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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 September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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