With summer rapidly approaching your garden can quickly get out of hand. We present some great tips to help you spend less time working on your garden and more time enjoying it.
1) Re-use water that you cook with
Much of the water that people throw down their drains every day is rich in nutrients and perfect for your garden.
Water that vegetables have been cooked in can add nutrients back into your soil. Rice water contains starch which helps to encourage healthy bacteria for strong roots. Finally, water that eggs have been boiled in contains calcium which helps plants grow and prevents pathogens from attacking them.
2. Pee in your garden
What?! Yep… believe it or not urine is non-toxic and actually contains nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, all chemicals which can help improve soil nutrients and crop yield. Neat urine can help compost decompose quicker and be used as a weed killer. It's best to dilute it with 8-10 parts water before adding to grass or plants. Urine also has the added benefit of warding off animals like cats, foxes and rabbits. Before you go wazzing on your garden just remember your neighbours!
3. Buy a soil testing kit
Add a little science to your gardening by picking up a cheap soil testing kit for around £10. Knowing what nutrients you need to add will give you the best garden soil in no time.
4. Use candle wax for garden tools
Rubbing a candle on garden tools blades, especially if you’re pruning trees will make life easier. It reduces friction by stopping sap getting on the blades and can also help to prevent rusting.
5. Vinegar is a gardener’s best friend
Who’d have thought that stuff you put on your chips had so many uses in the garden? It's the perfect weed killer for dandelions, especially on cracks in driveways or paths. It’s great for cleaning lawn mower blades, getting rid of bird poop, removing mildew from garden furniture and giving ants the heave ho from your garden.
6. Newspaper stops weeds and grass
Put down sheets of old newspaper around plants before you put down mulch. The newspaper sheets will ensure that weeds and grass can't come up through your mulch and the newspaper will eventually break down.
7. Eggshells make a great home for seedlings
If you’re planting seedlings, placing them in eggshells is a good idea for a few reasons, they can be stored in the carton the eggs came in, a little hole in the bottom will allow drainage. Once ready to be planted the eggshell containing the seedling can be directly transferred to the soil, the eggshell will break down and enrich the soil with calcium.
8. Gardens love your leftovers
Vegetable peelings can be added to compost to add nutrients. Potatoes can be used to propagate roses providing just the right amount of liquid they need. Banana peels, eggshells and coffee grounds can all be used to add nutrients into soil, whilst coffee grounds will also prevent cats from digging and littering in your garden. Garlic and onion peel can be added to water and used as a natural pesticide to keep bugs away from plants.
9. Lure snails and slugs with Beer
Snails and slugs eat plants and generally cause a nuisance, but they love beer. Bury a plastic cup into your soil and add a small amount of beer, they will crawl in and drown.
10. Get a pet toad
If drowning in beer sounds a little extreme, a more natural and humane way to handle those slimy pests is to get a toad. Build a little hut somewhere dark and cool, add some water nearby and wait (or buy one from a garden centre). Toad’s eat an inordinate amount of all bugs.. and who wouldn’t want a pet toad.
11. Turn a shoe organiser into a herb rack
Great for the urban gardener. If you’re short of space or prefer to keep things simple, a hanging shoe rack can make a great herb garden
Hopefully these handy tips will help save time in your garden. If it’s not even in a state to do that, why not use MyBuilder to hire a landscape gardener this summer?