Gardening Tips And Tricks From My Backyard

By Mary Ellen Ellis | January 22, 2022
by Mary Ellen Ellis
January 22, 2022

As a largely self-taught gardener, I understand the value of learning tips and tricks from others. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. After trial and error and learning a little from reading online and my neighbors, I’ve collected a few special tips not everyone knows about. 

My Favorite Garden Tricks

  1. Free compost and mulch. I don’t make my own compost, so I was thrilled to find out my city offered free compost to residents. The city also offers mulch made from residents’ yard waste. Check with your city for a similar program to save money, especially if you don’t have the ability to make your own. 
  2. Cheap earwig trap. Earwigs seem to love eating my petunias. Perhaps worse is that they hide under my outdoor cushions and are just creepy. I learned an effective way to trap and get rid of them. Mix up a dish of vegetable oil and soy sauce to put out at night. They’re attracted to the oil and killed by the soy sauce. It’s pretty gross, but it works. 
  3. Pull weeds early. Perhaps this isn’t a mind-blowing, unique garden tip, but it’s one worth repeating often. The earlier I get out in the beds in the spring to start pulling weeds, the better the entire season goes. 
  4. Soapy, spicy water to deter nibblers. I have a lot of wildlife traversing my garden. I love them, but they tend to nibble on my hostas and other plants. While they’re young and tender, a spray of a solution of soapy water and hot sauce seems to put the animals off for a while. 
  5. Bread bag ties for trellising. I’ve tried many things in the past to tie vines to a trellis or to secure tomato plants to a cage. The easiest solution so far is to use the twist ties from bread bags. They’re free, just the right size, and easy to use and adjust. 
  6. Prioritize native plants. I can’t say that all of my plants are native, but I have learned over the years how beneficial it is to go native. Not only does it promote a healthy local ecosystem and support pollinators and other wildlife, but native plants are also just easier. They’ve adapted to grow where you live, so they need a lot less care and maintenance. 

These are some of the biggest, most important things I’ve learned about gardening over the years. Maybe they can help you garden more effectively and easily.

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