the old ways are still some of the best ways.  This is a gem of a blog post!

  http://urbanhomestead.org/journal/2008/05/29/ollas-2/   Follow Urban Homestead: https://twitter.com/urbanhomestead

 

 

  1.  Repurpose Paper Towel Tubes To Grow Basil On The Windowsill

     

 

  Got a sunny windowsill?  A bit of soil, an old cardboard tube from inside a paper towel and your imagination is all it takes to grow some fresh herbs.  Does a window sill with a couple of paper towel seed pots count as a garden?  You better believe it!  If you water it and care for it and enjoy it, that qualifies as a garden in my book.  Jean from GreenJeane has some lovely photos of herbs and flowers she is growing.

  http://greenjeane.blogspot.ca/2011/04/inside-stuff.html

 

 

  1.  How To Attract Birds To Your Garden In The Spring

     

 

 For the past few years we have had a lovely pair of robins that visit us, make a nest under our desk, and raise their young.   Watching those birds nest helps mark the passing of another long winter.   Susie from Juniper Moon FiberFarm shares a great DIY project to gets birds to use colored yarn in their nests.  It’s a great way to reuse yarn scraps and its a very simple blueprint.  If you’re a fan of having birds in your garden, this is a great idea to add color and life to your yard!

  http://www.fiberfarm.com/2011/03/the-first-day-of-spring  

 

  1. How To Eliminate Cabbage Worms From Your Brassicas

     

 

Back when I was a kid every gardener had their own shed full of poisons and sprays and bug killers.  Today requires a more gentle, organic approach.  I found a post at Alternative Energy Gardning that swears you can eradicate cabbage worms with a 50-50 cocktail of flour and baking soda.  Do this on a sunny, quiet day unless you want paper mache cement covering your cabbages … try this out and let me know what you discover.

http://alternative-energy-gardning.blogspot.ca/2013/03/controlling-cabbage-worms.html

 

 

  1.  How To Kill Squash Bugs Without Poison

     

 

 The blog over at ReformationAcres has a great how-to idea to eliminate squash bugs by interrupting their breeding patterns.  The magic tool?  Duct tape.  I kid you not.  It was mentioned on the Farm Dreams podcast.  When you follow this guide the eggs and nymphs never have a chance to replicate as adults, and your pest count drops dramatically. It’s natural, organic, no sprays or chemicals, just elbow grease.  Sounds like a great job for a kid to earn their allowance!  

http://www.reformationacres.com/2012/07/how-to-kill-squash-bugs-squash-bug-eggs-and-nymphs.html

 

  1.  How To Grow A Vertical Bean Teepee – Great For Kids

     

 

 I grew up outside.  Regardless of the season, playing outside was preferable to playing inside.  Building cool forts was our obsession.  I feel bad for the grownups in my town because all the kids kept “borrowing’ their tools … and nails … and hammers.  I found this inspiring blog post idea to build a teepee as a playhouse at JoyfulToddlers. By going vertical with your beans, you gain a cool fort in your garden!  

http://joyfultoddlers.blogspot.ca/2011/06/time-to-play-outside.html   Follow JoyfulToddlers:  https://twitter.com/JoyfulToddlers

 

 

  1.  Build A Succulent Garden From A Bath Organizer

     

 

Living wall gardens are very popular and a great way to beautify your space.  Keep an eye out for a hanging shower organizer on your garage sale hunting.  You can probably repurpose a used one or pick a new one up cheap at the dollar store.  Jules from IkeaHackers has a great idea on their blog to build a vertical succulent garden from a bath organizer.  

  http://www.ikeahackers.net/2010/08/bath-organizer-to-succulent-garden.html

 

 

  1.  Ultimate Guide To Saving Your Own Heirloom Tomato Seeds

     

 

 My wife is in love with growing heirloom tomatoes.  Last year we enjoyed 23 varieties.  She’s part of the Seeds of Diversity program.   If we don’t save the older varieties of tomatoes that the pioneers grew, we will lose out to giant multinational GMO dictators that eat baby kittens.  So grow heirlooms or the terrorists win.  The HomesteadLady has one of the greatest step-by-step guides to saving your own heirloom seeds.  Once you’ve tasted the incredible flavor of a home-grown tomato you’ll never eat a cardboard store-bought frankenmato again.  

http://homesteadlady.com/how-to-save-tomato-seeds/

 

 

  1.  Grow Rose Cuttings With A Humble Potato Trick

     

 

Get ready to scratch your head.  How do you keep the cut end of a rose moist and protected when you take cuttings from your friends rose garden and plant a row in your own.  Marc from AmatuerGardening show in photos how to take cuttings and plan out your own rose garden using his secret weapon…the POTATO!    

http://www.amateurgardening.com/top-tips/taking-rose-cuttings-4503   Follow Amateur Gardening:  https://twitter.com/TheAGTeam  

 

 

  1.  Tips For Growing Amazing Summer Squash

     

 

 I found a remarkable blog resource over at VegetableGardener loaded with tips for growing squash in your garden.  They outline tips for pot planting, caring for the squash and dealing with infestations.   You will want to bookmark this one!    

http://www.vegetablegardener.com/item/5352/how-to-grow-superb-summer-squash/page/all

 

 

  1.  How To Glue A Wall Trellis Anywhere You Want

     

 

I have a backyard shed with a funny plastic composite wall.  Can’t screw anything into it.  How do I build a trellis against it?  The secret is in the glue.  Lee Valley has a kit to build your own glue-on trellis that works with brick, stone, and strange surfaces where ordinary climbing plants can’t go.    

http://www.leevalley.com/en/garden/page.aspx?p=47472&cat=2,33286&ap=1

 

 

  1.  Build A Living Sculpture In Your Garden

     

 

Tonia at HowStuffWorks has created the monster guide to building your own garden topiary.  Or desktop.  Or patio.  Living sculptures can be gorgeous and an instant conversation or statement piece in a space.  Are you up for it?    

http://home.howstuffworks.com/gardening/garden-design/topiary.htm

 

 

  1.  Grow Garbage Into Vegetables

     

 

 Another great kitchen scraps tutorial.  Kathryn from Earth911 explains tips for growing mushrooms, green onions, celery, romaine lettuce, carrots, beets, turnips, ginger root, pineapple, potatoes, garlic, and onions.  A great resource and a reminder not to throw those veggie scraps away!    

http://www.earth911.com/home-garden/grow-food-from-scraps/11/  

 

  1.  How To Build A Gorgeous Backyard Beach

     

 

 I love living 15 minutes from the beach.  But when we were trapped in the big city I would have adored having my own beach in the garden.  Kathleen from Sunset.com gives a fantastic image-filled tutorial on how to literally build your own beach complete with sand between the toes!  This one is a gem.    

http://www.sunset.com/garden/landscaping-design/how-to-make-backyard-beach   Follow Sunset:  https://twitter.com/SunsetMag

 

 

  1.  How To Quickly Grow Micro-Greens

     

 

 Stephanie at GardenTherapy compiled a tutorial on growing your own sunflower micro greens complete with time lapse photography.  We all know we need more leafy greens in our diet, this step by step guide gives you the inspiration to grow your own!  

http://gardentherapy.ca/micro-greens-time-lapse/   Follow Garden Therapy:  https://twitter.com/garden_therapy/

 

  1. Get Free Seed Containers To Start Your Seedlings

     

 

 Karrie at HappyMoneySaver has a terrific secret method to get free containers from her local garden centers and big box stores.  I guess it’s not secret any more, but if you simply ASK you will be amazed at how many stores either throw out their seedling trays or recycle them.  A smile and a great attitude can go a long way to maximizing this method.  

http://happymoneysaver.com/how-to-get-free-containers-for-starting-seeds-indoors/   Follow Karrie https://twitter.com/Happymoneysaver

 

 

  1.  Grow A Sunflower Circle In Your Garden

     

 

 Found this cool idea on Flickr for laying out a sunflower circle and a small support trellis.  By mid-summer you will have your own private meditation circle or reading room…your very own green fortress of solitude.  Beware the blue jays attacking in September when the sunflower seeds ripen.     https://www.flickr.com/photos/hartlandlibraryvt/7421604572/sizes/c/in/photostream/

 

  1.  How To Grow A Vertical Garden Using A Hanging Shoe Organizer

     

 

If you have a problem with cats going to the bathroom in your garden, then go vertical!  Hanging gardens are pretty to look at, good conversation pieces, and convenient in small spaces.  Pippa at Instructables has an awesome DIY tutorial to repurpose a hanging shoe caddy into a sweet little garden that will fit almost anywhere.  

  http://www.instructables.com/id/VERTICAL-VEGETABLES-quotGrow-upquot-in-a-smal/

 

 

  1.  How To Dry And Save Green Beans In The Fall

     

 

 This is something we do every season in our garden.  Sometimes a couple of green beans miss getting picked, so we let them grow enormous and tie a colorful marker around them so we don’t accidentally pick them.  These are earmarked to be ignored for the rest of the season and dry on the vine in the fall.  This post by Lesa at BetterHensAndGardens has an excellent primer on how to dry your beans and save them properly.    

http://www.betterhensandgardens.com/2013/11/06/why-saving-garden-bean-seeds-makes-cents-and-how-to-do-it/

 

  1.  How To Make Your Own Rain Barrel Out Of A Garbage Can

     

 

Ok you DIYers … here you go.  I found a pdf  on Listotic from WorkBenchMagazine showing step by step how to repurpose a garbage can to collect rainwater.  Tired of putting chlorine and municipal water on your plants?  Cost of water an issue?   Drought?  This is a sweet guide and easy to print out.       https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B2gdNar_rMtAMjQxNzUxYmItYjU1ZC00YzYzLTgwNjMtZjg1ODA2MjYxMzdk/edit?hl=en

 

 

  1.  What Do You Do When You Have Too Many Fresh Herbs?

     

 

Our garden peaks in August with pounds and pounds of aromatic delicious herbs.  We dry a lot.  This idea for freezing herbs in olive oil in ice cube trays is clever!  The great foodie blog at TheKitchn has tips for preserving assorted herbs in a form that are ready for cooking at a moments notice.    

http://www.thekitchn.com/freeze-herbs-in-olive-oil-173648  

 

  1.  How To Grow Your Own Ginger

     

 

I’m a huge fan of ginger.  It’s the main firepower in my wife’s famous Trinidad Chicken Stew recipe.  Mary and Tim at  17apart have a fantastic guide complete with step by step photos to get your ginger growing.  They have a tremendous blog loaded with DIY tips.    

http://www.17apart.com/2013/02/how-to-plant-and-grow-ginger-root.html   Follow Mary and Tim:  https://twitter.com/17Apart

 

 

  1.  How To Plant and Grow Your Own Lemon Tree – Even Indoors!

     

 

When I saw this post I had a flashback to the late nineties.  We had inherited a lemon tree from my father-in-law.  It was 9 years old, and grew its first lemon.  Today I’m working on a key lime tree in my dining room.  Maria at ApartmentTherapy has a sensational blog post for you on how to tend to your new roommate!  

  http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-plant-and-keep-an-indoo-108900

 

 

  1.  Simple Way To Sprout Peas and Mung Beans

     

 

Stephanie has another sensational garden tutorial on her awesome GardenTherapy blog.  This time she details how to start sprouting your green peas and mung beans using a plain old mason jar and some focused patience.  Delicious, nutritious as all-get-out, and a great salad booster, why wouldn’t you try this?    

http://gardentherapy.ca/mason-jar-sprouts/

 

 

  1.  Can You Grow A Tomato From A Cutting?

     

 

 I’m a bit of a clod in the garden, and often I break the tomato plants.  Not on purpose mind you, but I hate it when a big stalk breaks off.  This post at HomeTalk walks you through the blueprint to take tomato cuttings from a friend’s gorgeous heirloom tomatoes and propagate them at your home.    

http://www.hometalk.com/3250122/growing-tomatoes-from-cuttings

 

 

  1.  Best Tip For Making Seed Tape

     

 

 I found a hidden gem at the OrganicGardening blog concerning seed tape.  Yes, we know by now the wonders of glue and toilet paper when making DIY seed tape.  The bonus kicker on this tip was alternating seed varieties.  Who says your garden needs a row of carrots and only carrots?  Think of it as a natural way to thin the row from Day 1.  The author suggests radish and carrot companion planting in the row, but you can use your imagination to create endless varieties!

http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/best-seed-tape-ever?cm_mmc=OGNews-_-925872-_-05302012-_-best_seed_tape_ever_image

 

 

  1.  How To Water Plants When You’re On Vacation

     

 

 The team over at Lifehacker posted this, and the original article that it was from is long gone but the evidence remains.  They show how to water potted plants using a paper towel and a cup of water.  This will work for SHORT vacations.  I recommend testing it over a long weekend when you’re still at home.  And test cheap paper towels vs the premium brand.    

  http://lifehacker.com/5921718/keep-plants-watered-for-days-with-nothing-but-paper-towels/all

 

 

  1.  The Lazy Way To Grow Amazing Potatoes

     

 

 I grew up growing potatoes.  I remember learning to use a pitchfork and not puncture the spuds or my toes around age 7.  We used to fight over the baby reds and the first potatoes each season.  The awesome folks at BetterHensAndGardens have a simpler and lazier method for growing potatoes instead of digging trenches and piling soil.  If you’re looking for a shortcut for growing potatoes check this out!    

http://www.betterhensandgardens.com/2012/03/14/planting-potatoes-lazy-bed-method/

 

 

  1.  Never Throw Out Those Egg Shells!

     

 

 Kerry at Squawkfox has a brilliant photo tutorial on how to use egg shells as starter pots for seedlings.  This is a fabulous post, each step has an image and a write up, even I could follow it.  The bottom line … eat more eggs!    

http://www.squawkfox.com/2012/04/12/seedling/   Follow Kerry https://twitter.com/squawkfox

 

  1.  Convert A Tree Stump Into A Whimsy Garden

     

 

 Jennifer wrote a guide for Snapguide on how to build whimsy gardens using the base around tree stumps.  She called them “Gnome Homes”.  This blog post has 3 dozen photos of examples and actual gardens sure to inspire your creative juices!  

https://snapguide.com/guides/make-a-gnome-home/   Follow Jennifer:  https://snapguide.com/jennifer-pilcher/

 

 

  1.  How To Build A Bat House For Your Garden

     

 

 In the summer as dusk is upon us you can see a swoop of shadow in the dark blue sky.  Too fast for a bird…what was that?  It must be a bat.  They eat bugs…lots of bugs.If you build a couple of special houses and know where to place them, you can attract natures bug zapper and keep your yard nearly bug free.    

http://www.ekpc.coop/NewGreenweb/bats.html  

 

  1.  What To Do With Your Onion Bums

     

 

 I used to work in a restaurant when I was in high school.  The cook that trained me had me chopping onions and prepping a lot.  I guess better me crying than him.  He called the part of the onion that you chopped off and threw away an “onion bum”.  Instrucables has a super post on how to take that discarded bit of onion and grow an entire onion garden.    

http://www.instructables.com/id/Grow-Onions-from-Discarded-Onion-Bottoms/?ALLSTEPS

 

 

  1.  How To Build A Tiny Garden

     

 

 Wow, gardening legend Bob Villa has a brilliant post on how to build small terrariums using primarily cactus.  I remember seeing Bob on TV all the time as a kid.  There are a bunch of gorgeous examples on his site, sure to inspire the imagination.  This would make a great homeschool science project.    

http://www.bobvila.com/cactus-terrarium-how-to-build-a-terrarium/48146-the-tiniest-garden-you-can-grow-on-a-tabletop/slideshows  

 

 

  1.  Never Throw Out Your Bits of Basil

     

 

Michelle, the genius over at Garden Therapy has a hand-drawn illustrated tutorial on how to regrow fresh basil from store bought basil scraps.  If you love the deliciousness that comes with cooking with fresh herbs then this is for you!    

http://gardentherapy.ca/growing-basil-from-cuttings/

 

 

  1.  How To Prep Your Soil To Plan Your Garden

     

 

 DaNelle at  WeedemAndReap has a fantastic explanation on how to jar up your soil samples to determine what type of ground you have.  Seriously, is that not one of the best garden domain names ever?  What’s cool about this tutorial is my wife and I did it as part of her Master Gardeners course.  This exercise shows the silt, clay, loam and sand components.  Science nerds will love this!    

http://www.weedemandreap.com/get-superpowered-garden-soil/   Follow DaNelle:  https://twitter.com/WeedemandReap  

 

 

  1.  How to Build A Garden Hedgehog From A Plastic Bottle

     

 

 Ok my crafty friend…here’s a purely whimsical succulent garden designed as an animal called a hedgehog.  Them’s NOT good eatin…but adorable as all get out.    

http://www.prakticideas.com/hedgehog-garden-plastic-bottles/

 

 

  1.  How To Keep Soil From Spilling Out of Container Pots

 

We bought some nice container pots last summer to grow heirloom tomatoes and herbs.  First thing I did was drill holes in the bottom.  But how do you keep the soil from falling out of the bottom?  Here’s a creative idea for a pot liner that is cheap, convenient and does the trick.     http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Line-Plant-Pots-Coffee-Filter-32045913  

 

  1.  How To Do A Seed Germination Test On Old Seeds

 

Do you save seeds?  Do you trade seeds with friends?  Each spring we do a germination test on our seeds just to see what’s what.  Sure saves headaches when you don’t end up planting an entire row of defunct seeds in your main garden.  Rachel at GrowAGoodLife created a spectacular seed germination testing tutorial for you.  Her secret weapon?  Corn starch.  I kid you not, check it out!     http://growagoodlife.com/presprouting-seeds/

 

 

  1.  Unique Raised Garden Bed Design

 

 Texas native Jennifer shares a step by step photo post of her cinder block herb garden in a raised bed style.  What’s unique about Isavea2z article is the garden is for a child to learn to garden in.  Keeps the costs down and is very movable.     http://www.isavea2z.com/raised-bed-garden-designs-plans/#_a5y_p=1002074   Follow Jennifer:  https://twitter.com/isaveeveryday

 

 

  1.  How To Keep Dogs Out Of Your Flower Beds

 

 Pet lovers listen!  Here is a photo montage of creative ideas to keep dogs out of your garden.  The pinecone one is particularly interesting.  If you’re looking for ideas check this post out.     http://davisheritage.com/?p=11979

 

 

  1.  How To Save Water In The Garden

 

 As a raised bed gardener,  my wife and I conserve a lot of water by only watering the roots of the plants.  Mel Bartholomew outlined the concepts in his seminal work Square Foot Gardening.  Everyone needs to read that book.  Astra has a brilliant DIY guide at AJourneyToADream to follow to make a plastic squeeze watering can that never drips and gives you control over watering your container pots and small space gardens.     http://ajourneytoadream.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/helpful-yet-simple-diy-for-spring.html  

 

 

  1.  Can You Regrow Bok Choy From Scraps?

 

 Yup.  Just like celery.  Buy it once, chop it up, regrow it forever.  Think about that for a minute.  It’s like magic.  Tim and Mary at 17Apart does another one of their brilliant photo tutorials.  You need to show these guys some love and share their message, they do a great job.     http://www.17apart.com/2012/02/how-to-regrowing-bok-choy.html

 

 

  1.  Have You Ever Rooted A Sweet Potato For Planting?

 

 There was a TV comedy called Community where in the science class at college they had to root a sweet potato for their grade.  They should have read the blog post at TheOrganicLemon and they would have gotten an A.  Check out the pictures and follow along at home.     http://theorganiclemon.com/2012/03/01/how-to-root-a-sweet-potato-for-planting/  

 

  1.  How To Make Your Plant Marker Tags Last In The Garden

 

 Here’s one that I need in a big way.  I wrote a couple of dozen plant markers by hand last summer.  We bought the plastic ones at the dollar store and I used a Sharpie marker.  The sun made the ink disappear within a month and by July every single plant in the garden was a mystery.  Lynne from SensibleGardening has a great picto-lesson for us on her blog loaded with great ideas!     http://sensiblegardening.com/garden-tags-that-last/ Follow Lynne:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sensible-Gardening-and-Living-with-Canyon-Ridge-Daylily-Farm/192507747460288?ref=hl

 

 

  1.  Defeat The Polar Vortex By Warming Your Soil For Early Planting

 

 The college kids made a drinking game last winter called Polar Vortex.  Anytime you heard that phrase on TV you did a shot.  Halle At WholeLifestyleNutrition has an excellent guide with photos on how to warm up the soil in your garden beds using black plastic covers to magnify the early spring sun.     http://wholelifestylenutrition.com/gardening/warm-garden-soil-up-early-planting/   Follow Halle:  https://twitter.com/HalleCottis  

 

 

  1.  How To Make A Wall Mounted Herb Garden By Hacking Ikea

 

 This is a perfect concept for a garden lover in a condo in a big city.  You can enjoy fresh herbs on a sunny wall near a window by modifying an Ikea Vurm.  What’s a Vurm?  Check out this brilliant DIY project by Faith at Curbly.   http://www.curbly.com/users/faith-towers/posts/15005-how-to-indoor-herb-garden-ikea-hack   Follow Curbly:  https://twitter.com/curbly

 

 

  1.  How To Amend Your Soil Using Starbucks Coffee Grounds

     

 

 Look what I found…its a pdf handout at Oregon State University for their Master Gardeners Program.  It gives tips on participating in the Starbucks used coffee grounds program.  Last summer when I was in Edmonton I went across the street at my parent’s place and the barista gave me a 3 pounds sack of used coffee grounds.  I was impressed, the program works and your soil will benefit!   http://extension.oregonstate.edu/lane/sites/default/files/documents/cffee07.pdf

 

  1.  My Wife’s Favorite Tool For Weeding, Especially On The Sidewalk

 

 Here’s a personal experience reference.  We used to have a place with a flagstone patio and walkway.  The weeds between the stones were relentless.  My wife bought a propane powered weed torch.  Worked like a charm.  Saves you agony on the knees and back.  If you’re allowed to play with fire, here’s a great blog post explaining the uses for a weed torch.     http://www.betterhensandgardens.com/2012/04/18/best-weeding-investment/

 

35  Creative Edging Ideas For Your Garden

 Douglas is a friend of the Back To My Garden podcast, and an excellent guest.  He shares a blog post on using steel pipe and recycled wine bottles as edging concepts for your beds.    

  http://welchwrite.com/agn/2012/01/28/project-steel-pipe-garden-edging/#sthash.ZLhUr38s.dpbs

 

 

  1.  Are Your Tomato Plants Thirsty?

 

This garden hack falls into the category of “I don’t care what my neighbors think”.  Allie and Jody at TheGreenists share a humorous blog post on repurposing empty wine bottles as improvised watering reservoirs for thirsty tomato plants in the dead of summer.     http://thegreenists.com/gardening/green-garden-hack

 

 

  1. Never Throw Out The Stumps From Your Romaine Lettuce

 

 Another classic how-to-grow-veggies-from-scraps tutorial.  I like the photos in this one.  The stumps from your romaine lettuce from the grocery store can be reused to grow even more lettuce.  This is especially useful for city-dwellers who don’t have the yard space to grow their own vegetable garden.     http://removeandreplace.com/2013/05/07/how-to-easily-re-grow-romaine-lettuce-from-a-stump-indoors/  

 

 

  1.  Garbanzo Beans Sprouting Tips

 

 Chick peas or garbanzo beans are very nutritious.  I know a few vegetarians that won’t go a day without them.  You can sprout them at home with common kitchen items and a bit of patience.  Have you ever tasted homemade hummus?   http://theorganiclemon.com/2012/05/23/how-to-sprout-garbanzo-beans-aka-chick-peas-for-planting-or-for-cooking/

 

 

  1.  Ten Awesome Tips For Growing A Bumper Crop of Tomatoes

 

 If you’re tomato-obsessed like I am, a big list of tomato tips is as irresistible as catnip to a big old tabby.  Jill at ThePrairieHomestead has compiled her recommendations based on her own personal gardening experiences.  Make sure you follow her and share her stuff, she’s a quality garden blogger.     http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2013/06/10-tips-for-a-tremendous-tomato-harvest.html   Follow Jill:  https://twitter.com/homesteader

 

 

  1.  What To Do When You Have Way Too Many Herbs At One Time

 

 I love garden tip lists.  Katie has written a great guest post at OurFamilyWorld with 7 ways to preserve extra herbs.  I like the paper towel method and the freezer method.  My wife always has amazing herbs for us even in the depths of winter.  The benefit is in the eating!     http://www.ourfamilyworld.com/2013/06/25/clever-ways-to-save-herbs-for-later/

 

 

  1.  Wet Grass?  Lawnmower?  Sticky?  No Problem!

 

 As a teenager one of the ways I tried to make extra money was cutting lawns.  Being in school, I was limited to evenings or weekends.  Just because it had rained was never a reason not to cut a lawn.  Sure it looked terrible and the grass stuck to the blades and made a hell of a mess, but hey, I was a bone-idle teenager and dumb as a bag of hammers.  I found this short blog post showing how to defeat sticky grass and your lawnmower.   http://www.whoknewtips.com/tipoftheday/2013/6/26/tip-of-the-day-how-to-mow-a-wet-lawn.html

 

28 How To Build A Rubbermaid Container Garden

 Here’s a tremendous step-by-step photo instructional on creating your patio garden using plastic container.  Aurora from BackPorchGarden did a nice job on this.  Watch your flyers for sales, or better yet, hit up Craigslist and garage sales for used containers.  Please remember to drill holes … it will be a heck of a mess otherwise, I speak from experience.    

http://backporchgarden.blogspot.ca/2011/04/rubbermaid-container-garden.html

 

 

  1.  How To Build A Fence Table Beside Your Garden

 

 Do you garden in a typical suburban backyard near a fence?  Sara from SensiblySara has an excellent DIY project for you!  She shows how to build a table that attaches to your fence at the perfect height.  She lays out the entire Home Depot shopping list and the steps to do it.  Really well done!     http://sensiblysara.com/2013/04/diy-fence-table/   Follow Sara:  https://twitter.com/SensiblySara

 

 

  1.  How To Stop Japanese Green Beetles From Eating Your Garden

 

 There are some mean insects out there that love to munch away on all your hard work.  Here is a down-and-dirty attack plan to fight back organically.  Allie from TheGreenists shares her weapons and recipes of choice including dish soap. oil, garlic, and cayenne pepper.   Kind of sounds delicious, except for the soap part!   http://thegreenists.com/gardening/use-dishsoap-to-fight-beetles-in-the-garden/8486

 

 

  1.  Beginners Guide To Growing Windowsill Scallions

 

 Attention urban condo dwellers with at least 1 sunny window – you can make a garden!  Here’s a short blog post on regrowing onions and the fast pace that it can happen.  Perfect for brown thumbed non-gardeners and beginners.   http://www.thekitchn.com/re-growing-green-onions-grow-your-scallions-back-on-your-windowsill-165274  

 

 

  1.  How To Have Beautiful Flowers For Christmas By Forcing Bulbs

 

 If you want quick and easy flowers, then forcing paper white bulbs are for you!  Of course you can replicate this project with hyacinths or tulips, but for beginners the paper white is the way to go.  Lynne has a beautiful example at SensibleGardening complete with step by step instructions.  When winter comes, this will give you the pretty color that flowers bring.     http://sensiblegardening.com/how-to-force-paper-whites/

 

 

  1.  Tips On How To Grow Heirloom Green Beans

 

I found a fabulous post loaded with tips for growing beans.  The author at Gnowfglins loves to plant a particular heirloom called a Tarheel, a variety over 60 years in their family.  You know how much we love our heirlooms!  A great little green bean post, please share this one.     http://gnowfglins.com/2014/05/05/6-tips-on-how-to-plant-and-grow-beans/

 

 

  1.  Discover The Secret To Long Lasting Hydrangeas

 

 Melissa wrote a great post at TheHappierHomeMaker sharing tips for making her hydrangeas look better and last longer.  She confesses her secret love affair with hydrangeas, warns about how quick they wilt, and gives you the #1 ingredient for preserving their beauty.     http://www.thehappierhomemaker.com/2013/05/the-secret-to-long-lasting-hydrangeas/#_a5y_p=671323   Follow Melissa:  https://twitter.com/DIYMelissa

 

 

  1.  The Secret Device To Retain Moisture In Your Hanging Baskets

 

 At first I couldn’t believe this one.  Yes, I know that hanging baskets get completely sun drenched in summer and dry out at an amazing rate.  How can you preserve moisture in your flower pots?  This tip is definitely NOT for everyone.     http://sandpaperandsillyputty.blogspot.ca/2013/03/playin-with-dirt.html  

 

 

  1.  How To Make Gorgeous Patio Walkway Stones

 

 I love instructionals like this.  GardenWeb has a full step-by-step DIY tutorial on how to make your own patio walkway stones that look like rhubarb leaves.   This one is sensational!     http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/kitchentable/msg0514085524332.html

 

 

  1.  How To Save Your Root Vegetables In The Freezer

 

What do you do if you grow too many turnips or parsnips?  DaNelle at WeedemandReap has an excellent bullet point list giving you the specifics how to freeze them for the winter.     http://www.weedemandreap.com/freeze-root-vegetables-winter/

 

 

  1.  How To Store Your Hand-held Garden Tools

 

 You’re on your knees digging in a new flower bed with a hand-held trowel and the phone rings.  You put down the tool and it goes missing in the grass.  Here’s a clever idea using sand and a repurposed terra cotta flower pot to store your tools short-term and protect them.     http://www.realsimple.com/new-uses-for-old-things/new-uses-gardening

 

 

  1.  Tips For Using Epsom Salts In Your Garden

 

 Need more magnesium?  Need more sulfate?  Have you heard that epsom salts are useful in the garden but need more information?  Here’s a deep in-depth resource post full of great content on how to augment your soil using epsom salts.  Works for rosarians, shrub growers, and vegetable gardeners.   http://www.saltworks.us/gardening-with-epsom-salt.asp  

 

 

  1.  Wild And Crazy Vertical Gardens From Repurposed Furniture

 

Kim from TooMuchTime has compiled a great list of images of vertical gardens.  This is big time DIY, repurposing old furniture, dresser drawers, ladders and even bunk beds.  This is perfect for gardeners in tight spaces with a crafty sensibility.  Wild wild stuff!     http://too-much-time.com/2012/03/earth-day-thursday-small-area-gardening-ideas.html   Follow Kim:  https://twitter.com/kimtoomuchtime

 

 

  1.  How To Build A Whiskey Barrel Container Garden

 

 Dawn from CreativeCainCabin has a gorgeous DIY project to repurpose old whiskey barrels as beautiful mixed plant container gardens. She also shares some tips about dealing with a deer population and living in a log home.  A great lifestyle blog! http://creativecaincabin.com/2014/05/whiskey-barrel-container-garden/   Follow Dawn https://twitter.com/CCainCabin  

 

 

  1.  How To Build A Digital Monitoring System For Your Seedlings

 

 Using Arduino it’s simple to build your own digital monitoring system.  It’s perfect for your seedlings under grow lights early in the spring.  Best if you’re the DIY-type.     http://backtomygarden.com/container-gardens/container-garden-seedling-protection-system/

 

 

  1.  The Secret Trick To Growing Sweeter Tomatoes

 

 Carol from TheGardeningCook swears she can make her tomatoes sweeter than yours using a single secret ingredient.  It’s an experiment to get the levels perfect, you may need to try this a couple of times to get it right for your palate.  This is very interesting especially if you’re a canner or cook…imagine having prize-winning tomatoes that no one on Earth knows how to grow.     http://thegardeningcook.com/sweet-tomatoes/

 

  1.  Tips For Preventing Root Bound Seedlings Using Soil Blocks

 

 You might stop buying seedling pots from your local garden center after reading this blog post.   Imagine your seedlings thriving without cell packs, peat pots or oxygen-starved root systems. An excellent tutorial.     http://growagoodlife.com/soil-blocks-for-growing-seedlings-2/

 

 

  1.  How To Move Heavy Potted Plants Without Zapping Your Spine

 

 I picked up the fig tree and groaned.  The pot didn’t LOOK that heavy … and carrying it from the backyard to the garage was like a scene from World’s Strongest Man competitions … you’ve seen them … great big fat vikings carrying half ton stones for fun.   http://www.familyhandyman.com/landscaping/planters/tips-for-moving-heavy-potted-plants/view-all

 

  1.  Amazing Glass Art For The Desert Garden

 

 This blog post isn’t exactly a DIY for everyone…it’s an amazing image collection of trees made of glass bottles and actual glass that artists that have blown into trees.  It’s part inspiration, part art project…I think you might get some ideas.     http://www.felderrushing.net/MojaveBottleTrees.htm

 

 

  1.  How They Make Flower Beds In France

 

 I like inspiring travel posts that capture exotic gardening ideas from around the world.  In this post the authors travel to France in the Loire valley.  They take some lovely photos of various chateau gardens and I’m sure you’ll find inspiration for your garden at home.     http://townmouse.typepad.com/townmouse/2010/05/the-best-and-the-worst-1.html#

 

  1.  DIY Kids Project To Make A Beautiful Watering Jug

 

 Last summer my friend’s daughter Jazzy gave us a custom home-made flower pot covered in colorful buttons that she had made as a craft.  What’s life without whimsy?  Here is a fun project to give your kids their own watering jug by repurposing a bottled water container and some color markers.     http://myfrugaladventures.com/2014/04/quick-easy-diy-watering-can-perfect-children/   Follow Charlene:  https://twitter.com/frugaladventure

 

 

  1.  Do You Know What’s In YOUR Soil?

 

 Last summer in one of my raised garden beds I planted 3 zucchinis. All grew, all were covered in bright yellow flowers.  Guess how many zucchinis I got?  Zero.  Nada.  Zilch.  When I tested the soil it was off the chart alkaline.   Here is a fantastic guide showing you how to test your soil each spring using mason jars and some patience.  This is a simple way to gather data on on your garden soil.   http://preparednessmama.com/jar-soil-test/  

 

  1.  How To Set Up Your Own Grow Lamps For Spring Seedlings

 

 We have an old pool table in our basement that we have repurposed into a seedling nursery, and winter greens garden.  Middle of January and there’s a foot of snow outside and I have tomato and pepper plants growing.  I found an excellent resource for you on how to building your own set-up with grow lamps.     http://faulkfarmstead.com/2014/04/diy-grow-lamps-spring-seedlings/

 

 

  1.  Five Ways To Eliminate Slimy Slugs From Your Garden

 

 Remember I mentioned a weed torch in a previous post?  Combating slugs doesn’t have to be hand-to-hand with a flame thrower.  Here’s a resource list of 5 tips to finally get rid of slugs in your plants this season.     http://www.thisgardenisillegal.com/2006/07/how-to-kill-slimy-bastards-aka-slugs.html

 

  1.  Plant Markers Made From Broken Pots

 

 Some gardeners are frugal.  Others are crafty and love DIY.  All gardeners love to have their rows clearly marked.  Here’s a fun way to take pot tragedy and give the shards new life.     http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Plant-Markers-from-Broken-Pots

 

 

  1.  How To Build A Beautiful Rain Reservoir Using Old Food Grade Barrels

 

 In my municipality it is legal to collect rainwater, and they even sell rain barrels for $90 and the proceeds go to a local charity.  If you love DIY garden projects, you will love this post at GentlemanHomestead.  Instead of pouring chlorinated municipal water on your plants, give them the soft rain water that nature intended with a rain barrel you made yourself.     http://gentlemanhomestead.com/diy-rain-barrel/

 

 

  1. How To Square Foot Garden Without Losing Your Mind – With A Planting Board

 

 I’ve given you a bunch of resources in this post using empty wine bottles.  But what do you do with all the corks?  Here is a brilliant guide to build your own planting board using … you guessed it … wine corks!  Super crafty and DIY, the raised bed gardeners will love this!     http://pittypatpages.blogspot.ca/2012/03/diy-planting-board.html

 

  1.  How To Build A Potato Tower In Your Garden

 

 As a kid, me and my 2 brothers would try to wrestle my father for the baby red spuds fresh from the garden.  There is nothing like delicious home-grown potatoes!  There’s a scene in Forrest Gump where he lists all the kinds of food made from shrimp…I could do the same with potatoes.  I found a clever resource by a novice gardener showing step-by-step how to build your own potato tower.  They completely wing it, and that’s how they roll.   https://mysisterspantry.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/you-say-potato/  

 

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Join Dave Ledoux from the Back To My Garden podcast as he interviews passionate gardeners from around the world. Discover new gardening techniques, expert secrets, time-saving tips and exciting trends so you can take your garden to new heights!  Whether you’re a flower fanatic, an heirloom vegetable aficionado, pressure canning preserves, a herb garden enthusiast or even an aquaponics farmer, the BTMG podcast has something for you.  Guests ranging from Master Gardeners to enthusiastic amateurs share organic gardening strategies, soil nutrition, composting wisdom, natural pest control, raised garden beds, container patio gardening, vertical gardens and even fish-powered vegetable gardens. No gardening topic is off-limits. Discover your passion for gardening!

 

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