Posts Tagged ‘gardening hacks’

6 Sensational Gardening Hacks

January 13th, 2020 | News | 0 Comments

Seedlings growing in eggshells that are resting in an egg carton

Who doesn’t love clever shortcuts or handy tips that make life easier in the garden? Well, have we got a treat for you because we’re sharing six ingenious ideas to help you achieve more in the garden with less – less time, less effort or less money! You interested? Then let’s dive straight in! Read on or watch the video for our six sensational gardening hacks.

1. Eggshell Pots

We’re egg-cited (sorry!) to get started with our first hack: using eggshells to grow seedlings. Eggshells are completely biodegradable, and as they break down they’ll add valuable nutrients such as calcium to the soil. The shells are free too, assuming you were going to eat their contents anyway, of course. So let’s get cracking!

Carefully peel the top off your morning boiled egg then prick a hole into the bottom using a drawing pin or push pin – this will serve as a drainage hole. Enjoy your egg as normal.

Once you have enough eggshells, boil them in water for one minute to sterilise them, then let them dry. Fill them with seed starting mix, sow, water, then grow your seedlings on somewhere warm and bright. When it’s time to plant, just give the shell a gentle crush between your fingers so the roots are able to get out into the soil, and plant the whole thing.

2. Make Some Fertiliser

A banana peel, some garden leaves, broken eggshells and soil laid out on a wooden surface

Really love your eggs? Then use the leftover shells as part of an organic fertiliser made using kitchen scraps.

Add banana skins, coffee grounds and those eggshells into a blender together with a few cups of water. Whizz it all up into a grainy soup then use the mixture fresh, diluted with more water. This kitchen-created fertiliser is full of nutrients – ideal for use around hungry feeders such as squashes, tomatoes and climbing beans.

3. Stop Losing Plant Labels

Are you forever losing plant labels and with them the handy growing instructions found on the back? Us too! Use a hole punch to make a hole at one end of the label then thread your labels onto a key ring. Hang them up somewhere obvious in the greenhouse or shed so they are always on-hand for easy reference.

4. Care For Tools

While we’re in the shed, let’s give those hand tools some TLC. Mix together sand with vegetable oil. The abrasiveness of the sand will help keep your tools clean, while the oil should prevent blades from rusting.

Fill a pot with your sand-oil mixture then plunge hand tools such as trowels into the mix whenever they’re not in use, or fill a bucket with the mixture to dip spade and fork blades into before putting them away.

Rows of old large plastic bottles sticking out of some soil, being used as cloche protection for young plants

5. Protect Young Plants

Recently transplanted seedlings are vulnerable to frost and chilly winds, but keeping them snug is a cinch with instant cloches made from old bottles. Gallon-sized milk cartons or soft drinks bottles work best. Cut off the bottom, remove the cap so air can circulate and pop them over your plants.

6. Kill Off Weeds

Hoeing and hand weeding is great in beds and borders, but what about niggling weeds sprouting from the cracks in driveways and paving? Nasty chemical weed killers are out for organic gardeners, but scratching around with a weeding tool doesn’t sound like much fun either, so why not see them off with a safe but powerful organic spray you’ve made yourself.

Simply mix one pint or half a litre of white vinegar with two tablespoons of salt and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Add a teaspoon of dish soap too, then stir to combine. Decant into a spray bottle and, with gloves on, spray the potent brew onto weeds. Do this on a still, sunny day and be sure to cover all surfaces. Weeds will quickly wither and die.

And there you have our handy horticultural hacks. Have you got one to add to this list? Comment below or head over to our Facebook and Twitter page.

5 Gardening Hacks for Seed Sowing Success [video]

April 24th, 2017 | The flower garden, The vegetable garden | 0 Comments

 Gardening Hacks for Seed Sowing Success

Do you struggle with sowing seeds because you can’t see them and they germinate all bunched up together?  Or maybe they don’t germinate at all?   Well here are five gardening hacks for sowing seed success!

  • Use seed tapes to space out seeds accurately, especially smaller seeds like carrots and lettuce.
  • Mix smaller seeds with fine, dry sand and then sprinkle them for better spacing.
  • Larger seeds or those with a thicker seed coat are likely to grow faster if they are softened or punctured before planting.  Soaking is a great method widely used by sweet pea growers, so try it on your beans!
  • Seeds can often be difficult to see in the soil so you can’t see where you have already sown.  Line your furrows with toilet paper allowing you to see them better before covering over with soil.
  • Encourage seeds that take their time to germinate to grow early before you plant them out by pre-soaking seeds like peppers and tomatoes in wet kitchen paper.  Pop them in the airing cupboard and check regularly until you see signs of germination

Are you a seed sowing superstar that has tips to share with your fellow gardeners? Let us know in the comments below!