Like many things related to the home, gardening is a personal endeavor. Like painting or building, gardening is a great way to add character to a property – and reap some produce in the process. And most people like to garden their own way. Those members of older generations often have built up a repertoire of tips and tricks gleaned from a lifetime spent planting and pruning in their backyards — and there are plenty of pros out there quick to offer expert advice as well.
The real joy comes in happening upon those little tricks and trade secrets that facilitate the whole process of gardening. And the below guide is intended to shed some light on these little-known gardening factoids.
Keep fingers clean
While many view dirt under the fingernails as a badge of honor indicating hard work in the garden, others aren’t interested in work it takes to wash away said dirt. Those who aren’t interested in wearing gloves while they garden can protect their nails from dirt accumulation by sliding their dry fingernails across the surface of a bar of soap. Tis will prevent dirt from seeping underneath the nails, and all that’s needed to remove it at the end of the day is some water and a nailbrush.
Turn tools into multi-taskers
Properly spacing plants is an important part of gardening. But there’s no need to go back and forth from placing the plants to measuring the space with a tape measure. That’s because a single long-handled gardening tool can double as a tape measure. Simply lay the tool on the ground and place the tape measure along side it. Use a pen to mark the inch and foot marks on the handle of a tool.
Curb salt deposits
The bane of many gardeners’ existence is the salt deposits that accumulate on clay pots over time. The good news there is a quick and easy home remedy to remove this gunk that involves mixing equal parts white vinegar, rubbing alcohol and water in a spray bottle. Then simply spray the pot and wipe it down with a plastic brush.
Note: gardeners can also use empty clay pots as a reliable twine holder. Simply place a ball of gardening twine in the pot, pull the end of the twine through the drainage hole, turn the pot upside down and place it near the garden. Voila – a handy twine dispenser.
Utilize tea and coffee in the garden
That’s right, tea leaves and ground coffee. Sprinkling these leftover substances over garden soil acidifies the earth and helps to maintain the pH balance. Experts recommend sprinkling grounds or leaves ¼ of an inch one time a month to maintain this balance.
Note: pouring a bit of chamomile tea at the base of seedlings once a week will help stave off fungus.
These are just a few tips that should make anyone’s time in the garden all the easier and more efficient. And for those who grow often boil vegetables when cooking, here’s one last tip: use the leftover water to feed outdoor potted plants. They love the taste.