10 Garden Tips you Wish you knew before…
It’s that time of year! Your seeds are sprouting and it’s time to start working in the garden! Depending on your zone, you may already have your gardens planted (ours have been in for 3 weeks!) or you may just be getting your plots ready. No matter where you are in your gardening cycle, these awesome tips are sure to have you gardening like a Pro in no time!
When getting ready for a raised bed/ container garden, save your back and your bank by filling the bottom layer with lightweight, bulky items. This will take up space – saving you $$ on dirt/potting soil, help with drainage AND is a great way to recycle and give back to the earth! Plastic Jugs, empty soda cans, pine cones, pine straw and even cardboard boxes are all great ideas to layer in the bottom of your raised bed/ container.
When it’s time to move your seedlings outside, be sure to harden them off properly BEFORE making the big move. About two weeks out, place your seedlings in a protected area for just a couple hours to start. Each day leave them out longer, and move them into a less protected spot. Eventually allow them to stay outside overnight in your intended garden area. Once you get to this stage, they are ready to go in the ground! Read a full step-by-step tutorial here! https://growagoodlife.com/how-to-harden-off-seedlings/
Especially when planting in a raised bed or container, consider going UP with your vine plants vs. out. This allows you to conserve more bed space, while planting more – especially from our viney plants that tend to spread out and take over everything! It is also beneficial to the plants as they have more access to sunlight and its great for you because you can more easily see your plants without bending over and digging through leaves and vines. Squash, Cucumbers and Zucchinis are all great candidates for growing on a trellis!
If you are looking for an eco-friendly way to fertilize, while keeping slugs away – the answer may just be in your fridge. Yes, your fridge. Eggshells, when saved, crushed and spread around the base of your plants, will not only add needed calcium to the soil for your plants, but also deters snails and slugs from hanging around. The sharp edges of the shells are unpleasant and snails and slugs won’t crawl over them! You can also directly compost your eggshells for better soil health next year!
Increase the sweetness of your tomatoes by sprinkling baking soda around the base of the plant. The baking soda will absorb into the soil on its own, resulting in sweeter tomatos! Baking soda is also a fantastic environmentally friendly pesticide and herbicide! Plants that thrive in alkaline soil will thank you for adding baking soda! You will have brighter flowers, bigger produce and healthier plants.
Looking for an eco-friendly way to keep the weeds away for good? Consider utilizing WeedEnder in your garden! This product is available pre-cut, or as a bulk roll to allow you to plan out your plots on your own. Lay it along fence lines, between rows and so much more! WeedEnder is made of 100% recycled post-consumer plastic – so you can feel good about helping the earth and not harming it! You can also use it as a base for your landscaping to prevent weeds for 20 years!
There are a TON of natural and earth friendly methods for keeping pests out of your garden. Just a few include:
- Lemon Juice
- Lemons are especially good for keeping aphids away. Here is a step by step for how to utilize lemons to keep pests out of your garden. https://wildflowerhour.co.uk/blog/2012/06/08/how-to-control-aphids-organically/
- Coffee Grounds
- Not only are coffee grounds in your garden fantastic for increasing the acidity of your soil, they are also great for repelling snails, ants and more! Place a small ring of coffee grounds around the base of the plant in question, and it will act as a natural barrier!
- Cinnamon is another (great smelling) solution to getting rid of ants! Ants wont walk through cinnamon, so you can use it around the base of your plants, or around the border of your garden bed/ planter. You can even use it across the doorway of your home to help deter ants from entering. Cinnamon will also help kill off fungus, prevent mushrooms and can get rid of Slime Mold!
If egg shells aren’t doing the trick keeping away the more slimy pests like snails and slugs, try a good old fashioned brewski! No, we’re not kidding. A simple mixture of yeast, beer and salt is a chemical free way to get rid of them. AND it won’t harm your garden, or any other pets who may get into it! https://todayscreativelife.com/how-to-get-rid-of-slugs/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_tribes&utm_content=tribes&utm_term=1103838954_53010002_110463
While it is important to keep the BAD insects out, you want to ensure that your ‘pest prevention’ efforts don’t extend to the GOOD insects that you NEED in your garden, such as ladybugs, worms, butterflies and bees!
- Ladybugs can be very helpful in the fight against garden pests. Aphids, a common blight of every gardener, are ladybugs favorite snacks! You can attract them to your garden by integrating plants like dill, marigold, cilantro, chives, cosmos, and yarrow. Also ensure you have a water source close at hand. Here is a complete post on how to attract (and keep) ladybugs in your garden. https://gardentherapy.ca/how-and-why-to-attract-ladybugs-to-your-garden/
- Nightcrawlers, which are large earthworms, are incredible for your garden, as they aerate the soil and convert dead plant matter into nutrient-rich super soil. Adding cornmeal and manure to your soil is a great way to attract worms! If you want to skip the wait, head to your local bait shop. For about $5 you can have a whole host of these dirt eating wonders.
- Butterflies and bees are pollinators, and as such you not only WANT them in your garden, but you NEED them. Your plants can’t produce fruit without pollinators! There has been a drastic decline in the honeybee population over the last several years. Fortunately, there are a plethora of plants that will attract these pollinating wonders to your garden. Bee Balm, Black Eyed Susans, Coneflower, Cosmos, Goldenrod, Milkweed, Pansys, Peonies, snapdragons, sunflowers, zinnias, berry plants and fruit trees are just a few of the plants bees and butterflies swarm to (see what I did there?)
Not only is composting the easiest way to recycle your food scraps (you just throw it into the container and give it a stir) BUT it is AMAZING for your garden AND can be done in a standard garbage can! Adding compost to your garden beds before planting will give your seeds a huge boost due to all the nutrients found in compost. Calcium from egg shells, potassium from banana peels and so much more can all have a fantastic impact on your soil and plants! Here is a handy chart of what to (and not to) compost.