Spring is in the air and it’s time to get back into the garden. This year, why not aim to have a breathtaking, heart stopping, truly inspirational garden – filled with a rainbow of blossoms, plants of all varieties, and the hum of bees and butterflies?
Sounds like a lot of work – but it doesn’t have to be. With these 20 all-natural tips and tricks, you can have the garden you’ve always wanted without breaking the bank…or your back!
1. Learn about Companion Planting
Key to a fuss-free organic garden is the traditional concept of companion planting. It’s defined as the planting of different crops beside each other in order to control pests, attract beneficial bugs and wildlife, encourage pollination, maximize the use of space, and to increase the flavor and productivity of food crops.
Companion planting is incredibly simple to implement in your garden – but you have to know which crops work well together.
Learn 28 of the best companion planting combinations to enjoy the most efficient and beautiful garden this Spring.
2. Plant Perennials
Plants come in two main types: annuals, which last just a single year; and perennials which live for several years, blooming, dying and re-appearing the following year. (One exception is the biennial, which lasts two years).
If you plant annuals, it will involve backbreaking work at the start of each growing season. On the other hand, perennials keep on giving so, for minimal fuss and yet a beautiful garden choose perennials!
Eye-catching and colorful perennials include veronica, Russian sage, purple coneflower, peonies, Siberian iris, daffodils, hardy hibiscus and chrysanthemum.
You can also plant perennial fruits and veggies – here are 20 of the best.
3. Use an ‘Automatic’ Wine Bottle Waterer
This is the perfect ‘cheat’ for those who don’t have time to water their garden more than once or twice a week – upcycle empty wine bottles into automatic waterers!
Just fill the wine bottle with water, quickly flip it upside down and push the open end of the bottle into the soil. Depending on how hot it is, this nifty method can save you several days of watering. Use it on container plants, seedlings, and even in extra sunny areas of the garden as a back-up watering system.
Hide the bottles behind larger plants and pick only green or brown wine bottles to better blend into the landscape. You’ll never have to worry about thirsty, withered blooms again!
4. Try Container Gardening
Even those with small gardens (or just patios) can be a contender in the world’s best garden category this Spring … thanks to container gardening!
With this method, you have better control over your growing conditions and soil quality; you save on time, space and water; and harvesting is simple. Get started container gardening today.
5. Grow Big & Beautiful Roses
Roses lend a certain elegance to any garden – whether you plant them in beds or have them climbing up a trellis – and are a must for garden lovers. There’s a price to pay for their beauty though – they’re one of the trickiest flowers to keep thanks to their sensitive nature.
However, the Chinese have been growing roses organically for 5,000 years – so it can be done. Choose a hardier variety of rose, plant it in a sunny position with plenty of water and nourishment and you’re halfway there. Here are 11 tips to growing the biggest and most beautiful roses without resorting to chemicals.
6. Use Homemade Potting Soil
Containers and plant-pots dotted around the garden add color, movement and texture. One way to ensure the plants in the pots grow to be as big and beautiful as possible is to make your own potting soil.
Keep in mind that a potting soil is only as good as the ingredients that go into it. Make yours organic and fill it with high quality ingredients that work for the plants you wish to pot. Check out this post for tips on making your own.
7. Make ‘Garden Gold’ Compost
Improving soil quality is one of the most effective ways to ensure your garden is the envy of the neighborhood. Feed your soil with a homemade compost of the highest quality and your garden will thrive. Here is all you need to know about composting.
8. Add Variety with a ‘Pot-in-a-Pot’
Variety is the spice of life! Add some variety to your garden with this clever ‘pot-in-a-pot’ trick. Simply bury large pots in the soil, and then place a smaller pot containing a flower or plant, inside it. This allows you to remove the smaller inset pot when you fancy a change, and replace it with another plant. Surround the buried pots with mulch.
This method keeps the garden extraordinarily tidy, and consumes less water. The pots prevent the herbs or plants from getting out of control, and the mulch keeps unwanted weeds and pests at bay. Perfection!
9. Raise Your Beds
Another way to build an eye-catching Spring garden is to create varying ‘levels’. This can be achieved by planting different types of trees, shrubs and flowers, and through container gardening – but raised beds are another option which have several benefits.
They allow for better drainage, better weed control and better pest control. If you choose the right plant, the flowers at the edge of the beds will trail over the sides in an incredibly charming way.
Want to know more about raised bed gardening? Check out this post.
10. Attract Beneficial Bugs
Turn your garden into a hive of activity with bright butterflies, busy bees to pollinate and hardworking beneficial insects which will eat up all of the garden pests that are wreaking havoc on your plants!
For starters, add stepping stones and rocks to provide shade and hiding places, leave out a source of water on hot days, stop spraying pesticides and get rid of that bug zapper. Check out these other tips too.
Next, you’ll want to plant some colorful flowers and shrubs to attract these tiny gardeners and encourage them to do your work for you. Butterflies love these 30 beautiful plants and bees are attracted to these 20 stunning flowers.
11. Deal With Pests Naturally
Numerous garden pests can cause all sorts of harm to your precious plants – from sucking out their nutrients to eating their leaves. All of this leads to some very unhealthy looking plants.
Don’t reach for the pesticide spray though as it is laced with toxic chemicals. Instead, practice some natural ways to repel these garden nightmares.
12. Use Kitchen Waste Wisely
Accomplish two tasks at once – reuse your kitchen waste and help your garden bloom! Even if you don’t have a compost pile, you can still bury all your kitchen waste between the plants to offer extra nourishment.
Crushed eggshells make a slow-release fertilizer, a pest deterrent and more. Coffee grounds can be used around acid loving plants like azaleas, hydrangeas, rhododendrons, camellias and roses; while banana skins can be used in the garden in a variety of ways.
13. Keep Epsom Salts on Hand
Did you know that Epsom salts can be used for so much more than just personal care? In the garden, they improve seed germination and nutrient absorption, prevent leaf curling, encourage richer green leaves and aid in the flavor of fruits and vegetables.
Here are more reasons to use Epsom salts for your gardening needs.
14. Get Your Lawn in Tip-Top Shape
A perfect green lawn creates a serene and beautiful landscape and sets the tone for your whole garden. But lawns are important for more than aesthetics – a healthy lawn contributes to the greater environment.
It provides runoff control and water purification, it helps breathing as it traps more than 12 million tons of dust and dirt, it cools the yard and it emits oxygen – important for both healthy plants and healthy humans.
From mowing, to watering and feeding, these 12 organic lawn tips will ensure you boast the greenest and most natural lawn on the block.
15. Kill or Eat Your Weeds!
Maintain the quality of your crops and integrity of your soil by using only natural weed control techniques which are both environmentally friendly and wallet friendly.
Even better, they usually only require one or two common household ingredients. For example, you could try killing the weeds with salt, vinegar, boiling water or one of these other methods.
Of course, depending on the weed, you could always pick them and eat them – many edible backyard weeds have a surprising number of health benefits.
16. Don’t Overwater
While under-watering your plants and leaving them thirsty isn’t a good idea, overwatering is just as bad and is a common mistake made by novice gardeners!
Over-watering causes the plant to drown, and the roots can’t absorb the oxygen they need for the plant to breathe. Moist environments like this also lead to mildew, mold, fungus, and root rot.
If you notice your plants have a pale yellow or green color, and are soft or drooping, then ease up on the hydration.
17. Fight Fungus with Baking Soda
If your plants do develop a fungal infection, from overwatering or for another reason, try a little baking soda – that simple household ingredient that has so many uses.
When you see fungus attack, turn to this quick fix: just add three tablespoons of baking soda to a gallon of warm water and mix well. Spray on the afflicted plants once a week – causing that unsightly mildew to disappear.
18. Rotate Your Vegetables
To ensure healthy looking fruit and vegetable plants, and a high yield, practice crop rotation – one of the oldest farming techniques.
This ensures that pests and diseases are kept to a minimum, and stops the soil becoming depleted in certain areas.
Simply plant your crops in this order, and each year shift them one space: tomatoes, peas, cabbage, sweet corn, potatoes, squash, root crops and beans.
19. Use Essential Oils
Essential oils aren’t just used therapeutically on people and pets for conditions like stress and anxiety, eczema, hormonal imbalance, and aches and pains, but they can be safe and effective remedies for a lot of garden ailments too!
You can use them to discourage pets from treating your flower beds as a litter tray, attract pollinators, discourage vermin and deal with fungus and pests. In fact, here are nine clever ways to use essential oils for a beautiful garden.
20. Give Aquaponics a Go
Want to maximize the growth potential of your vegetable garden in a fraction of the time? Then Aquaponics is for you.
It combines growing plants with keeping fish to grow 10 times the food in half the time! While initially you have some start up time and costs, once the system is up and running there is little regular maintenance involved.
Here is a guide to get you started with aquaponics.