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backyard raised herb garden

Gardening can be tough for a beginner. To help you green up your thumbs, here are 5 tips for your soon to be flourishing garden.

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Whether you live in the suburbs with a big backyard, or in a sunny city condo with a commodious deck, one day, you’ll likely be struck by the gardening bug. Fresh herbs, home-grown vegetables, and brilliant blooms are just a few of the benefits of cultivating a green thumb. If you’re planting a container garden or tilling a backyard plot, here are some unusual tips to set you on the path to gardening success.

1. Dovetail your cooking with watering your garden

What you water with is as important as how often and how much you water your plants. Cooking pasta for dinner? The cooking water is full of vitamins and nutrients plants love. Set aside and cool cooking water and use it to water your plants.

This works for cooking water from boiled eggs, potatoes, and other root vegetables, too. Cooled chamomile tea is another healthy drink for delicate plants. Save eggshells and work them into the soil for an efficient organic fertilizer. All of these ideas will put nutrients back into the soil, and they’ll help you reduce how much water you waste, and how much food waste you’d otherwise throw out.

2. Garden at night

Insomniacs rejoice! Night time is actually the best time to garden. Plant seedlings and baby plants by the light of the moon to give them a few hours to acclimate to their new environment before being exposed to the hot sun.

Watering your garden at night lets more water seep deep into the soil and limits evaporation; your plants will also have water available all day to help them cope with the effects of the sun. Note, though, that if you water at night, you should water the soil, not the leaves of the plant, to reduce the chance of fungus.

3. Set your roots free

Many novice gardeners make the mistake of transferring plants from plastic multi-packs directly into the soil from the container, with roots in their compact, square shape. If you’ve ever dug up a plant that died shortly after planting, you might notice that the roots are still tightly cubed. Pro gardeners give their root bundles a good mangling before setting them in the earth. No need to be gentle; set those roots free!

4. Lighten your workload

Planting a container garden in an oversized pot? Fill the bottom half with packing peanuts or vermiculite before adding soil and plants to keep the container from becoming too heavy to move. Don’t forget a layer of gardening fabric between the peanuts and the soil. Spray your shovels and trowels with non-stick cooking spray; your implements will glide through the soil and clean-up will be a breeze.

5. Plant Some Pennies

Stick a few pennies in the soil when you plant seeds or baby plants. It won’t turn into a money tree, of course, but it will protect your plants from common bacteria and fungus. The copper contained in pennies blocks an enzyme that these plant-attacking fungi need to survive.

Practice and experience breeds success

Like all worthwhile skills, gardening takes practice, and experience breeds success. These unusual but effective gardening tips will give the novice gardener a boost towards producing healthy, thriving plants.

 

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.