1. Water plants with a plastic bottle when you’re on vacation.
Use a small drill bit or nail to poke 1-4 holes into the cap of a plastic water bottle. If you need to water bigger plants, use a 2-liter bottle, keeping in mind that the more holes you have and the wider the holes, the faster the flow of water. Fill the bottle with water and replace the cap.
Quickly insert the filled bottle into your plant’s soil. You may need to press soil around the bottle to keep it upright. And that’s it! Water will drip slowly out of the bottle’s cap while you’re away.
2. Retain water in hanging planters with a diaper.
Instead of watching water fall right through the soil and basket of a hanging planter, keep water in longer with a diaper.
3. Or, slow down water drainage with a coffee filter.
Prevent water from running right through soil by lining a pot with a coffee filter.
4. Start seeds in empty eggshells.
Once you’re ready to transplant your starts outside, keep the shell on your plant but crush the shell so that the roots can grow though. The nutrients in the shell will feed your plant as it grows.
5. Use stale ice cream cones as biodegradable planters.
When your plant gets too big for the cone, just stick the whole thing in the ground.
6. Produce sweeter tomatoes by surrounding your tomato plant with baking soda.
Sprinkle baking soda around the plant directly onto the soil. The baking soda helps neutralize the acidity in your tomato crop, thus producing sweeter fruit.
7. Sprinkle cinnamon around seedlings to prevent fungus from growing.
Cinnamon’s anti-fungal properties don’t just work on humans but work on plants as well.
8. Keep slugs and other pests away with coffee grounds.
9. Or, use crushed-up eggshells to deter pests.
Create an eggshell barrier around leafy plants; slugs and other bugs will hate the sharp texture.
10. Protect young plants from frost with milk jugs.
Remove the cap from gallon-size milk jugs and use a sharp knife to cut off the bottoms. Place the jug around the plant and push enough soil around the base to prevent the jug from blowing away.
When frost season is over, carefully remove the jugs, but in the meantime, go ahead and water your plants through the jug’s top pour hole.
11. And use a milk jug as a watering can.
12. Use the water from boiled or steamed veggies to water plants.
Just make sure to cool the water first.
13. Turn food waste into liquid compost with a blender.
Puree food scraps with water and spread throughout your garden. You may want to add water and work the soil with a small shovel to ensure all nutrients are absorbed.
14. Kill weeds with white vinegar.
The higher the acidity in the vinegar, the faster it’ll work.
15. Get perfectly spaced plants with homemade toilet paper seed tape.
Measure out a length of toilet paper and use a ruler to create evenly spaced marks indicating where your seeds will go (try every 2 inches for smaller plants like carrots). Then, create a paste with 2 tablespoons of white flour and 1 tablespoon of water, making sure the paste isn’t too thin. Use a toothpick to dab a bit of the glue onto the toilet paper.
Place the seeds on the glue and allow the glue to dry before rolling the paper back up and transporting to your garden. When you’re ready to plant, unroll the paper onto prepared soil and cover the seed paper with the amount of dirt recommended on the seed packaging. Keep your seeds consistently moist.
16. Cut the top off a plastic bottle and use it as a planter.
17. Turn an over-the-door organizer into a vertical garden.
Next time you’re at the dollar store, grab a cheap over-the-door organizer, and plan on using it to grow a vertical garden of herbs or leafy greens.
You may need to buy a sturdy rod and some hooks that can carry the weight of your plants, soil, and water. You’ll also want to make sure each organizer pocket drains water sufficiently. Poke a few small holes if you need to.
18. Make herb and plant markers with old wine corks.