Gardening is a fulfilling hobby. It’s beneficial for both physical and mental health. And, it’s a productive activity to do outside in the fresh air, whether out in the backyard or on a balcony. There is also a sense of pride that comes with a well-tended outdoor space.
Gardening is enjoyable, but advice on how to make the work easier is always welcome. Switching to a cordless lawn mower is one way to make yard work less of a hassle. Here are more gardening tips that can save you some time and improve results.
Mini Greenhouses Protect Plants
Not every backyard has the space to build a greenhouse. Balconies and/or small patios are often the only personal outside areas for condominiums and townhouses. No need to worry though; individual mini-greenhouses can be made out of empty 2-liter plastic soda bottles. Start by removing the label. Then, cut the bottle in half. Use the top half as the greenhouse cover for a starter plant. Mini-Greenhouses are a simple way to protect seedlings from low temperatures and frost before they are ready for transplanting.
Start Seedlings With Citrus Peels
Peels from citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons or grapefruits are the perfect starter pot for seedlings. Once the seedling is ready to transplant, place it, with the peel, directly into the ground. Citrus peels have an effect on the growing environment, so this should only be done with plants that like to grow in acidic soil.
Coffee Filters Prevent Soil Loss
Most planters sufficiently hold in potting soil. However, small amounts of soil can escape when plants are watered. In time, more soil may need to be added to the planter. Lining the bottom of the planter with a paper coffee filter allows the excess water to drain out, but helps keep the soil in. Not only is this an easy way to conserve potting soil, it also helps you avoid the mess from soil falling out.
Edge Garden Beds
A garden with a crisp, clean edge looks neat and tidy. Making an edge with a flat spade and a straight length of wood prevents weeds and grass from creeping into the garden beds. Just lay the wooden board where the edge should be. Once it is in place, hold it in place with your foot. Then, use the board as a guide on where to cut the edge. Cut the edge using the flat spade. Make sure to pull out any stray blades of grass or weeds.
Use Cooking Water
Instead of dumping cooking water down the drain, use it to water plants. Cooking water has nutrients that are beneficial for feeding plants. Just let the water fully cool down after boiling pasta or steaming vegetables before pouring it into your plants. Cooking water from hard-boiling eggs is also great option because it is full of calcium. Of course, this is not enough to sufficiently water or fertilize your plants. However, it is an eco-friendly thing to do since it saves water from being wasted.
Guide Climbing Plants
Climbing plants grow well on a trellis or lattice. These plants climb on their own, but it is best to control their direction and/or where they climb. Use zip ties to fasten plants to the trellis or lattice to help guide to the desired result. Just try not to secure the zip ties too tightly; plants need plenty of room to grow.
Get Your Dig On
Taking on gardening projects can enhance your life. There is something satisfying about nurturing plants and watching them grow. It is not unusual to develop special attachments to certain plants. And if you need to relocate, there are ways to safely move plants to your new home. Overall, gardening provides a good reason to get your hands in some dirt, create some greenery and some happiness.
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Rae Steinbach, Guest Contributor
A graduate of Tufts University, Rae Steinbach has a combined degree in International Relations and Chinese. After spending some time living and working abroad in China, Rae returned to NYC. Rae is passionate about travel, food and writing. She can be reached on Twitter @araesininthesun.
All gardening images via NorthStar Moving. Headshot via Rae Steinbach.