Summer is almost here, and the hard work of gardening starts now. However, the precious few days of summer shouldn’t be entirely devoted to flowerbeds and lawns. There should also be time for games, barbecues and generally chilling out. With these 10 simple garden hacks, the back-breaking work of getting your garden into shape can be made a great deal easier… and cheaper.
1. Wine bottle plant waterers
Instead of watering your plants several times a week during dry spells, fill an empty wine bottle with water, and push the neck into a terracotta stake. Drive the stake into the soil by each plant, and the water will very gradually permeate the terracotta and make its way to the roots.
2. Milk bottle watering jug
Don’t go to the expense of buying several watering cans from the local hardware store when you probably have the necessary tools in your kitchen right now. Wash out an old empty milk carton, and screw on the lid. Poke a series of holes in the lid with a sewing needle, and you have your very own homemade watering jug — complete with a handle.
3. Egg shell snail repellent
Slugs and snails love nothing more than munching on the leaves of plants during the summer. To keep these slimy critters away from your beloved roses, sprinkle bits of egg shell around them. Slugs and snails won’t want to risk being impaled with egg shell, so they’ll move to other food sources.
4. Homemade weed killer
Weeds can grow almost anywhere in a garden or yard. If you’re constantly struggling with weeds on your patio, pathways and around the brickwork of your home, regularly pour white vinegar around the affected areas — as it is an effective weed killer that won’t harm young children or pets.
5. Hydrogen peroxide for plants
Getting a new plant started in a garden isn’t always easy. Getting a seed to sprout is hard enough, but protecting it from disease once it has is doubly difficult. To get things started when you’re planting seeds, water them with a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. This will also help to fight root rot and other fungal diseases.
6. Give cuttings a fighting chance with honey
If you like to take cuttings from other plants to spread around your garden, you can boost their chances of success by rubbing on a little honey. Natural honey contains certain enzymes that promote root growth.
7. Use nappies for retaining water
During dry spells, you might find that you’re having to water potted plants every day. However, by lining the bottom of the pot with a disposable nappy before you add soil, you can give the pot’s water-retaining potential a boost.
8. Cooking water for fertiliser
Don’t spend your hard-earned cash on expensive store-bought plant fertilisers. Every time you cook vegetables, don’t drain the water away. Let it cool, and then use it to water your most precious plants. The nutrients in the water are perfect for getting the most out of your flowerbeds.
9. Protect plants against disease with cinnamon
Nurturing your seedlings can take time and money. A wide range of diseases can take hold before your plants are barely showing. However, by sprinkling the surrounding area with cinnamon powder, you can prevent a range of fungal diseases from attacking your young plants.
10. Coffee pesticide
Using pesticides in a family garden can be dangerous, particularly if there are young children and pets around. However, you can ward off snails, slugs, ants and ladybirds by using old coffee grounds as compost.
Maintaining a great garden during the summer doesn’t have to cost the earth — or take up too much of your leisure time. These 10 simple hacks should make your garden-based duties a great deal cheaper and easier.