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10 Brilliant Tricks That Every Waterloo Region Gardener Should Know About

waterloo region gardener

Gardening, for most of us, falls somewhere between a hobby and a chore. If your property comes with outdoor space attached then cultivating it to a certain degree is a must, unless that is you chose to pave or concrete the whole space over, but where is the fun – and possible resale value should you ever want to sell your Waterloo Region home, in that?

There are actually lots of good reasons to embrace gardening as a hobby. A good looking garden will definitely add extra curb appeal to your home and you can, if you chose, use at least some of your garden space to grow your own, completely fresh and organic produce. Gardening can also be great for your health; it’s good exercise and the time spent outdoors provides a nice mental break from being cooped up in an office at work all week.

On the other hand, gardening isn’t always easy. Trying to cultivate plants, flowers, shrubs and backyard crops can be frustrating. Often you are battling soil conditions, weather quirks and even annoying pests who seem to take great delight in destroying your hard work. Here though are some great gardening tips and hacks that can help you overcome some of gardening’s most common challenges.

Boost Your Soil and Kill Off Critters With Coffee Grounds

Photo: Planet Natural

Many professional gardeners – and dedicated amateurs – invest in peat moss to enrich the soil they grow their plants in. But you don’t have to. A study commissioned by Oregon State University found that the nitrogen produced by coffee grounds, when mixed with standard soils, had much the same effect. What’s more, it also kills a number of common garden pests including pesky, leaf-munching slugs.

Kill Bugs, But With Kindness

Photo: Steve S, Flickr

Speaking of slugs and bugs leaving out a shallow cup full of flat beer will attract, and then kill, slugs and other garden pests too. And the kind part is that at least they’ll die happy, especially if you treat them to a decent brew.

Sweeten Your Home Grown Tomatoes as They Grow

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Do you love the taste of those succulent, sweet tomatoes you get at the farmer’s market, the ones that are not as bitter and tart as those you find at grocery stores? You can replicate that flavor in your homegrown tomatoes by adding a small amount of baking soda – no more than a 1/4 cup per plant – to the soil around them. The baking soda then lowers the acidity in the soil, sweetening the crop.

Create a Herb Garden with a Shoe Caddy

Photo: Birds and Blooms

You may have seen some rather fancy planters in garden centers that are designed to be used to plant outdoor – or indoor – herb gardens. But they may be clever and good looking but they are certainly not cheap. However, if you head to the dollar store and pick up one of those cloth shoe caddies they can be used in the same way. Line the pockets with plastic baggies, add potting soil and seedlings of your choice and then watch that garden grow.

Protect Your Gardening Tools From Rust

Photo: Pinterest

However expensive your gardening tools are they are, because of the way they are used, susceptible to rust. One easy way to protect them, however, is to store them in builders sand when they are not in use (after they have been properly cleaned off of course)

Start Your Seeds Off in a Cute – and Cheap – Citrus Pot

Photo: My Roman Apartment

Rather than heading to the garden center to buy little pots to start your seedlings off in you can use scooped out lemons instead. Not only do they make cute, cheap planters but the citrus-infused skin adds just the right amount of extra acid to the soil to help the new plants flourish.

Craft Some Simple Stone Garden Markers

Photo: Pinterest

Need to find a way to remember just which seeds are planted where? One way is to gather up some random stones and then paint them to identify what lies beneath. Not only will they look pretty but it’s a great project to hand off to kids, who will have a lot of fun with it.

Speed and Strengthen Your Seeds

Photo: Local Harvest

Want your seeds to sprout faster? Soaking them in lukewarm water for 24 hours before planting should do the trick without harming them in any way.

Make a DIY Watering Can

Photo: Makezine

Watering can sprung a leak? Would you like a hand with the watering but don’t have a second can on hand? Making an effective, and cheap, DIY watering can is easy. All you need is a standard milk or water jug that has a screw on cap. Poke holes in the cap with a long, sharp needle, fill the bottle with water, replace the cap and you’re done!

Light Up the Night on the Cheap

Photo: Pinterest

Many people use planters to enhance the daytime appearance of their outdoor space, especially on decks and patios. If however, you paint those planters with glow in the dark paint – you can find lots of options at a store like Home Depot – the planters become even more useful as they will light up your garden at night without costing you a penny in electricity.

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