Warming weather seems to bring out the gardening instinct in a wide swath of the population. Whether you’re greening up a big lawn or adding color to a deck or patio, experienced gardeners offer a few simple hacks to make the effort quicker and easier.
- Save Soil With Soda Cans – For deep planters, fill the bottom with a few old soda cans. They will save on potting soil, improve drainage and create natural air pockets for better aeration and healthy plants
- Create Cardboard Seed Tubes – Starting plants from seeds? Save your toilet paper tubes, cut them into two-inch lengths and stand them upright in a shallow plastic container. Fill the tubes with potting soil and plant your seeds. When the seedlings are ready to move to the garden, plant them right in their cardboard tubes (which will decompose beneath the soil) and watch your seedling plants mature.
- Use a Coffee Cup to Water Plants – A clean, empty to-go coffee cup with a lid makes a great watering can for potted plants, especially those that don’t require a lot of water, such as succulents and aloe vera. The hole in the lid is the perfect size for pouring the water slowly so you don’t overwater.
- Stop Dirt Flow With Coffee Filters – Watering potted plants can cause messy dirt leakage on your clean deck or patio. Stop it by lining the bottom of the pot with a paper coffee filter before filling with soil and planting.
- Try an Epsom Salt Fertilizer – Like store-bought fertilizers, Epsom salt contains magnesium, which aids in seed germination, chlorophyll production and absorption of vital nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. Most plants grow better with a ratio of two teaspoons to one gallon of water per month.
- Don’t Mow the Grass too Short – It may save you from having to mow the lawn more often, but cutting the blades too short exposes more of the dirt beneath it to the hot sun. This can cause browning and encourage the growth of weeds and diseases—and a hot, dry lawn attracts more insects.