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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 November 19, 2019

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

1. Create a Daily Plan

Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

3. Use a Calendar

Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

4. Use an Organizer

An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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5. Know Your Deadlines

When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

6. Learn to Say “No”

Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

7. Target to Be Early

When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

8. Time Box Your Activities

This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

11. Focus

Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

12. Block out Distractions

What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

13. Track Your Time Spent

When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

15. Prioritize

Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

16. Delegate

If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

For related work, batch them together.

For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

  1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
  2. coaching
  3. workshop development
  4. business development
  5. administrative

I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

19. Cut off When You Need To

The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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