Tony O’Neill, gardener and author of the popular “Composting Masterclass” and “Your First Vegetable Garden,” combines lifelong passion and expert knowledge to simplify the art of gardening. His mission? Helping you cultivate a thriving garden. More on Tony O’Neill
Having a garden is a beautiful thing. You can manage your plants, decorate them as you please, and even enjoy solid harvests. While this may be the case, have you noticed that gardening can get expensive? This is why you need to think about DIY garden hacks.
10 DIY garden hacks that will blow your mind. Each little garden hack I show you will save time or money, so you’ll want to pay close attention.
Also, I will be dedicating time to each of the 10 DIY garden hacks we have individually, so you understand how each can save you time and money in the garden. Here is a brief list of what we’ll be looking at:
- Making your mulch
- Watering your garden effectively
- Use chicken bones as fertilizer
- Create mini greenhouses
- Create your watering device
- Use cardboard to your advantage
- Starting small
- Making your very own pesticide
- Using Coffee to your advantage
- Use household items as a way to mark plants
As you can see from the list above, I have some pretty good DIY garden hacks for you, but you can skip around as you, please. Each hack has a headline to ensure it is easy to find and return to.
Before I go into the details of each garden hack, think about where you could implement each of these hacks in your garden to help save you time and money.
Making your mulch
We know that mulch can come with a very hefty price tag. While some decorative mulches may look nice, sometimes having a practical garden is more than looks, right? This is why I want to show you this cool DIY garden hack that can save you a lot of money. Not only on your water bill but also in time and effort
How does one make mulch?
There are various forms of mulch. Compost, straw and leaf mold are one of the best as mulch. It mulches weeds, feeds the soil microbial life, and retains moisture, saving you time and money.
All you need is a rake, a lawnmower, and some leaves to make leaf mold. If you’re scratching your head right now, please let me explain. Leaves are very suitable for soil fortification, and if you grind them up properly, they can resemble mulch and be used as mulch.
However, they are much better turned into leaf mold for use in the garden as a mulch or compost addition. All you need to do is rake some leaves, get them into a pile, and grind them up using a lawnmower. Once you get this done, you can spread your free mulch quickly.
This DIY garden hack comes down to whether or not you care about the appearance of your mulch and may not want to use it in a decorative border. But to mulch vegetable beds, this is invaluable. If you want detailed advice on making leaf mold, check out the video below, where I take you through the process.
You are watering your garden effectively.
This is one of the simple DIY garden hacks we have for you, and while this may be the case, it’s also one of the best. This is because watering your garden at the correct times will save you quite a bit of money on water.
Aim to water during the early morning or late in the evening. This is better for the garden as there is less chance of evaporation. This means that the water is retained in the soil longer for uptake by your plants. Not only that but watering during these times will prevent water droplets from scorching your plant’s leaves as the sun gets hotter.
How to save money watering
Water your plants at the root system; use watering cans to direct the flow. Avoid using hosepipes or sprayers as these will wastewater by soaking soil areas outside the plant’s root zones.
Water deeply, You are much better to water three times a week than shallow every day. This forces the plants to send roots deeper into the soil, looking for moisture. It helps the plants to survive better during drought conditions. Not the wrong way to get the most out of your water usage, right?
Use chicken bones as fertilizer.
If you enjoyed your last chicken dinner, why not let your garden enjoy it too? This may sound strange, but chicken bones can be used as a fertilizer. Let’s take a look.
How does this work?
A bone meal is a great way to encourage plant growth. It is usually used to promote root growth, making it perfect for your plants to gain root mass. This will help the plants later when they can take up more nutrients.
It fertilizes your soil and is created by grinding the bones to dust. Note. These must be baked first to dry out the marrowbone in the bones. Simply grind the bones to powder and apply them to your planting holes. Once you do that, you must spread the bone meal evenly throughout your garden.
Who knew that chicken bones could have more than one use? Turn your scraps into free fertilizer.
Create mini greenhouses
You may have seen many gardens with beautiful greenhouses or large polytunnels like mine. But not everyone can afford a luxurious greenhouse, and that’s fine. While this may be, using a greenhouse has some great benefits you won’t miss out on. Therefore, you’ll want to hear about this DIY garden hack.
How does this work?
If you have some old plastic bottles lying around, hold off on recycling them, and repurpose them instead. This can be done by cutting the tops off these bottles, and then you can cover your plants with them. This will emulate the greenhouse effect; all it takes is a bottle.
Additionally, an upturned clear plastic tote could be used dramatically if you have multiple plants or trays full of plants. Remember to prop up the bottom to allow airflow and remove it a few times daily to prevent the humidity from getting too high. Not a nasty trick, right? We told you that these DIY garden hacks would be pretty interesting.
Create your watering device.
This is one of the more commonly known DIY garden hacks, but we want to touch on it anyway. Why spend money when you can repurpose some plastic, right? Let’s take a look.
How does this work?
You only need a plastic gallon bottle to create your watering device. These usually come in milk or gallons of water, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding one.
Once you have the bottle, just cut out some holes in the lid. Once you fill it with water, you’ll notice that you have a reliable watering tool.
Pretty creative, right? No need to run out to your department store for a watering tool anymore. These also make an ideal bottle for applying fertilizer that requires a directed feed.
Use cardboard to your advantage.
Cardboard may seem useless, but trust me; it can work wonders for your garden. It can repel weeds, grass, and even some insects. So how can we put this DIY garden hack into practice?
How should I use cardboard?
Cardboard can be used as the first layer in no-dig or no-till gardening. It is ideal for covering grass and weeds and will block out the light smothering them. Simply remove the plastic tape and lay it on the ground. Apply 4 – 6 inches of compost over it and plant directly into the compost.
Over the year, the grass and weeds will die off, and the cardboard will rot away and be eaten by worms. You will be left with a weed-free bed due to not disturbing the soil. Therefore you will not bring weed seeds to the surface.
Consider breaking down your seed sowing into smaller, more manageable containers. Use smaller trays and pots. This will allow you to place more varieties in the propagator or on the greenhouse bench.
What do we mean by this?
You can start by planting your seeds in tiny containers. You can use things like:
- Old coffee cups
- Plastic bottles
- Baking trays (which are suitable for seed separation)
- Old candles jars
- Milk bottles laid on their sides
So when push comes to shove, you don’t need to spend much money getting fancy seedling containers. You’ll find plenty of options hanging out around the house.
Making your very own pesticide
With so many pesticides on the market, why would you want to make your own? Many people are more conscious about the environment, and pouring chemicals into their gardens is not an option. These pesticides are costly to buy too. So it’s easy to create your own
What do I need?
To create your pesticide, you’ll need a few items. The good news? Most of you will probably have these items in your home already. If you don’t, these items can all be used as more than just a pesticide.
Here is what you’ll need:
- About a tablespoon or so of red pepper (the powder)
- About six squirts of baby soap (Castile Soap)
- 1 gallon of water
- A spray bottle
Once you have these items mixed, feel free to go ahead and spray your vegetables. This mix will keep any unwanted guests away from your garden.
This is one of my favorite DIY garden hacks because it will save you time and money. Plus, this is the best part: it will keep your garden. I am, of course, aware that some of you may instead buy a pesticide but still wish to be organic, Don’t worry; I’ve got you covered there too. Check out the video below, where I show you how to protect your plants with excellent organic products.
Using Coffee to your advantage
Coffee can be used for so many things. It can make you feel refreshed in the morning and make your skin feel great. While this is all good, did you know it can fortify your soil? It can be added to compost, used as mulch, or even fed to a wormery.
How does Coffee help a garden?
Coffee will help a garden in a few ways. First, it will help keep insects and fungi off your garden. Some pests do not like the smell or acidity of the coffee grounds. The second excellent quality of coffee grinds is that they can help your garden thrive by improving the soil structure and helping to feed the microbial life.
Use household items as a way to mark plants.
This is one of my DIY garden hacks that’s a bit more simple. Knowing which plants you’re working with can be complex, so household items can be a great way to mark your garden. Some people have creatively marked their plants with slate, wooden pegs, cut-up plastic bottles, etc.
What can I use?
This is entirely up to you so that you can get quite creative. You can create your style, but we recommend using the same materials so everything looks nice.
Here is a brief list of some items that work excellent as garden markers:
- Broken plant pots
- Wooden planks
- Anything else you can write on that will survive the elements
Hopefully, this DIY hack will save you time and money when marking your garden. Using these products creatively, you can make your garden stand out from the crowd without making it look tacky.
We know I went over many interesting DIY garden hacks today, but I want to ensure you know all of the best tips and tricks. Plus, gardening can be costly, especially for new gardeners who want it all yesterday.
So I hope these tricks can save you a little money. Now that you know some gardening hacks, I would love to know which 10 DIY ones you will use.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post about gardening hacks. I trust it answers your question fully. If this interests you, why not consider checking out some of my other blog posts and subscribing so you don’t miss future content?
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And remember, folks, You Reap What You Sow!