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12 Garden Hacks Using Everyday Items

12 Garden Hacks Using Everyday Items

Gardening is a hugely popular hobby as a great way to boost both physical and mental health. However, it can be quite expensive and time-consuming to buy extra gardening equipment such as planters and pest-repellent.

But there are many simple things you can do to help out your plants without breaking your budget. Here are 12 hacks using everyday items from around your home which you can put to work in the garden.

1.  Old iron nails/brillo pads

If you have any old, rusty iron nails or brillo pads lying around, why not put them to good use? The rust helps to release iron – something very important for acid-loving plants such as azaleas, camellias, and rhododendrons. Simply add the nails or brillo pad to a full watering-can, leave for a few days, then water your plants with a boost of extra nutrition.

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2. Repel garden slugs with coins

As this infographic from Wink Bingo shows, your spare change can actually be put to good use as a slug repellent! Place a ring of coppers around your plants; when a slug’s slime comes into contact with the coin, it apparently causes something similar to an electric shock, making any slug think twice about munching on your plants!

3. Eggshells

Crushed up egg shells can be used to create a protective barrier to defend against slugs and snails. While putting smaller pieces of eggshells in your watering-can will add calcium and other minerals, serving as an extra treat for your plants.

4. Egg cartons

Egg cartons can make excellent planters for seedlings. Not only are they biodegradable, they can also easily be pulled apart when the plants grow bigger.

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5. Milk cartons

Milk cartons can also be used as planters if you cut them in half and make a few holes for drainage. Alternatively, you can construct your own DIY compost scoop by cutting off the bottom of a milk carton; you’ve got a ready-made handle! Just make sure to keep the lid – you don’t want the compost to fall out!

6. Bananas and banana skins

Bananas are a dynamic multi-purpose tool for your garden, both while they’re ripening and after you’ve eaten them. If you’re growing tomatoes in a greenhouse, hang the bananas up to release the hydrocarbon ethylene into the air – a ripening gas which will help your tomatoes to turn red. Chopped up banana skins are particularly good for fertilizing roses; just lay them flesh-side down on the soil and they’ll transfer nutrients to the roots while they rot.

7. Citrus fruits

From bananas to citrus fruits – Oranges, lemons and limes are useful for preventing slugs from getting at your plants. Simply scoop out the flesh from half of your fruit of choice, and place the peel face-down in the soil. Slugs will be tempted to crawl underneath it; you can then regularly check for pests and get them out of your garden. Fruit halves also make good planters for seedlings too and can be planted directly into the ground, breaking down and adding nutrients in to the soil.Paint cans/old shoes/lightbulbs

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8. Paint cans/old shoes/lightbulbs

Why not take a creative approach to making new pot plants? Convert household junk such as empty paint cans, old shoes, and burned out lightbulbs into quirky containers for your plants.

9. Soap

Garden gloves can be a bit of a hindrance when you’re doing certain jobs out in the garden, but it’s also annoying getting dirt underneath your fingernails. A great way to avoid this is to scratch a bar of soap before doing the gardening; you can then wash out the soapy scratchings again once you’ve finished.

10. Paper towels

Thanks to paper towels, there’s no need to worry about your plants going thirsty when you’re away for a few days. Simply fill a container with water, roll a paper towel into a paper stick, dip both ends of the paper stick in water and use it to create a bridge between the water container and pot plant. The water will soak into the towel and be transferred to the pot, keeping the soil moist until you’re back home.

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11. Broom handle

The handle of a broom can be a handy tool in itself. If you have particularly heavy compacted soil, you can use the broom handle to poke holes in the ground and then pour water into the gaps to soften up the earth.

12. Cocktail sticks/plastic forks

These remnants of your party can be put to good use in the garden. Push them into the soil around your plants so that they stick up; this should help to stop local cats from digging up the earth.

Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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