Updated: Jan 23
It's that time of year again where many of us dive into our local nurseries or make nurseries out of our south-facing windows. We're itching to get outside and beautify our spaces and pour our energy into the soil so that it may give us something in return, be it food or ornamentals. Below are a few earth-friendly tips that can help your gardens flourish!
Use eggshells to make seedling pots
Save those eggshells when you’re done making breakfast and use the eggshell halves to start seedlings.
Eggshells are completely biodegradable so you can plant the “pot” with the sprouted seedling emerging from the egg. As the eggshells break down, they will add beneficial nutrients to the soil.
To harvest the eggshell, hard boil some eggs and chop off the top with a sharp knife. Use a clean spoon to scoop out the egg from the shell. Boil the eggshells in water, then set them aside to let them dry.
When you’re ready to plant, use a pencil or pen to puncture a small hole in the bottom of the shells to help them drain. Fill the shells with potting mix and plant your seeds.
Use an empty egg carton to support the eggshell pots and water them regularly until they sprout. Once your seedlings have sprouted and are ready to plant, crush the whole shell gently then plant the sprout still in the shell right onto the soil.
How to make organic, DIY fertilizer tea
Raise strong, healthy plants by giving them a regular dose of fertilizer tea.
To make fertilizer tea at home, you will need some leftover eggshells and table scraps like banana skins and coffee grounds. Combine the ingredients and process everything in a blender.
Add several cups of water and blend again. Pour the blended mixture into your watering can and add water to fill it. Pour the fertilizer onto plants in your garden and pots for healthier crops.
Take care of your gardening tools
Clean your gardening tools when you’re done using them to ensure that they last long.
Keep metal digging tools clean with an oil and sand mix. First, fill a large pot with sand. Next, pour and vegetable oil over the sand.
Mix the oil into the sand. When you’re done using a digging tool, insert it into the oil and sand mix. The sand will keep the tools clean and the oil will help prevent rust.
Follow these general tips to keep other gardening tools clean:
Always rinse digging tools with a garden hose. Use a wire brush or putty knife to get rid of dirt or mud that’s stuck on your tools.
Give pruners or shears a quick scrub with a nail brush and soapy water.
Thoroughly dry gardening tools with a towel or rag.
If your tools are exposed to diseased plants or pest-infected soil, give them a quick soak in a diluted solution of two cups household bleach mixed with one gallon of water. Rinse the tools in plain water or wipe with a cotton pad soaked in rubbing alcohol.
Use disinfecting wipes to remove sap, bacteria and fungus on tools.
Store all gardening tools in a dry, well-ventilated shed or garage.
Non-toxic weed killer
Keep your home garden free of chemicals and weeds with this DIY non-toxic weed killer.
Combine a pint of vinegar and two tablespoons of salt. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice and a teaspoon of dishwashing soap. Stir to combine and pour into a spray bottle.
Spray the mixture on weeds on a still, sunny day. Apply regularly until the weeds die out.