How To

DIY Solutions to Your Home Garden Disasters

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I love gardening, but I hate spending my hard-earned paycheck to keep my plants happy. Between the soil, plants, and accessories – gardening is one hobby that can be very expensive!

Here are 12 DIY solutions to your common gardening problems:

  • Fill a bucket with the cold water from your shower while you’re waiting for it to heat up. Feed it to your thirsty plants and flowers, which will reduce your water bill and overall consumption. Here are 14 more ways to reduce your water bill.
  • Did you know many weeds are edible? Here is a list of weeds you can eat, including dandelion, watercress, and bamboo. Just be absolutely certain before you put a weed in your mouth or consider asking a professional!
  • Pour boiling water over weeds to kill them. Heat as much water as you can safely carry, then dump a few gallons over a trouble spot. Repeat in a few days if the weeds are still green.
  • Lay down flattened cardboard boxes over weedy areas. Anchor the cardboard with heavy rocks in the corners and center and wait out those annoying weeds!
  • Make your own composter for about $4 instead of buying one for $75 bucks at your local home improvement store! All you need, besides a 5-gallon Homer bucket and lid, is a drill and ½ or ¼ inch drill bit to make holes in the bucket and lid.
  • Forget buying nutrient-rich soil – that’s what your homemade compost is for!
  • Plants greens that will reduce your grocery bill. The highest yield per square foot is cilantro, followed by arugula and leafy greens, according to one gardening expert. I love to plant my own herbs, which are so expensive to buy, especially when I only need a teaspoon!
  • Use newspapers to make seedling cups instead of buying new ones. Roll a few sheets into a long cylinder, tape in a few spots, and then cut off 3-inch segments. Arrange in a tray, fill each mini cylinder with a bit of soil, and plant your seeds. Spritz with water so seeds are moist, but not wet.
  • Deter ants with cucumber peels, cayenne pepper, or vinegar. A 50-50 mix of borax and sugar sprinkled on an ant’s nest and trail will kill the little buggers.
  • Drown slugs in shallow dishes of beer. Dig a hole into the soil that is just wide and long enough to fit a small dish. The lip of the dish should be even with the soil. Slugs like the smell of beer, so they crawl in, have a swig, and then drown! You can also rid your garden of slugs by spreading crushed eggshells around plants. Slugs avoid rough surfaces – ouch!
  • Plant parsley, spearmint, sweet fennel, and dill in your garden to attract ladybugs, which hunt and kill aphids. You can also buy ladybugs, but there’s no guarantee they’ll stick around!
  • My husband hates to throw out scrap wood, which is perfect for making raised garden beds or borders. You can also repurpose stones, rocks, and concrete to form borders or create outdoor art.

Hungry for more tips? Here are more ways to garden on the cheap.

Julia Scott is the founder of the money-saving blog, BargainBabe.com.