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Gardening Hacks For the Novice and Experts

Gardening is a hobby anyone can enjoy—all you need is soil, some seeds, water and a bit of elbow grease to get started. Maintaining a garden is another feat altogether. Whether you’re a novice or an expert, here are some of the best gardening hacks every gardener should know:

Make your own seed tape.

If you’re looking to plant in neat rows, save time and money with DIY seed tape. Seed tapes are strips of biodegradable paper that are folded in half and embedded with seeds. They are perfect for plants that require a straight row and must be planted fairly close together, such as carrots and radishes. If you have toilet paper or paper towels, you can make your own with this simple hack:

  • Lay four to five squares of toilet paper or a paper towel cut into 2-inch strips on a flat surface
  • Check the seed packet to see how far apart the seeds should be planted. Then, measure the specified distance on the toilet paper with a ruler, using a marker or pencil to indicate where each seed should go.
  • Place the seeds on each spot, then fold the toilet paper or paper towel in half, and viola! Now you have seed tape.

When you’re ready to plant, just lay the seed tape on the soil, cover with soil, and water. The paper dissolves as the seeds are watered and begin to sprout.


Mix edible plants with flowering plants.

No need to have a separate vegetable garden. Some fruit and vegetable plants are pretty and hardy enough to double as decorative plants and can be mixed with your flowering plants. For example, strawberry plants make excellent landscape edgers (make sure to trim the runners that form regularly to keep them from overcrowding the garden) and dwarf blueberry plants make a beautiful—and tasty—decorative shrub.

Keep nails easy to clean with soap.

Sometimes wearing gloves, especially in the summer, can be hot and uncomfortable. You can still skip the gloves and save your nails by scraping them along a bar of soap before you begin gardening. Simply washing your hands when you’re done will remove the dirt from under them without the need to scrub or use a nail brush.

Use sandpaper to ward off slugs.

Slugs can wreak havoc on your garden. Keep slugs from crossing into your plants by placing small strips of sandpaper across your garden’s borders or retaining walls. The rough surface is too difficult for a slug to cross and encourages them to slither away.

Make your own watering cans out of gallon jugs.

Instead of spending money on a watering can, make your own from a recycled milk gallon or water jugs. Use a thick needle (such as a yarn needle) to poke holes in the lid of the jug. Heating the needle briefly over the flame or using a thimble will help make it easier to push it through the plastic.

Keep pots tidy with coffee filters.

If you’ve ever re-potted a plant, you know how easy it is for soil to spill through the bottom drain hole. Lining your pots with coffee filters will help keep soil from clogging the hole or spilling out after a watering. This is especially useful if you have a tendency to forget to water your potted plants because coffee filters are very absorbent and help plants retain water longer than soil alone can.

Take advantage of welded wire.

Welded wire has a number of different uses that can keep your garden safe and make it more visually appealing. This type of fencing is perfect for keeping larger animals out of your garden, and it’s also great for making garden decor, including a fire pit.

These clever hacks will make gardening easier and help keep your garden looking its best year-round.

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