Here are 10 garden tips and ideas sure to give you the best garden ever! Check out our tips for easy composting, cheap and natural weed killer, organizing your garden shed, free seed starting containers and much more!
10 Garden Tips For The Best Garden EVER
Did you know that I went to school for horticulture and that gardening is my passion! It’s kind of funny that I’m running a website on saving money when my true love is gardening. Of course, gardening does not have to be expensive, and for me, it definitely isn’t! I spend less than $50 a year on my gardens and my gardens are pretty big. Here are some of my top tips to save money in the garden and have the BEST garden EVER!
The tips are below, but here’s a video we made where I actually show you the tips in action:
- Use diapers in the garden– Yes, seriously! The water absorbing granules in diapers work great at helping keep your container plants moist, so they don’t dry out too quickly. That way, you can water less and your plants get more even moisture. The granules are safe and, in fact, they are the same stuff that you can buy in garden stores to help keep your plants watered.
- Compost in place. I just throw most of my compostables into the garden and compost in place. If it’s a large item, like half a watermelon, I will bury it a bit but with most scraps, I just pull back the mulch lay the compostables on the ground and put the mulch back on top of it, so that it rots right there in place.
- Use vinegar to kill weeds. Just spray vinegar on your weeds and they will die. If you just put it on the leaves there isn’t enough acid in the vinegar to impact the ph of your soil. I buy the large bottles of white vinegar, which are much less expensive than weed killer and very effective for most weeds.
- Use milk bottles, water bottles or other containers as drip irrigation. Just poke a small hole or two in the base with an ice pick. Set next to your plant and put some rocks in the bottom to weight it down so it won’t blow away. Then, when you water, just fill up the jug and you have an instant drip system for your plants! Then your water will soak in slowly instead of running off.
- Use broken mini-blind slats to make labels for the garden. Cut them down to the right size (3-4 inches works well) and use a permanent marker to label them. I can get 175 plant markers out of a small mini-blind and up to 500 markers out of a large mini-blind. You can also cut up a yogurt container or other container into 1-2 inch pieces to use for garden markers.
- Use a shoe organizer to store your small tools. They’re great for storing all kinds of small garden tools and supplies. Many shoe organizers don’t work so well for organizing shoes, so they’re cheap and plentiful at garage sales!
- Use cardboard and newspaper for mulch. Just put the newspaper and cardboard under your mulch. This way, you don’t need as much mulch and it completely smothers the weeds so you don’t have weeds coming up.
- Use buckets or planters to water new trees. Drill a few holes in the bottom of a bucket or planter. Fill with some rocks so it doesn’t blow away. You can also use the rocks to partially obstruct any large holes that might let the water out too quickly. Then just fill the bucket with water and it will slowly water your plants.
- Set a small plastic or clay pot over plants to protect them from frost. Just put one pot on top of each plant. Remove in the morning so they don’t get too hot.
- Use toilet paper cores for planters. Just snip four small cuts along the bottom edge and fold inward to close one end. Then plant the tiny cardboard “pot” with soil and your seed. When the plants come up, just put the entire thing in the garden. The cardboard will decompose as the plant grows.
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I enjoying gardening and I use a lot of these tips. Number 5, using blind slats to use as a marker is one I never had heard of and plan to use. Thanks.
You are welcome Pat. Another thing I love to use those slats for is when I am painting they work really good to press between the baseboard and carpet to keep from getting paint on the carpet. I never or very rarely tape anything when I paint so this really works good.
Jill. thank you for the extra use of these blind slats. I would have never thought of using them for painting. I really like your tips.
You are welcome Pat. Sounds like you may be busy. : )
Excellent video. However, I wonder how he keeps the grass and weeds controlled in the paths between the raised beds?
The same way. With the vinegar. Tawra does use weed killer in some spots that are extra hard to deal with. I also pull a lot of weeds by hand myself. So you can do any of those things.
Hi Jill: could you put the question out there, what do people use to keep squirrels away? they continuously dig up our flower bulbs, cayenne pepper seems to work for a while but they keep coming back. since we’re in a city environment, they are very aggressive, and since they eat so many trash scraps they are really over sized little guys! after all the work put into the flower beds, the animals lose their cuteness factor, lol!
I know what you mean Donna. I have problem with them chewing my cable and electric lines. So if any one has an answer for Donna please pop in.
Squirrels dislike Irish Spring soap or anything that smells like peppermint the they have dug up my flowers for years those and they ate through the wood on my patio . I now have no squirrels Destroying my plans Burying their peanuts that are put out by my neighbor Spray peppermint is available at Amazon
Thank you,Tawra!Though I’ve used toilet roll middles for years to start peas and sweetcorn, it never occurred to me to snip and bend them into proper little pots. Duh!
I love it that I am not the only who has those Duhhhhh moments Magdalen. Makes me feel so much better. : )
Ring pull lids, as on some cans of veg or fish, make good labels too. They can be written on with permanent pen and fastened to canes. They’re easy to see and last as long as needed .I use them for my spuds. Plastic yoghurt (etc)pots can be cut up to make labels for seedlings in pots.
I have had success with keeping squirrels out of my gardens with moth balls. Also, they don’t eat daffodils bulbs so I scatter them in with my other bulbs.
Saving on plants. I know Tawra gets great deals on “leftover” plants. Here’s how to get a great deal for next spring. I just went to Lowe’s & bought some leftover Easter pots. Each pot had 15 plants total for $3! They were on sale because the daffodils had finished blooming; however, the tulips & the hyacinths were just opening. I planted the daffodils with my own and added the tulips & hyacinths to other beds. $.20 a plant!
Great tip. I love going after Easter to get inexpensive bouquets often but didn’t think aobut the daffodils and things. Thanks
Cathy @ tips4livingbetter.com
I am a keen gardener and I love reading articles about gardening tips like this one.
I really like tip number 1 of using dippers I had never heard about that, however I will definitely try that one out.
Keith Taylor (from South Africa)
I’ve just stumbled on your blog and like your gardening tips. Here are some more: Use plastic drinks bottles for watering. Fill with water, turn upside down with a hand over the top to stop the water pouring out and press the top into the soil. This allows the water to seep into the soil without running off. As the upended bottle has no hole at the top, the water permeates more slowly. It has the advantage that no water evaporates, there are no small holes to get clogged with dust and dead insects, the bottles are very durable and they’re normally just thrown away, so you’ll be doing your bit toward recycling. Just tie them to a stake to keep them upright and secure. Do not use the opaque plastic bottles, as they deteriorate with exposure to the sun. The transparent types do the trick.
You can also use the upended bottles as fowl drinking fountains: support them upside down over a shallow dish with the neck below the rim of the dish. The water will run out of the bottle until its level reaches the mouth of the bottle whereupon it will stop, only to add more water when the water level drops below the mouth of the bottle. If you make stakes with two wire hoops, one small hoop to hold the bottles at the right level in the dish and a larger one to hold the bottles upright, all you need then do to replenish the water is remove the empty bottles, replace with
full ones with lids screwed on and once in place, unscrew and remove the lids.
If you make trenches (ditches) along your garden beds and fill them up with mulch, they will collect water when it rains and the mulch will stop evaporation, so it can soak into the soil. The mulch will break down and help to feed your plants, so just keep adding more.
Leafy plants can never get enough nitrogen. Buy a bag of dry, whole beans at the grocery store and plant them amidst your leafy plants. If you don’t stint,they will not only supply this need, but will also give you a plentiful supply of fresh green beans.
Interplant your flowers with veggies and herbs. The scent of the flowers will confuse the veggie pests and you will save on grocery bills. Horse mint
(Mentha longifolia) attracts hoverflies, which eat aphids. I have found that if I plant dandelions amidst my veggies (I most plant food plants), they attract the aphids and keep them away from everything else. I never spray against insects,but ensure that my gardens are alive with spiders, mantises, toads and lizards, which keep down pest populations and add variety to my garden.
I like weeds. They are a ready, on-site supply of mulch and uprooting them when they get to about knee high helps to aerate the soil. I then just drop them amidst my plants with the roots exposed, so that they return the soil the nutrients they used to grow.
Khaki bush (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tagetes_minuta) eat nematodes and ward off most insect pests. South Americans use it for a variety of culinary purposes and the tea has (to my palate, anyway) a slight anise flavour.
Weeds also help to shield young, tender plants from frost, scorching sun and wind damage.
I use a modified version of Permaculture (https://permaculturenews.org/what-is-permaculture) principles for my garden. It works, is sustainable and cheap: I spent less than R50 ($5!) onmy garden this season and harvested a huge supply of beans, pumpkins, butternuts, tomatoes, hot peppers (Cayenne), aubergines, spinach, sweet corn, watermelons, potatoes, sweet potatoes and more fruit than we could eat. I used seed that I kept from previous years’ crops (been growing my own for nigh on two decades now) and all I had to replace were some garden tools.
I hope my contribution is of value.
THANKS, FOR ALL THE WONDERFUL IDEAS AND INFORMATION.YOU ARE CERTAINLY A VERY CARING PERSON. I AM SURE THAT YOU HAVE HELPED MANY PEOPLE WITH ALL THIS INFO. AGAIN, THANK YOU, DONNA
I use popsicle sticks as garden labels.
Great ideas!! I’m going to try some this week now our rain has stopped and finally over 70 here in Idaho! I do have a question how do you get cats to stop pooping under fur trees? I have tried a few things but it always comes back. My dummy dog eats it!!? It’s gross I know. Please help me .?
You could try different things. Sprinkle the base of the tree with things the cat does like to smell like orange or lemon peels (anything citrus),coffee grounds, lemon grass. You could spread something like chicken wire around the base or scatter things that are mildly “pokey” like pine cones, crushed up eggs shells. If you live where you have extra large rocks and are able too place those around the base of it. Don’t use cayenne pepper because it might keep the cat away but they could get it on their paws and in their eyes and hurt them.
Oh I remember those beautiful perfect temperature days in ID. Loved it there so much.