60 Life-changing gardening hacks PART 2
jeanniejeanniejeannie.co.uk BLOG Friday 28th May 2021
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
60 Life-changing gardening tricks & hacks
Part 2 31-60
- Make a herb garden from shoe storage
Fill your outdoor space with a heavenly aroma by installing a hanging herb wall, like Drinking with Chickens has done here. Repurpose an old shoe organiser, attach it to a fence and fill each of the pockets with a different fragrant herb. You can pop potted plants in the holes or even plant seedlings directly into soil-filled pockets. Just make sure you add drainage holes.
- Create self-watering bottle planters
Give yourself a break from constant watering by planting an upside-down filled drinks bottle in pots and flowerbeds. Wedge the bottle near the plant at least a few inches deep and water will gently seep out over a long period of time keeping the surrounding soil damp and moist. This handy hack is perfect if you’re away from home for a long stretch too.
- Reduce lawn labour
A well-aerated lawn is important for grass vitality as it prevents weeds, moss and waterlogging. We love these cheat lawn spike shoes as they replace the back-breaking maintenance work with an easy stroll around the garden.
- Deter animals
As much as we love nature, four-legged pests can do a lot of damage to gardens that is extremely frustrating when you’ve worked so hard for results. A pest repeller is a humane way of keeping unwanted visitors out. It emits a high-frequency sound that most humans can’t hear, but animals find disturbing. Some also shoot out a bright flash of light as an extra discouragement. A solar-powered version is economic and won’t have messy wires.
- Secure climbers with zip ties
Climbing plants can quickly become unruly. Keep your trailing foliage under control with canes or a trellis and instead of buying costly plant ties fix your greenery in place with common household zip ties.
- Make the fence two-tone
If time and money are in short supply, take advantage of the two-tone trend by painting only the lower section of your garden fence. Not only will it protect the area that needs it the most but it’ll create a stylish backdrop for your flowers. Complete the contemporary look with bright colourful garden furniture.
- Invite natural visitors
While some garden insects might be considered a nuisance, most are extremely beneficial. Make a bug hotel to attract the right kind of insects to pollinate flowers and keep pests away. These rectangular designs are neat and discreet, painted the same shade as the fence panels behind.
- Make a pallet hanger
Pallet DIY project ideas are all over Pinterest and Instagram and are a great way to make outdoor spaces more practical. Whether it’s transformed into a suspended planting rack or a hanging tool organiser, reclaimed wood pallets make inexpensive and creative additions to gardens.
- Manipulate growing fruit
Here’s a fun idea that will make you look like a horticultural genius. Why not shape your fruit and veg as they grow with plastic moulds? From hearts to stars, there’s plenty of creative shapes to choose from. It’s an ideal way to entice little ones into eating their five a day!
- Keep garden tools clean and sharp
Get crafty and make gardening a whole lot easier with this ingenious DIY hack. Create your own self-cleaning and self-sharpening garden tool holder by filling a terracotta pot with sand and mineral oil. The abrasiveness of the sand helps to keep tools sharp, while the oil protects them against rust and dirt. It’s a simple but really effective way of keeping your tools in great shape.
- Grow up fast
A vertical earth tower is an attractive space saver in small gardens and makes gardening practical for people with bending restrictions. Watered from above, an internal reservoir provides an even supply of water and nutrients to flow downwards. Seeds or starter plants can be sowed directly into the pyramid of shelves and are almost impossible to overwater. This is an affordable and easy-to-maintain planter that gives fast results that even beginners will be proud of.
- Serve compost tea
Did you know plants love a nice cup of tea just as much as we do? Once blended and brewed it is said to be packed with nutrients that feed hungry roots while boosting soil quality. How in-depth you want to make your tea is up to you. Some simply soak shredded leaves from the plant you want to feed in boiling water and pour back on (once cooled and strained). Or, like this idea on Dengarden, you can brew up a more luxurious and concentrated blend; you’ll need a five-gallon bucket, an aquarium air pump and good quality compost.
- Keep a compost drum in the garden
The art of composting is striking the right balance between wet and dry materials. Keep a compost drum in your garden to biodegrade food waste, grass cuttings and any paper recycling you might have. Eventually, you’ll end up with a powerful free compost that your soil will love.
- Keep a compost caddy in the kitchen
Kitchen food waste makes a nutritious natural fertiliser for your garden. Keep a caddy in your kitchen or utility room to store food scraps that you can add to your garden composter in bulk. Although you can use any organic material, vegetable peelings and tea leaves are much less odorous than meat and fish.
- Use plant markers
Whether you are planting bulbs or creating a delicious herb garden, it can be hard to differentiate your flowers and plants once they’re in the soil. Stay organised by sticking plant markers into the soil by each plant species. Whether you choose reusable shop-bought ones or make your own with biodegradable lolly sticks, they’ll be a godsend when it comes to reading up on plant care.
- Keep an organised shed
Make chores a whole lot easier by taking some simple measures before you start. For example, spray your shovel with a lubricant before you begin digging – this will help stop soil sticking to the surface. Always be sure to remove sap from your secateurs as it can cause them to stick. Use a penknife to lift away and then rub with steel wool and lubricating oil. Don’t forget a pair of gardening gloves and sturdy covered shoes to prevent injuries too.
- Use mulch
Mulch is amazing stuff. It smells good, fertilises plants, prevents weeds and is a great alternative to bare soil and even grass as you don’t need to water or mow it. Plus, it’s pretty cheap too.
- Opt for smart irrigation
If you’re pressed for time or away from home regularly it can be hard to commit to watering your garden. Fortunately, there are gadgets out there that do it for you. The Gardena Smart Irrigation Control Set can water six separate zones in your garden, all handily controlled with an app and a sensor to determine how much water your garden needs.
- Use a robot to mow your lawn
Make like the Jetsons and get a robot to do all the boring stuff in your home. A robotic lawnmower won’t just save you time but also guarantees even mowing results. And they’re a lot quieter than traditional mowers too, so you’ll get brownie points with your neighbours.
- Plants by post
You don’t have to spend your weekends in garden centres to have an attractive backyard either. Shopping online not gives you time to research exactly what you want but it often works out significantly cheaper too, plus you can buy everything from seeds to fully-grown plants. Check out the offers pages of online retailers like Thompson & Morgan and Gardening Direct.
- Use coffee grounds wisely
Don’t throw away your coffee grounds once you’re done with your morning brew. Used coffee grounds are a great slug and snail repellent and they make a good slow-release fertiliser too. Best of all, they’re totally free – use your leftovers or see if a local coffee shop will donate theirs.
- Opt for low-maintenance plants
If you’re not keen on spending time maintaining different types of plants with varying needs, stick to one or two low-maintenance varieties to make life simple. Evergreen shrubs can be a great option as they don’t need too much attention and can be left to their own devices. Take a look at your garden and do a bit of research, taking into account how sunny or shady it is before deciding which shrubs are right for your space.
- Mow your leaves
Raking leaves up each autumn can seem like a thankless task – it feels like the minute you’re done, more leaves appear. Save your back and your time by mowing leaves instead. Not only is it easier and quicker, but it will also chop the leaves into small fragments which act as a natural mulch and fertiliser when they decompose.
- Grow in raised beds
Whether you’re determined to grow your own vegetables or simply want the challenge of keeping a collection of bright flowers alive, gardening in a raised bed can be really helpful for the beginner gardener. Raised beds look neat and organised and you’ll be able to control everything from the soil to the location. It’s easier to keep out weeds and pests too – plus it’s kinder on your back!
- Use newspaper to kill weeds
This brilliant hack uses damp newspaper to smother weeds by starving them of light. It takes a little time to spread the paper around your plants but it means an end to the back-breaking work of pulling these horticultural pests out of the ground and it’s pesticide-free. The best part is that the newspaper will decompose into mulch, which also feeds the soil.
- Use white vinegar to kill weeds
Forget expensive weed killers and use white vinegar to kill weeds creeping through cracks in paths and patios. Fill a spray bottle and liberally apply to the offending plant, repeating the next day. The weeds should turn brown and die within a few days. Do be careful though, the vinegar may harm your other plants so apply with caution.
- Grow carrots in bins
One of the easiest ways to grow your own vegetables is to sow carrot seeds directly into a clean bin that’s been filled with compost. Make three-inch planting holes around three inches apart and place three carrot seeds in each and cover with soil. Water well throughout the summer and your carrots should be ready within two and a half months.
- Use the square foot method
Divide a raised planter into square sections when growing your own vegetables and herbs. It requires less weeding and allows you to focus your efforts in one place. Stagger your planting so that the task doesn’t become overwhelming and you can have fresh food growing all summer with the minimum of effort.
- Buy a garden kneeler
Whether you’re an amateur gardener or a pro, any keen gardener will tell you a kneeler is a must-have item. Whether it’s a simple foam cushion or a deluxe padded bench on wheels, with all that stooping and kneeling, your joints will thank you in the long run.
- Plant seedlings in eggshells
Recycle your kitchen scraps and use them to grow new seedlings in. Empty eggshells are ideal to use as they can be transferred into flowerbeds when the seedlings are ready, where they’ll naturally
TOP TEN OF THE DAY
TOP TEN JOKES
- “Ice cream is a dish best served cold.” Colin MacKenzie.
- “My dad used to say, ‘Ah but can you have Wensleydale on a Tuesliday?’ Every time.” Charlotte.
- “Art critic at the bar: ‘Draw me a pint.’” David G.
- “The Navy captain was upset his old carrier was sold for scrap. They grounded the warship he walked on.” A friend of Paul Park’s.
- “Bought a cheap new jumper that kept picking up static electricity. So I took it back and exchanged it for another one free of charge.” Chris Heaton-Harris.
- “I repeatedly asked the life model why she didn’t want me to sketch her, but she refused to be drawn.” Andy Hutchcraft.
- “Have you been affected by malapropisms at work? You may be entitled to condensation.” Moose Allain.
- “Yesterday I was asked if I could name a famous Syrian. I said McKellen.” Alan Machnik.
- “Sad to see the inventor of the scenic route died. But what a lovely way to go.” David Smith.
- “Human foot for sale. Ideal stocking filler.” Nick Doody.
SPECIAL DAYS CELEBRATED ON 28th May 2021
Don’t Fry Day
Heat Awareness Day
Title Track Day
Road Trip Day
DON’T FORGET TO LAUGH EVERYDAY
INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE FOR THE DAY
The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can. – Neil Gaiman
Happiness is…getting rid of extra baggage.
GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY
Have you not suffered enough with the Top 10 above? Well OK then!
Love is… …someone with sax appeal.
A time to tell a joke…A time to tell another joke and another and another (until I get on your nerves.)
1967: Sir Francis Chichester sails home. Sir Francis Chichester arrives in Plymouth tonight in his yacht, Gipsy Moth IV, after completing his voyage around the world.
1959 Monkeys Able & Baker zoom 300 miles (500 km) into space on Jupiter missile, become 1st animals retrieved from a space mission.
1937 The German automaker Volkswagen was founded to mass-produce a low-priced “people’s car”; the company was originally operated by a Nazi organization.
1951 The First GOON SHOW BBC HOME SERVICE RADIO
CLICK ON PHOTOGRAPH OF THE GOONS TO SEE POST ABOUT THEM
BOOK OF THE WEEK
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©2021 Phil M Robinson