It is important to make the most of your time in the garden. These ‘garden hacks’ will make your soil and plants happier and healthier in less time.
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Eggshells provide calcium and organic matter to your garden. Unfortunately, egg shells take a long time to break down. If you put them whole into the compost, after everything else has decomposed, the eggshells will be intact. The best way to use eggshells in your garden is speeding up the decomposition process in a blender.
- Add eggshells and some water to your blender, give it a spin, and the egg shells are ready to pour into your soil.
- Consistently adding eggshells to the garden is a great way to improve the health of your soil over time.
Celery from the garden is so convenient! There are many health benefits to eating and juicing celery regularly. The easiest way to grow celery is from a cut off-base of celery.
- Simply chop off stalks, and bury base in compost rich soil.
- Sprouts from the stalk will appear in a few days.
- Give celery regular watering and fertilizer.
- Harvest stalks from the outside of the plant as needed.
Regular pruning of basil encourages a fuller plant and a larger harvest.
- Once a basil plant is about 6 inches tall, prune just above a node (a grouping of 2 leaves growing out of the stem).
- The plant will branch out and grow from that point.
- Trim basil plants about every 2 weeks and pinch off flower buds as soon they appear.
- Consistently pruning basil ensures a steady harvest.
- This article shares how to grow basil.
The 4 and 6 packs of annual flowers are convenient and add a quick dose of color to the garden. Doing these 2 things before you pop them in the ground will ensure a healthier plant and more blooms throughout the growing season.
- Remove the flowers on the plant. Removing the flowers directs the plant’s energy to the roots rather than to producing seeds. The plant will settle in quicker and be a stronger plant overall. Pinching off blooms also encourages new shoots for a fuller and bushier plant.
- Loosen and remove the corners of the roots of the plant. The roots have been very happy in their little ball of soil; disturbing the roots a little will encourage them to seek out your garden soil and grow deeper and wider. Plants with wider and stronger roots are healthier and easier to maintain, and you don’t have to water them as often.
Free coffee grounds are readily available from your local Starbucks, so put them to use in your garden! Here are 3 simple ways to use coffee grounds in the garden:
- Mix in with compost. Coffee grounds are considered green matter. This boost of nitrogen will heat up your compost fast!
- Work coffee grounds into garden beds when you prepare them for spring or fall planting.
- Sprinkle into the top of the soil and work in lightly on existing plants. This adds organic matter and micronutrients to the soil. Worms love coffee grounds too!
Homegrown carrots are a great addition to your garden, but the seeds can be difficult to germinate. The problem? Carrot seeds are tiny and need to be planted close to the surface of the soil. They also dry out quickly and don’t sprout. The solution?Put cheesecloth or burlap or even a board on top of the soil after planting until the seeds germinate. Adding a barrier on top of the soil keeps the moisture in the soil longer. Moist seeds will sprout and grow.
Pill bugs, potato bugs, rollie-pollies… whichever name you call them, they can eat through young seedlings and destroy your garden. If you notice damage from these bugs (they are most active at night), place oranges cut side-down in the garden overnight, check underneath them in the morning, and the soil will likely be teeming with pill bugs. Scoop out bugs and give your chickens a treat! Do this consistently and there should be a decrease in the amount of pill bugs in your garden. All this is done without harmful chemicals! To learn more about preventing pests organically, read this post.
Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) strengthens plant cell walls, and helps plants use the nitrogen in the soil. Wondering how to use Epsom salt in the garden? It’s easier than you think. Simply add 1 teaspoon Epsom salt to 32 ounces water in a spray bottle. Shake bottle well to dissolve. Spray solution on plant leaves and blossoms. This is a great treatment for pepper plants, tomato plants, and roses. Use an Epsom salt solution up to once a week during the growing season.
Do some of your flowers look amazing this year? Don’t leave next year’s blooms to chance – save seeds from your favorite blooms on zinnias, cosmos, calendula, bachelor buttons and many other types of flowers.
Saving seeds is simple for many flowers. At the end of the growing season, let the flowers mature on the plant without pinching off the bloom. The flower will mature into seeds. Remove seeds from flower, store in a paper bag or paper envelope, and label with type and date. Saving seeds saves money and gives you a head start with seeds that did well in your garden’s specific growing conditions.