Having your own garden can be beneficial in so many ways, for you, your family, your community and the planet. You don’t need an incredibly large yard, either. You can start a garden with pots on your apartment balcony, or even an indoor one that’s actually inside of your apartment if you pick the right plants. And once you’ve got one going, you don’t need to spend a crazy amount of money, time or effort to keep it in good shape.
Check out these great hacks that will keep your blissful home garden in great shape using nothing but things you probably already have laying around the house.
Home Made Cloches
Use scissors or a knife to remove the bottom of your old milk jugs or bottles and use them in the garden to protect vulnerable seedlings from harsh weather and frost. Leave the top as is but remove the cap to give the plant plenty of air.
Cloches are only meant to protect seedlings during cold nights, so they shouldn’t be used in the warmer months when temperatures remain high overnight. Milk jugs are multi-purpose tools to have around your home garden. And if cloches aren’t really your thing, maybe the milk jug watering can is more your speed!
Just Some Paint and Some Rocks
Literally, just like the heading says – all you need to pull this next garden hack off is some large rocks and some acrylic paint and brushes. Get a game plan in the works and imagine a theme, or the way that you want your garden decorations to look. Then, paint the large rocks and let them dry for a night or two before placing them strategically around the yard.
You can get as creative as you want here and go as simple or as complicated as you like. For instance, you can simply use colors and designs, or you can go for your favorite film characters for something more entertaining. The possibilities are endless! Pro tip: with Halloween coming up, why not try going for autumn colors to match the natural colors of your yard this fall?
A Sprinkle of Epsom Salt
Epsom salt is something else that is super handy to have laying around the house at any given moment. This stuff has some insane healing properties that work wonders when you add a few cups to a bath and soak your sore muscles. In “float tanks”, or sensory deprivation chambers, they use a large percentage of Epsom salt with a little bit of water to make you feel like you’re weightless. Pretty cool, right? Well, it can also work that same healing magic on the plants in your garden.
Each time you plant something (anything,) whether it be a seedling or plant, adding a teaspoon of this miracle substance can help them stay healthy and strong as they grow. But don’t just throw the salt on top of your seedling and call it a day. First, dig your hole, then add the teaspoon of Epsom salt, cover it with another layer of dirt and then add your plant.
Adorable DIY Hanging Storage
This hack requires a bit more muscle than some of the others on this list, and you’ll need some tools, too, including a shipping pallet, a hammer and some nails. Grab the shipping pallet and figure out where you want to hang it. Then, using a sharpie, mark the spaces on the wall where you’re going to hang your nails. Use your hammer to insert the nails and hang the pallet on the wall. Voilà, a rustic DIY storage unit!
The more rustic the colors, the better, but if for some reason you aren’t happy with the way your pallet looks you can always paint it before hanging it up. Just be sure to let it dry completely as to avoid getting any unwanted paint on your wall. Now, hang all of your tools on your new storage unit for easy access!
A Plastic Fork A Day Keeps the Critters Away
Okay, so maybe it takes a bunch of plastic forks, and there’s no guarantee that they’ll actually keep critters out of your garden, but some people still insist it works for smaller pests. The thing about inserting a bunch of plastic forks upside down in the ground in your front lawn is this: it looks tacky AF. But hey, if you’re determined to try anything to keep the pests from crawling around in your plants, you can give it a shot!
If you think about it, the forks actually do make some sense. After all, they serve the same purpose as chicken wire – to deter and block pests from certain areas. They won’t keep everything away, but they’ll make it less likely for snails and some animals from treading on your garden. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t have a drawer full of extra forks from takeout restaurants just rearing to go for this project?
All-Natural Mosquito Repellent
No one wants mosquitoes hanging around their garden. No one says, “Hey, let’s set up these plants so we attract as many of those little bloodsuckers as possible!” Quite the opposite, in fact. But so many mosquito repellants rely on chemicals to deter the itchy little bastards. Luckily, there’s a way to keep them away from your garden without spending too much money or risking your health.
If you haven’t noticed when you’re buying candles or sprays that are anti-mosquito, one of the main ingredients is usually citronella – which is one of the reasons why this hack works so brilliantly! This particular grouping of plants is enough to keep the bugs away on their own – no spray needed. All you need to do is plant some citronella geranium with marigold, lemongrass, thyme, and catnip. Bonus: your cats will love you for planting catnip – seriously.
The Cinnamon Garden Challenge
Everyone should have cinnamon laying around the house. After all, you can do so much with it; make cinnamon sugar toast, sprinkle it on your coffee, put it in your oatmeal – heck, you can even cook chicken with cinnamon. But it isn’t just yummy, it’s also good for you, and – it’s good for your garden, too. Cinnamon’s anti-fungal properties protect your plants from several types of plant diseases, along with pests, such as ants and wild mushrooms.
Is it too late for your plants? Are they already wounded? Fear not, because not only is cinnamon good at protecting them, it’s also good at healing them! If your poor plants have been injured, sprinkle some of this magic red dust on them and watch the healing commence!
Make a Hammock for Your Melons
Yes, you did read that right. Considering how heavy watermelons grow to become, this tip keeps them from breaking off of their vines before they’re ready to consume. To implement this gardening hack, all you’ll need is a couple of old sheets, towels or t-shirts.
Slip the material under the melons and tie the ends to the sturdiest part of the vines, or the nearest tree or post. Bonus points if you use material that matches and makes your garden look even more beautiful! But hey, this trick is more about making sure that your melons grow to their full, juicy potential and less about how it looks getting them there.
DIY Organic Insect Repellant
Do you have pests eating up your herbs and veggies, but you don’t want to use harmful insecticides? Why not try making your own bug spray with ingredients you’ve probably got lying around your kitchen? All you need for this hack is a spray bottle, a couple of heads of garlic, some mint leaves, dish soap and a few teaspoons of cayenne pepper. Don’t worry – this spray is for your garden, not your skin.
Toss your garlic and mint leaves into a food processor or chop them as finely as possible if you don’t have access to one. Meanwhile, boil ten cups of water and add your cayenne pepper. Combine everything into one pot and boil for 2-3 minutes. Once your concoction cools completely, strain and pour into spray bottles along with a few squirts of liquid dish soap. Use the mixture to spray on areas where pests are most prevalent.
Banana Peels = Compost
Banana peels are something else that gets tossed in the trash after being removed from the part most people deem useful. But these babies are handy to have around to use as a natural fertilizer for your garden. Banana peels are loaded with vitamins and nutrients, like calcium and potassium, which help plants grow strong and healthy.
But it isn’t just about using the banana peel that makes this hack work – it’s how you use it. Do it wrong and you’ll get the opposite effect. You want to be sure to cut your peels into small pieces and toss them on to your compost pile. Avoid burying the pieces into the soil since they need air to do their job correctly and if you smother them, it won’t work.
Coffee Grounds: A Natural Fertilizer
You probably just toss your used coffee grounds in the trash like most people do, right? Well, instead of wasting them, why not recycle them and use them in your garden for a natural compost? Coffee grounds are loaded with nutrients and can help fertilize your plants if you mix a bit in with your soil.
Adding used coffee grounds to your regular soil can do wonders for your garden. It can help good microorganisms to thrive while attracting plant-healthy earthworms and deterring insects that will ruin the plants, such as snails. Adding coffee grounds also helps with aeration and water retention.
White Vinegar Weed Killer
If you’re looking for an organic way to handle those invasive weeds in your garden, try this hack, which uses vinegar and salt to do away with those pesky plant killers. Before you get started, keep in mind that white vinegar is very acidic and should only be sprayed on weeds, as it can kill your good plants, too.
Mix one gallon of white vinegar with a cup of salt and put in a squirt bottle – the more control you have over the spray, the better. Apply to all of the weeds in your garden, avoiding your herbs and veggies. Don’t plant anything new where you’ve sprayed for at least two weeks afterwards.
Upside Down Wine Bottle Décor
Calling all winos! More good news for those of you who have plenty of old wine bottles laying around the house. Gather all of those babies up, rinse them all out and flip them upside down in a row to decoratively line your garden walkway. Use a shovel to bury the necks of the bottles to keep them sturdy and pat some extra soil and/or gravel around them to give them a bit more support.
Note: this hack is best left for those who don’t have young children that run the risk of breaking the bottles while playing and getting hurt by the broken glass. The same goes for anyone who may have a large dark that could jump on and break the bottles. They do, however, work well to keep smaller pests away seedlings and other vulnerable plants.
Orange Peel Seed Starters
Speaking of awesome biodegradable things to plant your seedlings in – citrus peels are another great choice. Slice your oranges, lemons or limes in half, scoop all of the sticky juiciness out completely (to eat, of course,) and rinse them out. Then, grab a nearby kitchen knife and poke a couple of small holes in the bottom of each half.
Once you’ve got your peels ready, set them on (or in) something to catch the water, such as a napkin or paper towel, and fill each with dirt. Then, you’re ready to give your seedlings a new home! One of the best parts about this is that when those babies are ready to go, you can plant the whole thing and the fruit will act as a natural fertilizer, thanks to all of the nutrients in the peels. Talk about a simple, Earth-friendly gardening hack!
Broken Eggshells Keep Critters Away
Instead of tossing out your broken eggshell the next time you eat hardboiled eggs or omelets, why not rinse them off and throw them in the garden, instead? Doing this can help to deter small pests from crawling near enough to eat your plants. Eggshells are completely organic and biodegradable, so you don’t have to worry about harming the environment, like most pesticides do, or cleaning them up in the future.
Use an open container to store all of your eggshells after you eat them, so you can crush tons at once and have a more effective amount. Just make sure you rinse them completely and allow them to fully dry to avoid any unpleasant smells. Eggshells can also make terrific seed starters, when used in halves, rather than small pieces.
Check Soil’s pH Levels Using Stuff from Your Kitchen
The pH levels in your soil can affect the way in which your plants grow. It can make all the difference in the world between healthy and unhealthy plants, which is why it’s important to ensure the pH levels in your soil remain stable. If soil is either too acidic or alkaline, soil doesn’t get the right amount of nutrients and plants won’t become properly fertilized.
Luckily, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to check the pH in your garden’s soil. In fact, all you need is some vinegar and baking soda. Simply pour some of the tangy liquid on the ground and watch for bubbles; if you see them, the soil is alkaline. Alternatively, if you mix baking soda into the soil and it starts bubbling, it’s more acidic.
Pour Some on the Ground for the Snail Homies
Looking for a natural and effective way to keep pests out of the garden? Next time your plants are plagued by slugs, poor some of your brewskie into a cup and stick it down in your soil near the affected plants. Snails are attracted to the yeast in the bubbly liquid, and they’ll crawl into the cup and drown before they eat your tomatoes.
Place the cup firmly in the soil but be sure to leave a good inch so as to not kill good organisms along with the slimy pests. You don’t want the good insects that eat the peskier pests to accidentally drown. And hey, at least the snails will die happy, right?
Paper Towels to Hydrate Plants
Here’s another trick for all of you city dwellers, or those of you living alone that may need to run out of town for a few days and you don’t have anyone near to help take care of your plants. All you need to pull this hack off is a glass and some paper towels.
Simply fill up as many glasses as necessary with water and twist up some paper towels, sticking one end in the glass of water and the other directly in the soil of your plants. Make sure they’re close enough that the paper towels won’t fall out or miss delivering the water directly to your plants. Fill up the glasses enough that that they will last for a while (at least ¾ of the way).
Fork It! Try this Hack if Fido Keeps Peeing in your Prized Garden
Is your four-legged furry friend a little too interested in the rose bushes? Maybe they’re trying to eat the veggies you’ve been working so hard to grow? Whatever the case, sticking upside-down plastic forks around the area can deter your pets from coming near.
Of course, if your garden is visible to your neighbors than you may want to reconsider trying this little trick. The forks may be helpful, but maybe less aesthetic. But hey, you just have to ask yourself how important it is to keep those animals away from your prized plants. Don’t worry, there’s a much easier way to the situation.
Hydrogen Peroxide for Root Rot
Everyone should have at least one bottle of hydrogen peroxide laying around the house, if not an entire case of it. This stuff has so many wonderful uses for around the home, it’s crazy. It can be used for everything from cleaning out wounds, to lifting stains from fabric, to boosting dish soap in dishwashing cycles. But it can also be used directly outside of the home, too – to prevent and cure root rot in your plants!
To prevent root rot in your garden, mix a solution of one-part hydrogen peroxide to 5 parts water (about 3-5% hydrogen peroxide only) and shake up in a water bottle. Then, insert a spray nozzle and spray the solution directly on to the roots of your plants once per day. Another good thing about this solution is it’s not harmful to other plants, so if you accidentally spray it on anything else in your garden, all is well.
Use Plastic Bottles to Keep Plants Hydrated
This tip is not only great for ensuring that your plants get enough water, but it’s also a terrific way to recycle and reuse old plastic bottles. Save up your old water or soda bottles and poke holes all over the entire area, aside from the neck. Holes should be about two inches apart.
After you’ve planted your bottles, each time you water your garden and/or fill them manually with the pot, the water in the bottles will empty slowly, keeping your plants consistently hydrated for a longer period of time. This is a great hack for someone who doesn’t get the chance to water their garden as much as they’d like.
The Water in the Pot
Next time you boil vegetables, or eggs, don’t just get rid of the water right away when you’re done. Instead, let the water cool and let your plants drink it. The nutrients leftover in the water will give your plants an extra boost, and they’ll love you for it.
This hack helps you to cut back on waste while delivering essential vitamins to your garden. It’s best to keep up the fertilization process in your garden for the first 45 days after you’ve planted veggies and herbs since it’s when they need the nutrients most. Of course, you can keep it up if you wish, since it isn’t like the vegetable water can hurt them.
Well, when we said this can be achieved with any plastic container, we weren’t exaggerating. The same effect can be reached using any old 2-liter bottle that has been properly rinsed out. This one works a bit differently but still works to create a barrier that protects your seedlings from harsh winds and weather. Cut the bottom quarter off of your 2-liters and push them down into the soil so that the neck of the bottle is facing up towards the sky.
Depending on the size of your seedlings, you can also use a 1-liter and other smaller bottles. Or, you can start off with smaller bottles and switch to 2-liters as the seedlings mature, much like you alternate your child’s shoes every few months when they’re growing up. Yes, I just compared your kid to a seedling.
A Mini Plastic Greenhouse
When you hear the term “greenhouse,” you probably imagine one of the large, clear buildings where multiple rows of plants are grown at once. But the truth is, a greenhouse can be any structure used to trap heat and keep plants safe as they grow, hence these DIY greenhouses that you can make using large, empty Tupperware containers. Just line the bins with whatever you’re using for seedlings (Styrofoam cups, citrus peels, etc.,) and place them in an area where they’ll get enough light.
This same effect can be achieved using any plastic container. You can use smaller bins, like those that rotisserie chicken and fruit come home from the store in, to fill with dirt and seedlings as well. Those containers are often perfect for seedlings due to the slits in them that allow them to properly aerate
Coffee Filters Help Absorb Excess Water
Anyone who’s dealt with potted plants before is all too familiar with what happens when you over water one of them – you wind up with a big puddle of the stuff in (and often around) the bottom of the pot. But fear not! Because your friend, the coffee filter, is here to help!
Simply place a regular-sized coffee filter at the very bottom of your pot prior to filling it with soil and planting your plant. Doing this should reduce the amount of excess water you have on your table by a long shot. Of course, it won’t act as a barrier, so do try to control your pour as much as possible, just to be on the safe side.
What to do with Broken Pots
If you’ve been dabbling in gardening for any length of time now, you’re probably all too familiar with the heartache that comes along with dropping one of your potted plants and watching it shatter all over the pavement, right along with your heart and all of the feels. Luckily, this hack gives us hope and lets you use reinvent the broken pieces and use them to make something pretty awesome.
Take the broken chunks of your pot and use either marker (Sharpie) or acrylic paints to write the names of your veggies and herbs on them. Then, stick them up out of the soil as labels for an authentic, cool feel. Just be careful not to put any edges straight up that are too sharp, you don’t want to accidentally cut yourself (or have anyone else do it!)
Creative Use for an Old Sink
If you’ve recently redone a bathroom, kitchen, or any other room and have an extra sink laying around, try this hack as a creative way to upcycle it, rather than tossing it at the dump. Plain ceramic looks nice in any garden, but you can also paint the piece any color that you want to use for your planter. First, make sure that all of the active plumbing Now, put your sink up against a fence or tree for the most aesthetically pleasing view.
If you set it somewhere in the open, it’s likely to look out of place, especially from the back. Fill your sink with soil and the plants of your choice. Pro tip: use a cascading, flowering plant like Scaevola, ‘Summer Wave Bouquet’ Torenia, Mandevilla or Passionflower, if you really want your sink planter to pop. Be sure that water is able to properly drain out of the bottom of the sink and that it’s firmly planted either in the ground or mounted on wood or something that allows for drainage. This may be the only case in which having an old sink in the yard actually looks nice.
Diapers for Water Retention
For smaller potted plants, coffee filters make great liners that absorb excess water from overpouring. But what about for your larger plants? Diapers can be used to line the bottom of large potted plants, to help absorb excess water in fairly large amounts, if need be. This tip can also work using menstrual pads if you’ve got enough of them.
This may not be the most cost-effective solution, considering how expensive diapers can be, but it works well if you happen to have some laying around the house from a child that’s outgrown them. Just open the diapers and line the bottom of the pot before filling it with soil and you won’t have to worry about overwatering your potted plants anymore.
Keeping your gardening tools nice and sharp is crucial to maintaining your garden. But the process of keeping them in shape can be both time consuming and draining – unless you use this awesome hack to cut down on time and energy! To get started, you’ll want to get yourself a big old terra-cotta pot.
After you’ve picked out the perfect pot, the next step is mixing together the right amount of sand and mineral oil. This concoction helps keep your tools nice and sharp with very little effort on your part (well, after you put it together, anyways!) Keep the pot in the garage or shed, or somewhere where it isn’t going to get rained on.
Recycled Wine Bottles
Great news for all of you weekly (okay, daily) wine drinkers out there! There’s a way to reuse those bottles and improve the lives of the plants in your garden. This kind of goes along the same lines as the water bottle waterer and ensures that your plants get a constant and controlled flow of H2o. This hack is great for someone who goes out of town on the weekends and doesn’t have anyone close to coming take care of their plants for them!
To bring this hack to life, all you need is your old wine bottle and their corks. Use a sharp object to poke a small hole on the cork, fill the bottle with water, stuff the cork back inside, flip the bottle upside down and place it deep down in the soil. Voilà! Your very own wine bottle watering station.
This DIY Stand for Plants
If you’ve got an extra ladder laying around that you don’t plan to use for anything else, why not use it to create this shelf for your plants? All you’ll need is the ladder, some baking sheets and gravel. Set the metal sheets down on your ladder, fill them with gravel and arrange potted plants until you’re happy with the way it looks. Just make sure that the metal is sturdy on the ladder before adding the plants, so you don’t end up with dirt all over your floor.
This hack can be used both indoors and outdoors, and if you don’t happen to have an extra ladder but you’re into the look, you can always scope out garage sales and thrift stores or build a similar structure yourself. This DIY plant stand is an excellent space saver and has an adorable aesthetic that is sure to compliment any room or garden.
Use the Funnies to Kill Weeds
Here’s an easy and effective way to kill those pesky weeds. If you don’t already have some old newspapers, start saving up a stack instead of recycling them this week. After about a week or two of saving up the paper, depending on how large of an area you need to cover, you’re ready to begin. Simply open the sections and lay the newspaper on top of areas where weeds are growing to snuff them out and prevent any new ones from popping up.
Of course, you didn’t think you were just going to leave your yard covered in newspapers, right? Your neighbors wouldn’t be very happy, and it wouldn’t last very long as soon as the wind picked up. Once you’ve got all of your paper laid down, cover it with mulch. Repeat this hack in every area of the garden where weeds have a tendency to grow. This trick works by suffocating the weeds, both after they’ve already started to grow and before they get a chance to.
Root Plants from Cuttings with Honey
Honey is so naturally amazing. The ancient Egyptians knew of its healing properties long ago and it is still widely revered today for its anti-fungal and antiseptic properties, among many other reasons. Honey can be used to stimulate growth in plants and keep your cuttings strong and healthy.
To make this hack work, you’ll need honey and a stove and pot to boil some water. Some people also like to use willow water, rather than regular water. Boil the water, mix in your honey, let it cool and then store the mixture in an airtight container in a cool, dark place (or use it as soon as it cools down.) To use the mixture, simply dip cuttings in before planting them in soil.
Use Muffin Tins for Measuring
If you’re getting ready to plant multiple seedlings but you’re unsure of how much space they need, this is a great way to measure it out! Use some old muffin tins to make imprints in the dirt, because the holes it will produce are a perfect size for seedlings to be able to grow. Of course, you will still need to dig them deeper, but the circumference will be gravy!
If you still use your muffin tins often and/or they can’t go through the dishwasher, you may want to hold off on attempting this hack until you’ve got a tin to spare. Unless of course, the thought of eating dirt doesn’t bother you, in which case – go for it!
Cute Spoon Labels
As opposed to the old plastic forks, old kitchen spoons can actually look lovely sticking up out of your garden – if used in an artsy way like this one, anyways. To complete this project, you’ll need some old, metal spoons, a hammer and acrylic paints.
First, use the hammer to flatten out the head of your spoon. Then, paint the heads different base colors, using complementary tones, if possible. You don’t need to worry about painting the stems since they will be hidden by the soil. Finally, write the names of your herbs on the spoons and add some finishing touches, like polka dots or stripes. Wait until the spoons are completely dry before sticking them in the garden – about 24-48 hours.
Empty Cans for the Win
You won’t ever have to toss out your empty cans again or recycle them week after week. Instead, save them to upcycle, using them as an integral part of your garden’s development. After you’re done drinking each can, completely rinse them out and put them upside down on a paper towel until dry.
This hack can help to cut down on the amount of soil you need to use, which can be especially helpful for anyone that’s trying to keep a gorgeous garden on a tight budget. Lay the empty cans in the bottom of your planter to take up space, alternating with some plastic pots and/or fruit boxes if you have them. Then, cover the cans with a piece of landscape fabric and cover with soil.
Milk Jug Watering Can
Watering cans are important to have in any garden, to keep plants hydrated when it’s not possible to reach them with a hose and when you’re in an area that doesn’t get a consistent amount of rain. Or of course, if your garden is indoors. But maybe you don’t want to drop the cash on a can to put water in, or maybe you just like DIY projects and recycling. Whatever the case, these milk jug watering cans will make an excellent addition to your “garsenal.”
To make these bad boys, simply use a sharp object to poke several small holes in the cap of your milk jug. Then, fill the jug with water, screw the cap back on and you’ve got yourself a recyclable watering can.
The Magic Can Garden
You’ve seen how to reuse plastic and glass bottles in your garden, but now, take a look at what you can do with your old cans! That’s right, next time you polish off a 12-pack of Dr. Pepper, rinse the cans out and try this adorable hack for your indoor mini-garden. Using a can opener, carefully remove the lid in its entirety.
Use a small, sharp object to poke a few holes in the bottom of the can. Then, fill the can with soil and seedlings and watch the magic happen.
Try a Colander Planter
If you’re looking for a creative and inexpensive way to hang some plants around your home, try this easy colander potted plant craft. First, grab that old, extra colander you have. You know, the other one that you have that you never use. If it already looks appealing, skip to the next step, but if you prefer, you can paint your colander and let it dry overnight before moving on.
Now, line the colander with as many coffee filters as it takes to cover all of the little holes, with the exception of the top row or two. String some rope through a couple of the holes on top, so that you’ll be able to hang it. Be sure to use something sturdy, since it’s going to be heavy once it’s full of dirt. Fill your colander with dirt and your plant and hang it somewhere where it will get enough light.