Gardening tips

Keep hanging plants watered.

Hanging plants have a tendency to dry out quickly.  Water pours through the planters it is hard to keep the soil in them fertilized… and with the sun beaming on the soil, often plants struggle.  No more.  Put a diaper in potted plants to help them retain moisture. Neat!  The silica in the diaper retains the moisture and waters the plants consistently.  We would suggest using organic chemical-free diapers if this is for an edible plant.  You should also sprinkle some fertilizer into the bottom of the planter.  Retaining moisture and nutrients is the hanging plant’s biggest struggle.

Help new plants have a solid start and be protected.

Use a gallon milk jug.  Cut the bottom out of your milk jug and place this around your new plants.  This helps those plants who are between the seedling phase, but not yet strong enough for all the elements and storms (or rabbits!) to have a great solid start.  Be sure to leave the lid off your jug so the plants can breathe as they grow.  You only need to use the jugs for a week or two in your garden.

Seedling pods help your plants get a healthy start

Create your own seedling pods using newspaper.  You can fold origami paper cups – they take mere seconds to make!  Then fill them with soil, some seeds.  Added perk of using newspaper, you will be able to tell if the plant is getting too much or too little water as you can see the moisture in the paper.  SHMART!  Newspaper disintegrates fairly quickly making it a better choice for fast-growing plants.  We’ve used newspaper pods for our beans and melons.

When starting seedlings use spices to prevent damping off disease.

One of the good gardening tricks is to use cooking spices instead of commercial anti-fungals. Spices are powerful antioxidants.  They contain antifungal, and antibacterial properties. Cinnamon, tumeric, clove, and mustard have strong antifungal properties.  I sprinkle the spice on top of the soil when I plant my seeds in pots, in the house to prevent damping off, and to prevent mold growth on houseplants.  I reapply the spices periodically after watering.

Gardening Idea: Start Seedlings in Eggshells

Looking for new ways to start your garden??  Consider using biodegradable items from your kitchen.  You can start your seeds in eggshells. By starting your seeds instead of buying plants that have already begun to grow, you can save big bucks on your gardening costs.  Beans, squash, cucumbers, melons, all of them are easy to start in eggshells.  When it is time to plant them just lightly tap the shell to crack it before planting the entire egg, shell and plant into your garden.

Don’t over-water your garden.

Using a watering can is better than a straight hose.  This is especially important with young shoots, when you are first planting your garden.  Gentle watering is imperative.  Make your spring gardening chores easier with a DIY watering can. It’s the perfect size for watering seedlings and small plants.

Protect Your Garden from Pests.

Do you have a lot of rabbits?  Even raccoons??  They can decimate a garden in mere hours.  One of the best tips to avoid having your garden munched on, is to stake a rope just 4-5 inches off the ground.  It is low enough to deter small animals, and not high to make it hard to tend the garden.

Beginners: Do a quick mason jar soil test

Knowledge is power, in life and in gardening.  Determine if the soil composition of your garden space, is sandy, clay, or silt – even degrading compost.  Know what your soil makeup is using a mason jar “test” and then you can make adjustments as necessary.

Clever Garden Tip: Wrap Tomato Plants in Plastic

Insulate tomato plants with plastic wrap if you live in a cooler climate. It creates a greenhouse effect and warms up the plants to help them thrive. (We have more plastic wrap hacks!)  Your tomato plants will have a head start so you will have more tomatoes all season long!

Use Garden Tarps to protect and prepare your garden.

Plastic groundsheets are a gift if you are an early planter.  They make terrific raised bed covers, as well as even ground heating!  You can start seedlinigs with translucent cover, and if you are in a cold climate you can even use a black cover sheet to warm up the soil before you put your seeds or plants in the ground.So many ways your garden will thank you with just plastic sheeting and binder clips.