20 Weird Gardening Hacks That Might Make You Look Crazy But That Actually Work

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20 Weird Gardening Hacks That Might Make You Look Crazy But That Actually Work
Photos – © Agnali; jenniecoyote – pixabay.com

Relying on chemicals to keep your garden in tip-top shape is not a good practice considering the dangers it has on your health. Here we have 20 unusual ways you can take care of your garden all without using harmful chemicals at all.

1. Use Soda To Trap Insects

Insects are attracted to sweet liquids. You can use this to your advantage by making soda trap using a soda bottle with a leftover drink in it. To make a soda trap simply cut the upper half of the bottle and invert it inside the bottom part. Secure the upper half with clips or tape. This creates a funnel that lets the insect in but makes it hard for them to get out.

2. Use Neem Essential Oil To Ward Off Mosquitos

Neem oil has proven to be an effective and safe way of keeping mosquitos and other pests away. To make your own garden bug spray, mix plain, fragrance-free liquid dish soap and Neem oil in a 1:1 ratio. Add a few spoonfuls of this to a spray bottle of warm water and shake well. Spray the solution liberally around your garden plants and soil. This formula can be helpful for getting rid of several other insect pests such as mites [1] but is not advised for food crops in fruiting and flowering phases as it can ruin the taste.

3. Kill Aphids With Soap

Aphids have a waxy coating around their body to protect them from the harsh environment. To break their natural defenses, you can spray them with a solution of 1-quart water and 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap. The cleaning action of the soap will cut away their wax coating, making them susceptible to dehydration and it also prevents them from attaching onto your plants. [2]

4. Exterminate Ants With Borax And Honey

Ants are not usually harmful to garden plants, but when you have a concurrent aphid infestation, they tend to invade your plants just to suck on the honeydew aphids secrete. To get rid of ants, mix 1 part honey with half part of borax to form a thick paste you would use as bait. Apply the paste around the base of your plants so that the ants will feed on it instead. The borax will cause them to dehydrate and eventually die off. [3]

5. Use Your Pest’s Natural Enemies To Kill Them

If you’re not too keen on the idea of using even natural pesticides on your plants, you can actually use other insects as a method of pest control. You can buy ladybugs and lacewings from garden supply stores and use them to keep your garden aphid population at bay. [4]

6. Use Your Kitchen Waste As Fertilizer

To make your own garden waste ditch, dig a 1-foot deep row on your garden soil. Starting at one end, dump your kitchen waste daily as you move forward along the row. Cover the waste with the soil from the ditch to keep flies away. Once the entire ditch is covered, use the ditch as a bed for you to plant vegetables on.

7. Make Liquid Fertilizer From Weeds

Weeds may seem like useless plants to keep around your garden, but you can actually use weeds as a source of nitrogen-rich soil fertilizer. To make a weed liquid fertilizer, just put your weed clipping on a basin with water out in the sun and wait a few days. Use the liquid directly on your garden soil to fortify it with nutrients.

8. Adjust The pH Of Your Garden Soil With Wood Ash And Coffee Grounds

Different plants thrive of different soil pH. This makes it challenging to grow plants which like alkaline soil together with ericaceous plants. Fortunately, you can alter the pH of a specific spot with the use of wood ash and coffee grounds. Use wood ash in the soil of alkaline loving plants while use coffee grounds around roses, heathers, and azaleas which favor less alkaline soil. [5]

9. Reuse Egg And Oyster Shells As Fertilizer

Egg and oyster shells are naturally rich in calcium and have the ability to alkalize soil. Instead of throwing them away, cover them with a towel and crush them with a hammer or rolling pin. Spread them around the soil of plants that thrive in an alkaline environment. [6]

10. Save Your Pee To Use As Fertilizer

Urine is rich in nitrogen, which can enhance the growth of plants, especially greens and corn. To use pee as a soil fertilizer, dilute it first with water using a 1 is to 10 ratios. To use, apply the solution near the roots. [7]

11. Kill Weeds With Vinegar

Weeds can’t tolerate vinegar. Use pure vinegar in a spray bottle and apply it on the weeds. After application, water the area to remove excess acidity so as not to affect the surrounding plants.

12. Spray Your Plants With Milk

Believe it or not, milk is actually a potent antifungal you can use to keep mildew off your plants. In fact, it is so effective that it was able to match the performance of sulfur and synthetic chemicals in one study. To use milk as an antifungal, make a milk water solution with at least 20 percent of it is milk. Spray this on your plants to keep the fungus away. [8]

13. Regulate Your Garden Temperature With Water

Since water takes longer to cool down compared to air. By keeping tubs of water around your plants, you can keep the temperature warmer a bit longer at night time. This artificial warmth can make your plants grow bigger and faster. Just make sure to cover each tub with a black plastic sheet. The black sheet keeps the water from evaporating and the dark color makes it heat up faster from the sun.

14. Use Cooking Water On Your Plants

When boiling vegetables, eggs, or even noodles, don’t throw the water down the drain. Instead, use it to water your plants. Not only are you conserving water, you’ll also be adding an extra dose of nutrients to your garden.

15. Spray Epsom Salt Solution

Mix 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt with one quart of water in a spray bottle. Use this spray to keep fruits from prematurely falling, enhance flowering, and make plant leaves greener. [9]

16. Add Rusty Nails To Your Plant Water To Prevent Iron Deficiency

When plants are unable to absorb sufficient iron from the soil, it causes a condition called iron chlorosis which leads to the yellowing of the leaves. To prevent this, add rusty nails to your watering can and use the water for your plants.

17. Use Blood As Fertilizer

Animal blood is extremely rich in nitrogen. It can come in handy for plants that are heavy feeders of fertilizers. You can buy specially prepared blood meal for your plants at your local garden stores. [10]

18. Coconut Water Can Be Used As A Great Root Grower

Coconut water is rich in minerals, which can help nourish your plants. It also has naturally occurring substances like gibberellic acid and cytokinins to help your plant develop its roots. [11]

19. Use Baking Soda To Kill Plant Fungus

Another alternative to milk spray, baking soda works just as well. Just mix together one tablespoon of baking soda with a gallon of water and use it to spray your plants to keep mildew at bay.

20. Use Chamomile Tea As A Fungicide

Chamomile tea is rich in sulfur, which can act as an antifungal when sprayed on your plants. To make chamomile tea spray, simply steep some chamomile tea and spray it directly onto your plants. [12]


[1] Repellent efficacy of DEET, MyggA, neem (Azedirachta indica) oil and chinaberry (Melia azedarach) oil against Anopheles arabiensis, the principal malaria vector in Ethiopia (2015). https://malariajournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12936-015-0705-4

[2] How to identify and get rid of aphid. http://www.almanac.com/pest/aphids

[3] Fighting Ants with Borax. http://www.doityourself.com/stry/fighting-ants-with-borax

[4] Green Lacewing – Chrysoperia carnea. http://www.buglogical.com/green-lacewing/

[5] Composting With Coffee Grounds – Used Coffee Grounds For Gardening. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/composting/ingredients/coffee-grounds-gardening.htm

[6] Effects of oyster shell on soil chemical and biological properties and cabbage productivity as a liming materials (2007). http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956053X08000068

[7] Use of Human Urine Fertilizer in Cultivation of Cabbage (Brassica oleracea)––Impacts on Chemical, Microbial, and Flavor Quality (2007). http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf0717891

[8] A Dairy Solution to Mildew Woes. https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/food-thought/dairy-solution-mildew-woes

[9] Information About Using Epsom Salts For Plants. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/epsom-salt-gardening.htm

[10] Blood Meal fertilizer. http://www.gardeniq.com/blood-meal

[11] A Comparative Evaluation of Coconut Water as Root Setting Medium for Rhizopora Stylosa Hypocotyl Propagation (2015). https://www.ijsr.net/archive/v5i12/ART20163907.pdf

[12] Use Chamomile Tea When Starting Seeds, It’s a Mild Fungicide. http://www.weekendgardener.net/plant-propagation/chamomile-tea-030803.htm

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