30 Genius Gardening Hacks To Impress Your Neighbors With

by Fiona | 03/07/2020

If you don’t already have a fruitful garden growing in your own yard, it’s never too late to start. It’s also not as complicated as you would think. In fact, you might already have most of the tools and materials in your very own kitchen that can help get you started. These gardening hacks will show you how easy gardening can be. Who knows? You might even uncover your own green thumb!

#1. Use Eggshells For An All Natural Pesticide


For smaller pests like slugs and snails, putting broken eggshells around your plants will keep those slimy critters from eating them up. Snails and slugs will avoid sliding over broken eggshells since it can cut them up. While this method has worked for some gardeners, others have disproved this theory in their own gardens. Still, it’s worth a shot.

Just be sure to break the eggshells down into very fine pieces. You’ll also want to clean the eggshells well enough so that there is no apparent egg smell. Otherwise, you might attract rodents instead!

#2. Use Citrus Peels For Seedlings


All you need to do is poke a hole or two at the bottom of the peel for drainage and fill it with some soil and seeds. After it’s ready to transfer to your garden, you can plant the whole thing into the ground! The peel will compost directly into the soil and nourish the plant itself as it grows.

#3. Let Your Wine Bottles Water Your Plants


Folks with green thumbs who also happen to be winos can put all those empty wine bottles to use by upcycling them into plant waterers. Why buy an aqua globe when you can DIY?

The easiest way to do this would be to poke a hole into a cork and stuff it back into a wine bottle filled with water. Insert the neck of the bottle into the soil of your favorite potted plant and it will stay appropriately hydrated for as long as there’s water in the bottle!

#4. Use A Coffee Filter To Line Your Pots


Have you ever watered your potted plants only to watch all of it drain out of the bottom right away? One way to avoid this is to use a coffee filter to line the pot before filling it with your soil and your plant.

Water might still get out this way but at the very least, the coffee filter will slow things down and allow the soil to absorb the water for longer. Not only are coffee filters absorbent, but they will also prevent soil from clogging up the drainage holes of your pot

#5. Put Diapers At The Bottom Of Your Potted Plants


If you’ve got a bunch of old diapers lying around that you never ended up using, or that your child grew out of, then don’t worry they still have some value. Diapers are the perfect moisture retainer. Stick one in the bottom of a potted plant, then layer the soil on top. The diaper will allow the planter to retain water which means there is less for it to accidentally dry up.

This is the perfect solution for plants that need a ton of watering and care. Consider the diaper trick when planting cattail, iris, or swamp sunflower.

#6. Use Beer To Get Rid Of Slimy Problems


As it turns out, slugs and snails are attracted to beer – the yeast in it, anyway. You can pour beer into a shallow tin and place it on the ground, or you can fill up a cup and bury it. The slimy critters will gravitate towards it, drink it, and sadly drown.

Just be sure to keep the rim of the beer container at least an inch above soil level to protect other bugs that eat slugs. If you don’t mind using a brew or two for your garden rather than drinking it, you might want to try this hack!

#7. Plastic Forks Will Keep Them Away


You can use plastic forks in your garden to protect your beloved plants from your dog, cat, and other furry animals that lurk in your yard. By sticking the handle of the fork into the ground with the tines sticking up, animals will be less inclined to go near your garden where plants are still trying to grow.

Admittedly it does look a bit unsightly, so try getting clear plastic forks if the aesthetics of this idea really bothers you. You should remove the forks once your plants are big enough to stand on their own.

#8. Banana Peels Make Great Compost


Banana peels are another great addition to your compost pile. The peels of these yellow fruits add calcium, magnesium, sulfur, phosphates, potassium, and sodium to the soil when it is mixed with compost, which can help your plants flourish.

Because banana peels break down quickly, these nutrients are absorbed by the compost faster than other materials. Cutting up the peels into small pieces will accelerate this process even more. Just be sure to add the peels to a compost pile, since burying them directly in the soil can actually slow down the break-down process.

#9. Make Hot Caps With Old Jugs


Nothing is worse than seeing your seedlings succumb to an early or late frost. You can prevent this from happening by creating a hot cap out of an old milk or water jug. Simply cut the bottoms of gallon-sized plastic jugs and remove their caps for ventilation. Bury the bottom of the jug in the soil around the plants you want to protect.

This will keep your plants several degrees warmer during early seasons when the temperature drops between night and day are stark. Just remember to remove them when weather is warm.

#10. Make Watering Cans Out Of Milk Jugs


Milk and water jugs can also be upcycled into DIY water jugs! Simply heat up a needle before using it to poke holes in the jug’s cap, taking care not to poke your fingers along the way. Depending on how thick of a needle you use and how many holes you poke, you can create a fine spray or a substantial flow of water.

This makeshift watering can is ideal for house plants and seedlings. In some cases, they’re even better than watering cans, which have the tendency to leak and dribble down the spout.

#11. Cinnamon Will Save Your Plants


Cinnamon is a key ingredient that everyone should have in their spice cabinet because not only does it boost flavors, but it also works as a secret weapon in the garden. Cinnamon has anti-fungal properties that help save seedlings that suffer damping off disease. It can also help ward off slime mold and mushrooms that spring up in planters.

Fighting off plant disease isn’t the only thing cinnamon is good for. It also works great as a rooting agent when applied to the stem and can deter ant infestations. On top of all that, it smells great, too!

#12. Old Muffin Tins Are The Perfect Size


Your old muffin tins could be put to great use in the garden in more ways than one. When you push the bottom of the muffin tin into soft soil, you end up with perfectly-spaced wells for seeds and other plants! Once you’ve created a proper grid, you can dig each well as deep as it needs to be.

Muffin tins are also the perfect size for starting seedlings for herbs and flowers. Just be sure to use a muffin tin that you’ll no longer need in the kitchen, for obvious sanitary reasons.

#13. Old Spoons Make Cute Garden Labels


Instead of recycling or giving away old spoons you no longer use, you could upcycle them with this fun craft project! First, you’ll need to completely flatten the head of the spoon using a hammer. Next, use craft paint in colors of your choice to decorate them and write the names of herbs and vegetables that you have in your garden.

Stick the spoon handles into the soil so that your festive labels are facing up. This way, you have a cute and unique way to identify what is growing in your garden and where.

#14. Kill Weeds With Vinegar


White vinegar is often used as a natural weed killer in place of the store-bought varieties that are often filled with harmful pesticides. When sprayed on weeds, vinegar will drain the moisture out of their leaves and eventually they will die. This works best on a dry, sunny day.

There are precautions to take with this method, however. Vinegar may be effective at killing weeds but that also means it can kill everything it touches, so keep it away from your prized plants.

#15. Paper Towels To Keep The Plants Watered For Days


If you’re going to be going on vacation for a few days and don’t have a way to keep your indoor plants watered, get out your paper towel. This technique is incredibly easy, cheap and efficient.

The key to this hack is to make sure that your paper towel is as deep in the glass as possible. The goal is to have the paper towel spread evenly over all of the soil. You’ll never have to worry about your plants dying when you’re gone for a few days ever again.

#16. Make A Garden In A Can


You can recycle your empty soda cans or you can turn them in to cute planters for herbs or other small plants! Simply use a can opener to take the tops off but use caution, since you can accidentally cut yourself with the lid.

Next, poke a few tiny holes at the bottom of the can for drainage, then fill it with soil and plant seeds and watch them grow! You can even go the extra mile and customize the cans before you fill them up.

#17. Save Soil By Layering Your Planter With Soda Cans


Having a deep planter or garden box can really elevate your plants. Unfortunately, it can also make you spend hundreds of dollars on soil just to fill the planters. If you want to avoid it, recycle some of your old soda cans and layer the bottom of your planter with them.

This hack means you can use less soil but it also provides good drainage and air flow. If you don’t want to use old soda cans, you can even just buy some cheap plastic plant pots for the dollar store to raise the bottom.

#18. Use Honey To Root Cut Plants

Evan Bench/Flickr

If you want a natural growth stimulant to propagate your plant cuttings, you can try using honey. In addition to being a natural antiseptic with anti-fungal properties, honey contains enzymes that promote root growth in plants.

If you’re propagating using a potting method, scrape the cut-ends of your plant and dip in honey before burying it in the soil. If you prefer to propagate with water, add a teaspoon of honey to the water. Dip your cuttings in more honey before adding it to the water and wait until they form roots!

#19. Deter Insects With An All Natural Spray

Bart Everson/Flickr

If annoying insects keep gnawing away at your plants, there is an all-natural way to eliminate them using items found in your kitchen! Put two heads of garlic and three cups of mint leaves in a food processor, then boil that mixture with 12 cups of water and two teaspoons of dry cayenne pepper.

After letting the concoction sit overnight, strain it into spray bottles and add a couple squirts of biodegradable dishwashing liquid. When you spray this on your plants, the scent will deter insects that like to feast on your garden. If they come into direct contact with the spray, they might die.

#20. Make A Planter With An Old Colander


If you have an old colander that you’re not willing to part ways with because of how cute it is, you can keep it in your life by using it as a planter. Take any old strainer or colander and line it with coffee filters. Next, add enough soil for whatever floral plant you want to add to it.

The filter will keep the soil from falling out of the holes but will still allow water to drain out of it. You can make it a floating planter by adding a chain or sturdy rope to the handles!

#21. Use Wine Bottles To Line Your Walkway


Another way to upcycle your old wine bottles is to use them to line your gardens. Simply stick the bottles into the ground neck-first so that the base of the bottle is sticking up. Make sure they are buried deep enough so that they don’t get knocked over easily.

This is not only a great decorative element but it will also prevent kids and pets from accidentally stepping onto growing seedlings and other unprotected plants. It might not be a great idea if your yard is frequently used for play, however.

#22. Use An Old Sink As A Cute Planter


If you ever remodel your kitchen or bathroom, you might want to consider keeping your old sinks. They can be upcycled into a cute planter that will add an interesting decorative element to your garden!

Simply cut off all the plumbing ends of the sink and maybe place it in an area where it will be out of the way. The water should be able to drain out of the bottom. After adding soil and a plant of your choosing, you will have a shabby-chic planter that will definitely be a conversation starter whenever you have guests in your garden!

#23. Use Plastic Storage Tubs To Make A Mini Greenhouse


The concept of a greenhouse is pretty basic. It’s just a container that lets light in, but won’t let heat out. You can buy at-home greenhouses for a pretty penny, or you can use an extra plastic storage bin and make your own. Just take the tiny potted seedlings that you’d normally leave on your window and transfer them to the bin. If you can, get a bin with a clear lid also to let even more light in.

If you live in an apartment without a yard or space to garden outside, then this is the perfect way to get your green thumb on.

#24. 2-Liter Soda Bottles Can Also Create A Greenhouse Effect


If you’re not interested in creating an entire greenhouse, but you have some seedlings already planted that need help, you can build individual greenhouses. Take an empty 2-liter soda bottle and cut off the bottom few inches. Then you can place the bottle on top of a seedling.

This soda bottle hack will not only act as a mini-greenhouse, but it will protect your precious little seedling from frost, wind, and strong rains that could otherwise ruin it.

#25. Coffee Grounds Help Gardens Grow

Scott Schiller/Flickr

A great source for fertilizer or mulch can be found right in your own kitchen. Used coffee grounds can do wonders for your garden if used correctly. Coffee grounds work as a green material in compost if mixed with the correct amount of brown material. This is because old coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen.

As such, coffee grounds can also help fertilize your garden if it is mixed appropriately with the top inches of soil or other dry materials. Just don’t add too much grounds at once, since they can bind together and prevent your plants from getting water.

#26. Paint Stones For DIY Garden Markers


Let’s face it, garden markers can be pretty ugly and ruin the look of your garden. Using the plastic name tags and sticks can make your garden look unauthentic. If you want to keep your garden looking earthy but know where every plant is, then find a few natural stones and paint them.

You can usually find stones that look like plant your want also. Try using long, skinny rocks to mark your carrots and short, squat rocks for pumpkins.

#27. Use Herbs To Deter Mosquitos


Can we just say that mosquitos are probably the most annoying and useless bugs on the planet? There’s an interesting gardening hack that you can use to deter any mosquitos from hanging around your yard.

It’s called a “mosquito control pot” and it consists of grouping citronella geranium, marigold ‘lemon gem’, lemon grass, catnip, ageratum ‘artist purple’ and lemon thyme all together. This concoction of plants is a mosquitos kryptonite and it will ensure that you won’t have any of those pesky skitters hanging around your garden.

#28. Broken Pot Maker


If you’ve ever dropped a pot on the ground and had it shatter in front of you, you know the absolute despair that you feel. But, worry no longer because there’s a gardening hack that will give you some amazing use for those broken potsherds.

Once it’s broken, take the desired pieces and write plant names on the front of them in permanent marker. You can also get creative with the colors or carve your name into them if you’re looking for a little bit of a rustic feel.

#29. A Little DIY Storage For Garden Tools


Even if you’re not an avid gardener, you probably have a lot of tools just hanging around. It’s tough to find something that’ll fit everything with any sort of order. You can find shipping pallets at any hardware store for free and they work really well as a DIY storage unit.

You can have your recycled pallet in working condition for less than ten dollars, you’d just need to buy the hooks to hang it up. It’s perfect for your garden hoe, rake, shovel, and everything in-between.

#30. Hydrogen Peroxide Can Help Your Plant’s Root


Most people will use hydrogen peroxide to ensure that their cuts don’t get infected, But, most people, including avid gardeners, don’t realize how effective hydrogen peroxide can be for plants. It can save your plants from root rot or fungal diseases and can help sprout new plantings in the future.

It’s important to use a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution once a day and then squirt a little bit every time you re-moisten your plants. If you mix 32 parts water to one part hydrogen peroxide, you can improve your plant root system entirely.

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