Gardening hacks for the savvy gardener

Make gardening a breeze with these fab green-fingered hacks

Keen gardeners will have their own tricks up their sleeves, but for those of you who need a little guidance, here are some nifty tips that will help you become a gardening genius.

1 Use egg cartons, with drainage holes punched into the bottom, to plant your seedlings. Once they’ve begun to sprout, simply place the carton directly into the ground – this means there’s no need to move the plants, and the card will decompose naturally. If you don’t want all the seedlings to grow next to each other, simply cut out each individual egg cup and position them wherever you like.

2 Alternatively, use the rind of half a lemon to plant your seedlings. Again, place it directly into the ground for a totally environmentally friendly and easy way to get your seedlings to grow.

3 Make your own garden markers using stones. Paint them and be creative with your labelling.

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Give plain terracotta pots a coat of paint to add some colour to your garden.

5 Try out a variety of plant containers, from yogurt pots and fizzy drinks cans, to that wooden box you found at a vintage market. Just make sure that there are some holes in the bottom for drainage.

6 Use coffee filters to stop dirt falling out of a plant pot and messing up your windowsill/patio. They’re ideal, as they let water drain out of the container.

7 Repurpose a shower caddy as a hanging garden basket or herb garden.

8 Make a watering can out of a milk bottle by piercing some holes in the lid to create a ‘shower’ effect.

9 Place plastic forks into the soil, prongs facing up, next to your plants. This will help to prevent pesky invaders, such as squirrels and rabbits, from eating your crops.

10 Take full advantage of your cafetiere’s coffee granules and sprinkle them around flower beds to deter slugs, who hate caffeine.

11 Coffee is also a good source of nitrogen and other nutrients, so pop leftover granules into a composter to enrich the soil.

12 Egg shells are another natural slug deterrent. Place them in pots, or around your plants in beds. They will also provide the soil with calcium.

13 Birds like to feast on a gardener’s crop, too. To scare them away, place a small plastic milk bottle on a stick poked into the ground – they will be frightened by the rattling sound the bottles make in the wind.

14 And finally, use an old wine bottle to water potted plants while you’re away/feeling lazy. Clean the bottle (after having enjoyed its contents!) and fill it with fresh water. Then turn it upside down and quickly insert it into the soil. Some soil will be forced into the neck of the bottle, so it should pour out slowly and gradually, rather than all in one go.

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