by Dr. Shanthi Thomas
Gardening is the pet hobby for a number of people, and is one of the healthiest of all hobbies. Besides the exercise it brings to the body and the mind, daily gardening ensures that you have a steady supply of fresh, organic vegetables and fruits for your kitchen, and eye-catching flowers in front of your house. Let us look at some top gardening hacks that would ease your time in the garden.
Would you like to grow sweeter tomatoes in your garden? Try adding a little baking soda to the soil. Baking soda is alkaline, so it counteracts the acidity in the tomatoes. The result is sweeter tomatoes.
Next time you make a dish using eggs, do not throw the eggshells away. Eggshells are very useful as a source of Calcium. Besides they repel certain types of insects, thereby providing protection for the plants too.
Did you lose your gardening tool yet again amongst the plants? Why not paint the handles of your tools a bright color other than green so that they stand out? For easy tool storage, you can also keep a mailbox in your garden.
Are you a lover of vines with no room for them in your compound? Use a vertical trellis or fence to train your melons, squash and cucumbers. It saves space and looks pleasing to the eye.
Is your garden infested with insects? You can plant onions, garlic, chrysanthemums and chives around your garden to repel the insects.
Plant roots rotting in the water settling at the bottom of a pot is a common problem. To solve this problem, all you have to do is cut up old sponges and line the bottom of the pot with them. The sponges can retain moisture and create an air space. The sponge will act as water storage and keep the soil moist for long.
Used coffee grounds make a great compost ingredient because they release minerals that enrich the soil.
In hot climates, it is good to give your garden a long soak once a week. Short watering sometimes does not penetrate to the roots. Also important to remember is not to water during the hottest part of the day.
If you have to transport plants, it is best to do so after a rainfall because the damp soil will prevent the cracking of the roots.
Are you going on a holiday any time soon? Here is a clever way to keep the soil moist for long time. Line the bottom of the pot with a clean nappy and then water the plant. The granules in the nappy will absorb a large amount of water and will release it slowly.
Soak your seeds in warm water for 24 hours before sowing. This breaks seed dormancy. Soaking speeds up the germination process in many plants.
Vodka prevents the growth of bacteria. So a few drops of vodka in a vase of water will help keep water clean for cut flowers. Another trick is to add a teaspoon of sugar or a penny. The copper in the coin works as an acidifier and inhibits bacterial growth.
Household vinegar mixed with dish washing detergent makes a great garden weed killer. Spray the solution after a rain and the weeds will disappear quickly.
Cut off the top of a pineapple that you have bought from the market and let it dry out. Plant the top in potting soil. It takes quite some time but will produce your own pineapples!
Regrow vegetables from end pieces/roots soaked in water. This is a proven way to regrow lettuce, onions, and other small vegetables or herbs.
Before you lay down a layer of mulch, take used newspapers and lay them on the soil around your plants. After that, place the mulch on top. This will smother the weeds and kill them while saving your plants.
Potatoes are the perfect conductor for growing a single stem! Drill a hole in a yellow potato using a knife or a nail. Then simply put a one-inch cut from a rose stem in the hole. Plant the entire potato in the soil, and in a few months, you will have your own roses!
Sprinkle cinnamon powder on seedlings to ward off fungal infections. And for a great fragrance!