Eco-Friendly Garden Tips

Maintaining a personal garden is a rewarding activity, but the number of products in the stores can be overwhelming. Not only are these products costly, but they can contain harmful chemicals.

There are many natural methods for weed control, plant growth, and pest control. Here are just a few of our favorites.

1. Kill weeds safely with vinegar

Stop weeds from creeping up between paving stones and flower bed edges.

Pour undiluted white vinegar directly onto the weeds. The acid in the vinegar dries up the moisture in the weed and kills it, down to the roots. This method works well to eliminate most weeds.

The vinegar acts like any other weed killer. It will first kill the leaves, then the stem, and finally the roots. This process will take a few days, and then a second coat of vinegar may be needed.

2. Use a wicking system to water plants when you are away from home.

You can keep your houseplants alive when you go on vacation by setting up a wicking system. All you need is a glass of water and a length of 100% cotton rope.

Simply fill the glass with lukewarm water, and place one end of the rope in the glass. Allow the rope to become saturated, then place the other end of the rope on the surface of the potting soil, close to the stem and root system.

The water will continue to be absorbed by the cotton rope and keep the soil moist.

3. Keep aphids away with dishwashing liquid

Roses are a beautiful addition to any home garden, but during certain times of the year, aphids can strip and kill an entire bush in just a few days.

To keep aphids away without adding harmful and costly pesticides, create a mix of organic liquid dish soap and water. Spray this nontoxic mixture on the leaves, stems, and flowers of rosebushes.

4. Deter ants with citrus peels

Ants can cause damage to plant leaves, stems, and roots. Keeping ants away from your plants is as easy as eating an orange or grapefruit.

Keep the fresh citrus peels and place them around the base of plant. The scent of the fresh citrus and the oils in the citrus skin will keep them at bay.

5. Start seedlings in used toilet tissue tubes

Don’t throw away those empty toilet paper tubes. Make 4 – one-inch-long slits in the bottom at equal intervals.

Fold the carboard up at those slits and overlap the pieces to form a closed base. Set the tubes open end up in a muffin tin. Fill the tubes three-fourths full of potting soil and place your seeds.

When it is time to move the plants to the garden, dig a hole and place the entire tube in the soil. As the plant grows, the cardboard will dissolve.

6. Use plants as a natural mosquito repellant

Deter mosquitoes from entryways and porches by adding a planter pot.

Certain plants like citronella, catnip, lemongrass, thyme, and marigolds contain scents that mosquitoes hate.

Not only can these plants form a barrier around patios and doorways, but they create a lovely element for your yard.

7. Coffee grounds help repel slugs

Keep plant destroying slugs at bay with used coffee grounds. The next time you brew a pot of morning go juice, save the coffee grounds from your drip coffee maker.

Simply sprinkle the damp coffee grounds on the top layer of soil, around the base of plants.

The coffee will add nitrogen and other trace minerals to the plants that help repel slugs.

8. Keep animals away from seedlings

Use plastic forks to protect precious seedlings from stray cats, raccoons, and opossums that might dig in the soil.

After seedling rows emerge, stick plastic forks into the soil between the rows, handle side down. The plastic will startle the animals but will not harm them.

9. Start seedlings in citrus peels

Do not discard the peel from grapefruits or oranges. Fill the empty shell of the fruit with potting soil and plant your seeds. Water them and place in a sunny window.

As the seeds erupt and roots form, nutrients in the citrus peel will provide natural fertilizer to get those seedlings off to a good start.

When the plants are ready to transfer to the garden, simply bury the seedling and its citrus peel pot.

10. Egg shells provide natural compost to garden plants

Another great compost is crushed egg shells. Egg shells contain calcium, phosphorous, and potassium.

These trace nutrients help balance the pH of the soil, provide oxygen rich minerals to soil, and can prevent plant diseases such as mold and blossom end rot.

To prepare the egg shells for garden use, rinse and dry them, then crush in a blender or a bowl.

Teresa T

Teresa T

For as long as she can remember, Teresa has loved two things: writing and interior decorating. Now, she gets to share her passion with the world, and help others create beautiful homes and gardens that reflect their own unique style. Outside of work, she's often thinking up new design ideas, sewing or gardening. She has a B.A. in art.

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