18 Tricks For Getting The Garden You Always Wanted

Jun 08, 2018 by apost team

As the first warm air begins to circulate, we begin to think about spring activities. This usually includes planning a spring garden of vegetables and flowers. It can give you a real sense of accomplishment to plant and harvest vegetables that you grew on your own. There is also a marked difference in freshness and taste with home-grown varieties. 


But trying to decide what will actually work best can be an ongoing process of trying and failing every year with all the natural elements that you have to take into consideration. Trying to figure out which group of vegetables works year after year and then adding in a few new ones is a process that grows year after year to finally get the overall results in a garden you can count on. So, finding some shortcuts to help with what can be a long and drawn-out yearly experiment resulting in a lot of trial and error is always helpful and eliminates much of the guesswork when planning a spring garden. 

Dealing with Garden Insects and Other Pests 

Small rodents, birds, and swarms of insects can all wreak havoc on a home garden. A few of these hacks should help alleviate most of the pesky interlopers: 

1. Coffee Grounds 

Instead of throwing out your empty coffee can, save it AND the coffee grounds. Mixing coffee grounds with a common fertilizer you can buy at your local landscaping store will give your garden just the right amount of nitrogen to feed your plants. 

2. Eggshells 

Those little pests called slugs that blend right in with your garden soil and make it impossible to remove find it extremely difficult to burrow among crushed eggshells. This will keep them from rooting around your young plants. 

3. Varmints and Birds 

It seems like an impossible task to constantly shoo away at a multitude and variety of birds swarming around your flowers and vegetables. Even worse are squirrels who are enticed to pick at new seedlings and vegetable leaves. Buying a box of plastic forks and pitching them in the ground with the tines facing upward will keep most birds and varmints away. 

4. Herbs 

Many common herbs are natural deterrents for many insects. You can choose from a variety such as the following: 

• Basil – repels mosquitoes and asparagus beetles 
• Chamomile – repels all flying insects 
• Garlic -- repels beetles, carrot flies, and rabbits 
• Catnip – repels ants, squash bugs, and cockroaches 
• Thyme – repels earworms, cabbage loopers, and maggots 

Homemade Fertilizers 

Trying to avoid chemical pesticides to do the trick is easier than you think since there are many natural fertilizers just lying around your home that you don’t even realize you can use. 

1. Kitchen Cooking Water 

Once you finish cooking pasta or steaming vegetables, save the water. There are an abundance of nutrients that are swirling around in it that can be poured on your plants once the water has cooled. 

2. Coffee Grounds (Again!) 

The tried and true coffee grounds not only keep insects away, but they feed nitrogen and amino acid into the soil that helps the plants to grow stronger and more quickly. 

3. Compost 

There is nothing more eco-friendly and natural than taking household waste and turning it into something useful and making your own compost bin. Start by gathering your brown (for carbon) and green biodegradables (for nitrogen) and layering them in the bin. Add water regularly and wait until it all turns to a rich, brown soil. Then, go ahead and add a layer to your garden before you plant your seeds as well as during the growing season. 

Is Your Backyard Small? 

Many people can’t do all the things they want to do with their garden because of a lack of outdoor footage, but you can get creative and make gardens that will accommodate your space. 

1. Pallets 

Pallets are the new DIY go-to when it comes to thinking out of the box, so to speak, for outdoor projects, and gardens are no exception. They are portable and can be stacked, sealed on the bottom, and filled with dirt to accommodate garden plants and still drain appropriately. 

2. Plywood and Old Ladders 

You can use a variety of sizes of wooden ladders for this project, which consists of opening a ladder as if you are going to use it, but instead, you will lay plywood across the rungs to make several layers of shelves that each hold several potted plants. 

What About Weeds? 

These are that reoccurring garden nightmare that never seems to go away no matter what you do. For many, resorting to pesticide use is not the answer. But, there are other natural ways to rid your garden of weeds. 

1. Vinegar 

You must be diligent with this remedy and pour the vinegar on your garden weeds as they are popping up for this to work completely. If you do this, your weeds should not return. 

2. Old Newspaper and Landscaping Mulch 

We all know how quickly newspaper can begin to degrade, even within hours, so mixing it with mulch and putting it down over a particularly troublesome area after you have thoroughly weeded will alleviate the oxygen from the soil there which will kill the weeds before they even begin to grow again. 

What If My Plants Develop A Disease? 

Before you call an expensive plant doctor, try some of these natural home remedies to cure what ails your garden plants: 

1. Cinnamon 

Cinnamon is chock full of anti-fungal components, so it will work hard at killing any bacteria on your plants once you sprinkle it around the affected area. It also works best with plants in the seedling stage. 

2. Hydrogen Peroxide 

This component not only helps with human wounds, but it can help to cure root rot and certain kinds of plant fungus. It must be diluted with water before it is used once a day until you see results. 

What If My Plants Look Dry And In Need Of Water? 

Sometimes it is difficult to tell if your plants are getting the right amount of water if the topsoil appears moist. There are also those times when you need to leave your garden for a time and want to make sure it is properly watered. There are several DIY systems you can create on your own that will do this for you: 

1. Wine Bottles 

Do not go buy an expensive globe container to feed water to your plants when you can just enjoy drinking a bottle of wine and then using the empty container to do the job. Fill the empty wine bottle and then invert it into the garden soil next to the plants or in a potted plant. As the plant drains moisture, oxygen will fill the space and naturally drain the water from the bottle to nourish the plant. 

2. Plastic Bottles 

Before you throw your two-liter size bottles in the recycle bin, collect at least a half a dozen of them to water your garden. Create approximately several dozen holes in them with a small drill bit. Then, dig as many large holes next to your plants as you need to accommodate the bottles, making sure the neck of the bottle is protruding from the hole. Fill each bottle with water and refill as the water drains out into the soil over time. 

3. No Fancy Watering Cans 

There is no need to spend money on some expensive tin watering can when you have recyclable milk jugs that you can rinse out and use to water your garden. Drill a few holes in the jug’s container so that it looks like a giant salt shaker. Fill in water, put the lid back on, and you have a homemade watering can. 

How Can I Start My Garden? 

If you choose to plant your seeds directly into the ground instead of beginning them indoors, there are a few hacks you can try to help them grow more easily: 

1. Citrus Peels 

Remove all the pulp and meat of the fruit from oranges, limes, lemons, or even grapefruits and take the empty shells and fill them with soil. Then, plant your seeds in the natural pot. Once they have sprouted to a healthy size, simply plant the entire “pot” and seedling in the ground. 

2. Egg Shells and Containers 

This works in the much the same way as the citrus peels except you need to do a bit more constructing of the actual “pots” out of the singular egg holders in the carton. After you have separated these, you can prop them up in a separate fully intact empty egg container as they grow. The actual seeds can be inserted into half a used eggshell that has been filled with soil. Once these have sprouted, they can be inserted, egg carton pot and all, right into the ground. 

Even though there are a variety of hacks to choose from to experiment with in your garden space, there are just as many that you might have an opinion about that have worked for you and want to comment on. So, let us know what has been successful for you in your vegetable or flower garden.