We know you want the garden to look it’s best in time for family BBQs and those relaxing summer evenings. But, naturally, you don’t want to break the bank buying expensive compost and weed killers. We’ve put together a list of cheap DIY gardening hacks that will have your garden looking lush without going over budget. Try these at home and watch your garden start blooming into life.
Plus, we’re giving you the chance to win a £30 Amazon voucher to help you get stuck into the gardening now the suns coming out. To enter, tell us one of your great gardening hacks in the comments below! This competition ends Friday 5th April at 12:00, so make sure you tell us your gardening tips in time!
Keep away the pests with household items
Don’t bother with nasty chemical mixes to keep away those slugs and snails. Use everyday household items like coffee grounds, grapefruits and eggshells for cheap, easy and eco-friendly solutions which discourage, but don’t kill pests. Scattering used coffee grounds in your flowerbed deters slugs and snails, as does putting grapefruit skins around your plants.
To use a grapefruit, cut it in half and place it upside down to protect your plants. You can also use crushed eggshells to keep the pests away as they will make the soil too rough for slugs and snails to navigate over.
As a bonus, eggshells will give your soil a nice calcium boost and coffee is an ideal fertiliser. Mix ground coffee beans and eggshells into your soil to give your plants a boost while keeping away those pesky pests.
Try this Natural DIY Insect Repellent
Keep insects and pests at bay with this simple, homemade insect repellent from Savoo’s very own Matt Jones, Content Manager and resident gardening enthusiast. It’s all-natural, made with a mixture of garlic, chillies, oil and a dash of washing-up liquid.
It couldn’t be easier to make. First, chop up two bulbs of garlic and three chillies. Put the garlic and chillies in a blender, add a cup of water, a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil and a little washing-up liquid to finish. Then just strain it into a squirty bottle using coffee filter paper.
Spray on the affected plants and vegetables to get rid of aphids, beetles and other annoying bugs that have been munching at your garden. Not only is it cheap and easy to make, but it also smells great and is chemical-free.
Alternatively, National Trust gardener Heloise Brooke recommends diluted Ecover washing-up liquid to kill aphids and other pests. If you’re buying it to wash your dishes with anyway, try spraying it on the garden as a handy multipurpose household essential.
Kill weeds fast with vinegar
As we discovered in our DIY Spring Cleaning Hacks blog, vinegar is an amazing, budget-friendly must-have for household chores. Not only can it clean just about everything, but it also acts as a natural, eco-friendly weed killer.
However, it’s such an effective weed killer it kills every plant it touches, so make sure you don’t use it on a windy day! Wait for a dry, sunny day and spray onto weeds; in just two or three days they’ll be gone! However, make sure you don’t spray too much as it could make the soil infertile – just a light spray will be more than enough to do the job.
If it’s an area where you never want weeds to grow, such as your path, a thick salt water solution will do the trick to keep the area clear. But be careful, nothing will ever grow there again, so make sure it doesn’t reach your flowerbeds!
Create your own DIY compost
It might sound like a lot of work, but in fact, making your own compost is as easy as can be. Put an old plastic bin in the garden and gradually add your household waste to make a rich and effective compost.
Add garden waste such as grass cuttings, weeds and prunings, as well as kitchen waste and leftovers like raw veg, used coffee granules, banana peels, apple cores, eggshells and teabags.
Give it an occasional mix and add some water now and again (or, even better, leave the lid a bit open to allow rainwater to filter in) and you’ll have a fantastic homemade compost. Add to your flowerbeds and your plants will look gorgeous and lush in no time.
Make your own budget watering can out of a carton
There’s no need to shell out for a watering can. Make your own out of an empty four-pint milk carton. All you have to do is carefully heat up a needle with a match and then poke the needle several times through the lid to make holes for the water to get through.
Fill the carton with water and screw the lid back on and there you have it – a DIY watering can. It’s super easy to make, will last for ages and barely costs a thing.
Attract butterflies with a homemade butterfly feeder
Encourage more butterflies to your garden by making a quick and easy butterfly feeder with just a jar, string, a sponge and some sugar water. Simply whip up some butterfly food by mixing nine parts water and one part sugar and boil until the sugar has dissolved.
Next, make a small hole in the lid of your jar using a hammer and nail. Then cut a strip from your sponge and feed it through the hole so it has half on each side of the lid. Put your butterfly food into the jar and screw on the lid. Then use the string to hang the jar upside-down in the garden. Butterflies will come from far and wide, helping to pollinate your garden and keep it looking colourful and bright.
Keep your plants watered for longer
If you’re a fan of indoor or potted plants but find yourself forgetting to water them, try rolling up some paper towels into a tight roll. Dip the ends in water and lay the roll beneath a row of potted plants (the kind with holes at the bottom). As the paper towels slowly absorb the water, they’ll spread it evenly over their surface for your plants to enjoy, so even if you forget to water them for a few days they’ll be kept happy.
Alternatively, put one end of the towel into the pot and the other end into a glass of water, so whether you’re on holiday or just forgetful your plants will stay green and well-fed.
Another great trick is to put a fresh nappy at the bottom of larger plant pots before adding the soil. They’ll help retain water to keep your plants looking fresher for even longer.
Create your own mini greenhouses
Rather than throwing away your used plastic bottles, cut them in half and put them over your growing seedlings to create recycled mini greenhouses, protecting your seedlings from harsh weather conditions and pests.
Use eggshells or lemons as seedling starters
Got some new seedlings? Create a perfect, natural home for them with items from your everyday grocery shopping, such as eggshells or citrus peel. Simply crack the egg in half, drain, and poke a hole in the bottom for drainage. It’s the same process for citrus planters – just get a lemon or similar, cut it in half, empty the fruit bit so you’re left with just the peel and poke a hole in the bottom.
Add the soil and your seeds and water regularly. Not only do these cheap seedling pots give the seeds a nutrition and calcium boost, but they’re also biodegradable, so when your plants are ready to be moved outdoors you can plant them with their eggshell or citrus pot as well.
Bonus tip: For a better chance of your plants taking root, soak the seeds in warm water for 24 hours before planting them. This will encourage them to grow faster and stronger, meaning you’ll get your money’s worth.
Reuse cooking water as a free fertiliser
If you’ve been steaming some vegetables or boiling an egg, make sure you don’t throw the water away! Keep it until it’s cooled down and pour it onto your plants. The water will have soaked up nutrients from your veggies and eggs which will give the garden an added boost.
Have you got any gardening hacks we’ve missed? Let us know in the blog comments below to enter our competition to win a £30 Amazon Gift Card. Use your prize to treat yourself (and your garden) to some great new tools, bulbs and gardening goodies. Competition ends Friday 5th April at 12:00, so don’t miss out!
You’ll find even more fantastic gardening essentials for less by exploring Savoo’s home and garden vouchers. Happy gardening everyone, we can’t wait to hear all your gardening tips and tricks!