Garden Hacks: 14 Shortcuts to Gardening Success

Grow Pro Gardening Hacks

From insect repellents to natural composting, to decor options, we talked to the Gardenuity Grow Pro team and they shared their 14 favorite garden hacks and shortcuts to help you achieve gardening success always focused on helping you achieve the #IGrewThat feeling.

You don’t have to spend hours in the garden to get a perfect harvest. There are all kinds of little tricks you can use that will make container growing much easier and help ensure you achieve the garden you are going for.

1. An (almost) free watering can alternative

Ok, so you have to buy the milk. But the next time you buy milk, upcycle the leftover jug! Heat a needle using a lighter and simply poke holes through the lid. You can control the kind of spray you want by using a different sized needle: a smaller needle creates lighter spray and vice versa.

For a more thorough tutorial, go here.

2. A successful citrus seed starter

If you want to take on the task of starting your garden from seeds, this garden hack will make it a bit easier. Hollow out a piece of citrus (like lemon or orange), poke a hole in the bottom of the peel, fill it with your garden soil, and sow your seed. Once the seed is ready, you can plant it directly in your garden or container. The peel will nourish the plant as it decomposes. Starting from seed takes a little more patience so if you are looking for a little instant gratification, start with fully rooted starter plants.

3. A mini greenhouse for seedlings

Speaking of milk jugs and seedlings, you can create a tiny warm greenhouse for each of your small seeds. Cut the bottoms out of milk jugs and place over your planted seedlings. This will protect your baby plants from pests and more, plus optimize their growing conditions for a while. If you are starting your garden with starter plants and need a few days between when they arrive to the time you are planting, you can follow the same idea above for seedlings and use it to keep your small starter plants content until they are planted in the garden.

4. A way to drown the slugs

Set out a dish of beer in your vegetable garden. The beer will attack slugs and snails alike and they’ll drown in the brew.

PRO TIP: Be sure to replace the beer regularly or even use a disposable dish — the dead snails tend to smell.

5. A pest-deterring minefield

Is the beer route too pricy? Here’s a cheaper option to deter snails. Crumble up eggshells (not too finely) and sprinkle them atop the soil. The soft-bodied snails won’t dare to cross the boundary to your plant. In any case, your plant might get an extra touch of fertilizer.

6. A fence for the bigger predators

If you’re having problems with larger animals, like squirrels or cats, simply plant forks in your soil. Stake the handle into the soil, tines facing up. Whether you’re planting in a spacious plot or a container, with no place to stand, you’ll ward off larger predators.

7. A natural tomato sweetener

Tomatoes are fairly sweet when grown naturally, but to up the sweetness levels, simply add a touch of baking soda to their growing process. About once a week, you can sprinkle baking soda over the soil around the plant — be sure to not put baking soda on the plant itself!

8. A strategy for increasing nutrient absorption

This is one of our favorite garden hacks! One surprisingly useful substance in gardening is Epsom salts. Epsom salt is hydrated magnesium sulfate. Many fertilizers use magnesium to help plants absorb their nutrients. If you’re especially interested in organic gardening, Epsom salts are a fabulous natural solution to do this exact thing. Simply add to the potting soil and watch your plant perk up.

Before working with Epsom salts note that agricultural grade Epsom salts are intended for gardens, only brands marked “USP” are ok for humans. We recommend wearing gloves with working with Epsom salts since the magnesium-sulfate is absorbed through the skin as well.

Epsom salts will not build up in the garden soil and will help yield a stronger plants and tastier harvests.

Pro Tip: If you are growing in a grow bag (we love the Gardenuity system) mix two tablespoons of Epsom salts with one gallon of water and spray on the leaves, rather than on the roots for maximum absorption.

9. A gardening tool for greener foliage

When plants don’t get enough magnesium, their leaves tend to yellow (magnesium is an essential component for producing chlorophyll.) Try and sprinkle Epsom salt around the plant — about 1 tablespoon per 12 inches of height about once a month. This is a garden hack that will benefit anything you’re growing — from veggies, to trees, to flowers.

Ingredients for Garden Hacks

10. A super-fast super-easy way to compost

Ever eat out? Then this We do! Use your fastfood paper bags (whether they’re from Whole Foods or McDonald’s — we’re not judging) to hold your kitchen scraps and use them for on the spot composting.

Veggie gardens are enhanced by composting — you’ll just have a better harvest in the end. While you’re wandering around the yard, throw your weeds and other yard waste in the paper bag. Then, do the same with kitchen waste. When the bag is full, simply bury it in your garden and it will feed your plants! No compost pile required.

11. An enticement for hummingbirds

There’s nothing more exciting than seeing hummingbirds flit around the garden — especially if that garden is a porch one. However, keeping feeders full can be quite a costly endeavor.

Instead, make your own nectar! It’s quite simple and ultimately very cheap. Get the recipe here.

12. A hydrating tool for your weekend vacations

This is one of our favorite garden hacks! Nothing’s harder than finding a reliable plant babysitter for your weekend vacations. This clever gardening idea will keep your garden happy and hydrated while you’re away.

Fill an empty wine bottle with water, quickly flip it upside down and push the open end of the bottle into the dirt. This trick might save you a few days of watering, depending on how hot it is. It’s one of our favorites for our summer seasonal plants and your seedlings.

13. A DIY garden insecticide

We almost always opt for the natural route, but when it comes to pesticides for our vegetable garden, we’re particularly strict. Since we’re going to be consuming the harvest, it’s very important that our pesticides are natural, safe, and effective.

Try making an oil spray insecticide, which can be very detrimental for insects like aphids, mites, etc. To create, mix 1 cup of vegetable oil with 1 Tbsp of mild soap.

When ready to apply, add 2 teaspoons of the mix with 1 quart of water, shake thoroughly, and spray. The oil will suffocate the insects but not harm you or the plants.

14. A plant space-maker

The last of our garden hacks! If you’re a crazy plant lady like us, your home and/or patio is full of plants. And why not embrace that? We already know that houseplants are good for you, so lets make space for more of them.

Open a small to medium-sized natural wood ladder in the happy spot in your home that’s a little out of the way. You can place your houseplants on the rungs of the ladder and you’ve got a little oasis in your home!

What are the garden hacks you can’t live without?

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