Spring is on the way, and gardeners can hardly wait to get their hands dirty. As a gardener, you may have already prepared spaces in your garden for new plants or flower beds. Trees have already been shaped and pruned to allow sunshine through the canopy, and last season’s mulch has done its job of smothering weeds and preserving moisture in the soil. Perennials are starting to peep out of the soil, and bulbs are already blooming. During the planning sessions for your spring garden, keep in mind these great garden hacks. You’ll save time, save money, and the payoff is healthier, happier plants.
Coffee as Fertilizer
When I started teaching, I was awed by the potted plants in veteran teachers’ classrooms. When I finally got the courage to ask about their green thumbs, every one of them said the secret to their healthy plants was coffee. It acts as fertilizer, stimulating plants just as it stimulates the freshly awakened brain over the morning paper.
When your coffee gets cold, pour the remains onto your plants. Save the grounds, too. In fact, some coffee shops such as Starbuck actually package their used grounds and sell them. Work these grounds into the soil in your garden and they will give your seedlings a jump-start. Regular watering with left over coffee, and mulching with grounds, will make your plants stronger and more vigorous.
Did you know you can buy bugs? Ladybugs eat all kinds of pesky – um – pests. Aphids, especially, do terrible damage to plants every year. Everything from ornamental shrubs to vegetables can be decimated in just a couple of days by aphids. But, ladybugs LOVE aphids. They consider these white, mealy little pests to be the best meal in the whole world. You can buy a container of ladybugs for less than you would spend on chemicals at the nursery, and they will be better for the environment.
Earthworms are some of the best gardeners on the planet it’s almost like having your own personal lawn services. They burrow through soil, naturally aerating it, and their castings make a terrific fertilizer. In fact, you can buy worm castings from worm farms to fertilize your garden. You can buy earthworms, too, but usually, if you compost your garden, the worms will come on their own.
Some gardeners will even tell you to dig holes in the garden soil, about 10 centimeters apart and 20 centimeters deep, and bury your kitchen scraps. People who don’t want to have a compost bin can still reuse their scraps and enrich the soil enough to bring in earthworms. It helps, too, to keep the soil moist. Deep water at first, and then just moisten the top of the soil, and the worms will have enough moisture to live and multiply.
Planting and maintaining a healthy garden is a labor of love. Watching something that you have planted grow into a beautiful plant is rewarding and satisfying. With a few garden hacks, you can save money and time, and have a healthier garden, too.