From the Potting Table, Garden Hacks for Spring
The breath of spring is upon us, and our garden spaces are calling, ready for a good clean-up and maybe some fresh flowers and new plants. Yet, in the midst of it are the materials we use to help our green spaces be the best. Here are a few of our favorite garden hacks to make your projects fun, cost-effective, and environmentally sustainable.
The Kitchen Scrap Garden:
We have seen so many videos and posts on social media on how to grow vegetables from the food scraps in our kitchen. So putting our green thumb forward, we gave it a try. Squash is the easiest to propagate from seeds. Their larger seed is easier to handle and easier to transplant. Then we tried tomato seeds from a roma tomato. This one was tricky, and took a few rounds to see success. Place the whole tomato in the soil, just on top, water it every other day or so, and then press it into the soil. When it looks soft, gently spread it and lightly cover it with soil. Place it in full sun or at least good afternoon sun and fertilize. The sprouts arrived within a few days.
Green onion, garlic, and leaks can quickly grow from kitchen cuttings. They do best if placed in the water right after use, root side in a cup of water. Then once there are good roots, transplant them into the soil. Our favorite trick is the egg carton seed pods. Keep all your completed egg cartons. Poke a little hole in the bottom of each cell and fill it with starting soil. Nestle your germinated seeds and watch them grow. Then when you are ready to transplant, gently squeeze the bottom of the pod, and your little sprout will pop out!
Planters and Bucket Organization for Tools and Materials:
Every good gardener knows that an organized garden system makes it easier to focus on the plants. This is where you can get creative. First, think of your staples in your garden work. Potting soil, moss, the go-to tools, gloves, and hats are just a few we have on hand every time we step outside. The most common size bag of potting soil and moss will fit into a 5-gallon bucket from the hardware store. These are great and can be covered in a coordinating laminate so your potting area is stylish.
Small planters are perfect holders for your clippers, scissors, and trowel. Our system uses old eggshells for phosphorus and banana peels for potassium (tomatoes love banana water). We can see when it is ready by storing it in glass jars reused from the kitchen. Finally, keep those pots and trays where all your nursery flowers are grown. After planting, wash them with dish soap and water. They are now ready to transplant your sprouts and start new plants. If you do not need them, see if your garden center recycles them.
We love the Farmers Planter Collection. They are stylish and very functional.
Made of terracotta clay they are breathable perfect for new sprouts and bulbs. They can be used to store small tools, garden treasures, and seeds. Having a planting and work area that is pleasing to be in is part of the garden process. Having a wonderful work space helps the creative process.
Repurposing that old thing in the garden:
When you use your outdoor space a lot, there will always be that garden element that might not work as it used to, or you may need to change things up a bit. Fountains that have not operated anymore can make great planters; the same can be said for old birdbaths. The trick is to ensure the soil is prepped for drainage using a substrate like small gravel. Planting them with shallow-rooted plants like succulents and annuals can be colorful and low maintenance.
Old fire pits can be converted into planters or outdoor deck ponds. We had one for years, and the bottom was starting to give way. After giving it a good clean from the rust and adding paint and repair, we lined it with a pond liner, rocks, and plants. Adding a waterfall and pump makes the fire pit a habit for our resident turtle. The ideas are endless!
Keeping a clean garden is essential for plant health and your well-being. Finding that balance between what should be disposed of and what can be reused is an enriching garden practice. Creating a garden that is more than pretty but a functional part of day-to-day life and positively impacts our Earth can be done with a few mindful moments of whether something should be reused, repurposed, or recycled. Even the smallest garden space can have a significant impact on our planet.