17 Gardening Hacks And Tips [For Every Level Of Green Thumb]

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There’s something so satisfying about planting a garden and watching it grow. From vegetables to flowers to herbs to plants, gardens come in all shapes and sizes. But no matter what type of garden you grow, there are some basic steps you’ll need to follow in order to make it thrive.

Aside from the basics of planting, watering and fertilizing, there are lots of other little tricks you can do to make your garden a success.

Ready to learn a few new tricks?

Here are 17 gardening tips and hacks to make your garden the best one on the block.

TIP 1: Location, Location, Location

There’s one key thing you’ll need to decide before you ever put a seedling or a bulb in the ground:

Where on your property will your garden go?

To give your garden the best chance of survival, you’ll need to plant it in the right location.

Some plants, flowers, and vegetables need lots of sun – others need partial shade. Before you plant anything in the ground, make sure you’re planting it in an area of your yard that offers the optimal growing conditions.

Once you select a spot, it’s time to prepare the soil.

That includes removing rocks, tilling the soil, and ensuring that the area you’ve chosen has proper drainage. You don’t want to plant where water pools or where water doesn’t drain properly.

It’s also important to choose a stable location. Plant your garden in an area that’s not in the way of foot traffic or not in an open area where it could suffer wind damage.

TIP 2: Consult a Growing Guide

There are thousands of varieties of plants, flowers and veggies – and they all require specific conditions to grow. Before you choose what to plant, consult a growing guide to see which items can grow in your country’s region.

Growing guides help you identify different hardiness zones. They also specify the temperature, soil conditions, and the amount of sun and shade needed for growing various things. Most guides also let you know when the best times for planting different species are.

Unless you want to be frustrated with a garden that never grows, consult a growing guide and plant only those items that you can grow in your region.

TIP 3: Be Patient

Even the best gardener can’t grow a garden overnight. Every plant, flower, vegetable and seed takes time to grow.

If you want to have a prosperous garden, be patient.

Water it, give it the proper amount of sun and shade, add the appropriate fertilizer and give it time. You do not need to prune all of your plants every single day!

Related: 14 Houseplants Safe for Cats (and Dogs) 

Watering Hacks

Everyone knows that watering a garden is essential. Without water, plants, flowers and vegetables will never grow!

You can fill a watering can with water from your spigot or faucet. You can spray your garden with a hose or a sprinkler system. You can take advantage of the rain when the skies open up.

But if you want to give your garden a boost, there are a few cool watering hacks that you can try.

Water Your Garden With Cooking Water

The next time you boil eggs or steam veggies, save the leftover cooking water. Why? Because that water is full of nutrients!

Watering your garden with cooking water is a great way to add extra nutrients to the soil and give your plants and flowers a boost.

Water at the Right Time

Knowing when to water your garden is also key. Ask any gardener when you should water your garden, and they’ll all tell you the same thing: early in the morning and/or in the evening when the sun goes down.

You should never water your plants in the sunniest part of the afternoon when the heat is at its peak. It takes time for the water to sink in and soak the soil. By watering in the morning, your garden will have enough to drink to get through the hottest part of the afternoon.

This goes for vegetable gardens and flower gardens.

Add an Aspirin to Your Watering Can

The next time you fill up your watering can with water, add an aspirin before you start wetting your garden. Let the aspirin dissolve completely then water your garden as usual.

How is this helpful? The salicylic acid in aspirin is a great way to fight off pests and prevent rot and disease.

Add Hose Guides

If you’re a gardener who prefers to water with a hose, it’s time to invest in a hose guide. We love this hack for the fact that it makes life easier, protects your garden, and adds some style to your yard.

Place a few decorative hose guides around your garden and you won’t have to worry about damaging your flowers or vegetables by dragging a hose across the lawn.

Soil Hacks

Without the right type of soil, there’s little chance your garden will grow. From root rot to weeds to having the right amount of water, here are some hacks to improve your soil and its conditions.

Improve Soil Quality With Rusty Nails

It’s actually not the rust in nails that improves soil quality – it’s the iron that nails are made from. For your plants to grow, your soil needs to have some iron content.

So dig through your junk drawer to find some rusty old nails and toss a few new nails into your garden bed. This will help your garden grow!

Nails can be used to enhance the growth of fruit trees as well. If you have trees on your property that aren’t bearing much fruit, tap a few nails into the tree trunk, and you’re likely to start seeing growth again.

Prevent Root Rot With Hydrogen Peroxide

Plant roots can develop fungus deep beneath the ground. To improve roots and protect against root fungus, water your garden with a mix of one part hydrogen peroxide and 32 parts water.

Don’t have hydrogen peroxide on hand? You can also use pennies.

Toss a few old pennies into the ground – the copper in the pennies can resist against rot as well. The older the pennies, the better your results will be. (Older pennies contain higher levels of copper).

Make Use of Mulch

Mulch makes your flower beds look pretty – but it does a lot more than that.

Mulch is a great way to reduce water runoff and slow down the process of water evaporation in the soil. It also keeps weeds down, so you can spend more time pruning your plants and picking your veggies than pulling unsightly weeds.

 Related: Where to Buy Succulents Online

Money Saving Hacks

Looking to grow a gorgeous garden and keep your expenses to a minimum?  Here are some fun hacks that will save you cash and help improve your garden’s growth and beauty.

Save Money on Fertilizer

Fertilizer can be expensive, and the bigger your garden, the more you’ll need. To cut down on expenses at the nursery or home improvement store, start creating a DIY fertilizer out of household items that you already have.

Grass clippings make for excellent fertilizer. The next time you mow your lawn, add some of the clippings to your garden rather than throwing them away.

You can also find fertilizer in your kitchen. Coffee grounds, crushed up eggshells and banana peels are excellent sources of nutrients!

BONUS: coffee grounds and eggshells will also help to keep small pests, such as slugs and snails, away.

Compost With Kitchen Scraps

Just like fertilizer, your kitchen is also full of materials to make compost.

The skins and rinds of fruits and veggies, eggshells, and even bread and crackers make excellent compost. For compost to be efficient, it needs to be a mix of “green” and “brown” ingredients. You can pull the green ingredients straight from your kitchen and use sawdust, hay or even dried leaves as your brown components.

You can make compost in your kitchen with a small compost bin, or you can bury it in the ground and let it turn to compost naturally.

The trick to making your own compost is to avoid kitchen scraps that contain oils and animal products.

These items break down too quickly, so avoid composting with meat, fish and dairy products. Be cautious, this might attract some unwanted critters!

Recycle and Upcycle

There’s no need to spend tons of money on fancy garden accessories. There are lots of things around the house that make excellent substitutes for pricey gardening gear.

Need a trellis? Use an old screen, old slats of wood, an old pallet or an old ladder.

Need new pots to grow or display flowers? Instead of buying expensive flower pots, use inexpensive Terracotta pots for all your potting needs. They come in all shapes and sizes and when they break, you can use them as markers to differentiate between different types of seeds, bulbs and plants.

In the market for a new watering can? Take an empty gallon milk jug, poke a few holes in the cap and you’ve got an instant watering can.

You’d be surprised how beautiful and effective a container garden and garden tools can look when you repurpose items that you already have at home.

Need to protect your plants or flowers from an unexpected frost? Keep the nursery pots that your plants come in and when the weather gets cold, just turn them upside to protect new growth.

Related: 17 Tips to Save Money at the Grocery Store

More Gardening Hacks

Ready to learn a few more useful gardening hacks and tips? Here are a few more that actually work and can make your gardening habit a whole lot easier.

Dry Herbs in the Sun

If you’ve ever grown an herb garden outdoors, you know that you need to give the herbs time to dry. Some people put them in a warm oven to speed up the drying process, but there’s an even easier way to do it.

Lay a few freshly picked herbs on a sheet of paper (or newspaper) on a windowsill.

Have a lot of herbs that you want to dry at once? Cover the passenger seat of your car with paper and let them dry in the sun. The larger the window, the more herbs you can dry at once (and the more evenly they’ll dry).

Use Coffee Filters to Transplant Flowers and Plants

If you start growing flowers and veggies in pots there will come a time that you need to transplant them either into the ground or into a large vessel. You can make this easier to do by taking one extra step before you put them in pots.

Before you take your plants out of their plastic nursery pots, line your ceramic or Terracotta pots with a coffee filter. Then take the entire plant from the nursery pot and plant it on top of the filter. That way, when it comes time for transplanting, you can easily pull the plant out by the filter.

Set Up Decoys for Squirrels

Tired of squirrels chewing up your vegetables and flowers? Set up some decoys by placing sunflower seeds or peanuts in areas of your yard far away from your garden.

Giving your squirrels a different food source is a great way to deter them from destroying your garden and distract those pesky critters.

Keep Your Nails Clean With Soap

Tired of scrubbing dirt from under your nails every time you work in the garden? Even if you wear gardening gloves, dirt can still get beneath your nails – but there’s an easy way to prevent that from happening.

Before you head out into the garden, scratch your fingernails over a wet bar of soap. The soap will fill up the spaces underneath your nails, making it impossible for dirt to sink in!

What Are the Best Gardening Tips?

Is your goal is to create a garden of fresh vegetables or plant the most beautiful flowers on the block? If so, you’ll probably need to do some trial and error to get your gardening skills to where they need to be.

Just have patience.

Give it time, follow the experts’ advice on watering, planting and particular growing seasons. Be sure to feed, mulch and fertilize your plants as needed and consider companion planting to help everything grow.  Find items around your house to use for gardening tools and watch your young plants flourish!

With a little luck and a few of these useful gardening tricks and tips, you just might become the expert gardener you’ve always hoped to be!

You might also be interested in: How to Start a Patio Garden (Gardening Without a Yard)

Jessica Heston

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