Gardening is a fun and de-stressing activity anybody, of any age, can do… until critters and pests try to eat and destroy your plants! Or the weather kills your produce. Here we share some simple tips and tricks for a more enjoyable and productive gardening experience.
In my experience, nothing is more frustrating than watching fruit and/or vegetable grow and start to ripen only to discover that something has beaten me to them. In my case, it might be cockatoos, possums or the not so humble grasshopper. Your challenge might be squirrels, slugs or mice but the result is the same… they’re happy – you’re not!
Or every thing is looking wonderful until you run into an extended dry spell and know you’re spending more on water than it would cost to by the same produce at the market!
These are some instances that make gardening difficult. But you don’t have to have a green thumb to grow plants successfully! Take a look at some of the things you can do to make life in the garden easier and more enjoyable and productive!
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Make a rain barrel system
Use rain water for growing your plants. Here in Australia, it’s very common to see all roof water stored. I have a 25,000 litre tank but I can still run out in summer! The DIY barrel system featured here uses recycled materials doesn’t require a pump — just gravity! You can learn how to build it here…
Homemade weed killer
Make your own, non-toxic weed killer. Simply mix one gallon of white vinegar, one cup of table salt and one tablespoon of liquid dishwashing detergent. Transfer some in a spray bottle and you’re good to go!
Use soap to ward off squirrels
Squirrels apparently hate the smell of bar soap. So to prevent them from destroying your plants, simply grate and sprinkle the soap around your garden or home.
Use eggshells as seed starters
There are many uses for eggshells in the garden (which you can learn here). The very first thing you can do is to use them as seed starter pots!
Use citrus peels to get rid of aphids
Having problems with aphids? Protect your garden from these plant lice by creating a slit in your orange peels and sliding them onto your plants. You can also prevent mosquitoes in the garden by rubbing the peels on your plants or on your skin. Why not use them as compost as well?
Coffee grounds also protect from slugs, snails, squirrels and rabbits
Sprinkle coffee grounds on the soil around your plants and you’ll never have to worry about slugs and snails again. Both these critters dislike the abrasiveness of the grounds. We’ve also read that rabbits and squirrels are repelled by coffee grounds although, from personal experience, hares are not! BTW, the best deterrent for hares is a good dog 🙂
Plastic bottle mini greenhouse
If snails, slugs or grasshoppers are eating your seedlings as soon as they appear, here’s your solution. Make a mini greenhouse for your precious seedlings by using plastic bottles or milk jugs. Simply cut the container horizontally and place over your seed or seedling.
Use nappies/diapers for moist soil
If you live in a dry climate, you know all about wetting agents. They work, but they’re expensive. The good news is that disposable nappies (diapers to our American friends) and incontinence pads use exactly the same chemicals to hold moisture. This is an absolute win/win since nappies make up a staggering percentage of landfill! Turn that wet nappy from trash to treasure!