And for the Grand Finale, here are some more fun and creative hacks that help improve your urban gardening experience…
PENNY PEST CONTROL:
Glue pennies around the lip of your planter or on a garden bed wall (if you have a yard) to keep snails off your veggies. Make sure you glue the pennies down in a line where the pennies are actually touching.
DRY HERBS IN YOUR CAR:
Put your freshly grown herbs on a piece of newspaper on your dashboard (or on a tray lined with newspaper). Keep all the windows and doors closed to create a nice and toasty «dryer» for your herbs. This hack will dry your herbs faster then other drying approaches and it will make your vehicle smell great!
CINNAMON FOR FUNGUS PREVENTION:
If you decide to replant your cuttings from one garden to another, but don’t want the hassle of getting fungus from cross-contamination, simply dip the roots in cinnamon. Cinnamon acts as a rooting hormone and keeps the fungus away.
COFFEE FILTER HACK:
When re-potting plants, keep the soil in its place by using a coffee filter as the bottom lining over the drain hole. This keeps it from clogging up while draining, and it keeps the soil from draining out with the water. Because coffee filters are highly absorbent, you can skip a watering here and there (late nights at work?) and not kill your plant.
EPSOM SALT FOR TOMATOES, PEPPERS, & ROSES:
Epsom salt is comprised of magnesium and sulfur. These two ingredients are also two of the six macronutrients plants need. If your soil is depleted of these usually naturally-occurring ingredients, simply add in a little epsom salt to bring it back to a healthy state for your plants.
RE-GROW CUT ROSES IN POTATOES:
Cut healthy stems off roses and place them in large potatoes. Bury this whole thing into healthy soil (peet moss and top soil mix) about 3-4 inches deep. Watch your roses grow again!
WHY IT WORKS: The potatoes keep the stems moist and help develop their root systems. Plus this is cheap (BONUS!).
MILK JUG GREENHOUSES:
Need to keep a newly-planted plant alive through that seventh «last» frost that «shouldn’t» have occurred?
Simple rinse an empty milk jug and discard the lid. Cut off the bottom with a serrated knife or with sharp kitchen scissors. Place this little «greenhouse» over the plant and pile up dirt generously around the jugs to keep them from falling over or blowing away.
Water the plant through the open hole at the top (where the lid used to be) or use a watering can over it like usual (the water will drip down the sides of the jug into the soil).
Keep these greenhouses on until the «last frost» has truly passed 😉
SOAP IT UP FOR CLEAN NAILS:
Every time you need to work your hands into some soil and dirt, simply slide your nails across a bar of soap first. When you go to wash your hands after you’re done, the dirt and grime will just rinse right off with no hassle! No more multi-manicures every time you garden!
BED FRAME FOR GARDEN BED:
If you have the yard space, consider using a wooden bed frame for garden bed walls.
PLASTIC FORKS FOR PEST CONTROL:
«Plant» plastic forks in the garden in-between each plant in every row (with the prongs standing straight up). This will deter rabbits, squirrels, cats, and raccoons from eating all of your crop.
COFFEE GRINDS AND TEA:
Add unused dried tea herbs or coffee for acid-loving plants. Or add used coffee grinds to your soil for nutrient benefits (the nitrogen-rich grinds lose their acidity once they’ve been used, so they add nutrients to your soil).
BAKING SODA FOR TOMATOES:
Sprinkle a small amount of baking soda (less than 1/4 cup per plant) on the soil around your tomato plants (whether in the ground or in a planter). MAKE SURE not to get the baking soda on the plant itself.
OR: You can add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to a gallon of water and water your plants with it.
Either way, this works because: the baking soda lowers the acidity levels in your soil as it absorbs. This gives your tomatoes a sweeter (versus tart) flavor.
TIP: Sprinkle it on the soil when the tomatoes are 1″ in diameter and then again when they are half grown.
ALTERNATIVE USES FOR BAKING SODA:
1. Add a little to canned tomatoes (that you canned yourself) when making sauce. This will make it sweeter without sugar or added calories.
2. Combine 1 gallon of water with 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 2 1/2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Mix, then pour this into a spray bottle. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of castile soap. (Castile soap is fine, hard white or mottled soap made with olive oil and sodium hydroxide.) Spray this solution on the foliage of tomato plants to get rid of fungal disease.
NOTE: Test the baking soda on one tomato plant first before trying it on all of them, and be careful when using it on young tomato plants. If your soil is already well balanced and alkaline, you could ruin it by adding too much baking soda, so check your soil balance before using baking soda to see if you need it (or use less baking soda if it’s already well alkalized).