If you love to keep your garden in tip-top shape but don’t want to use chemicals, try these 10 garden hacks using items from your kitchen. From banana peels and Epsom salt to aluminium foil and dish soap, these simple tips will help to enrich your soil, deter pests, and keep plants healthy.
10 garden hacks using items from your kitchen
Cooking water from boiled vegetables and rice
The water leftover from boiled vegetables and rice is high in beneficial nutrients that promotes healthy growth when applied to plants. When you’ve finished boiling vegetables or rice, strain the contents into a bowl instead of pouring it down the drain, put it aside to cool and once at room temperature, pour it over the plants in your garden. This water will provide your plants with beneficial nutrients, including mineral ions – magnesium, calcium, potassium, nitrogen, phosphorous, starches and iron, and micro and macronutrients, NPK.
Banana peels are high in potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium, essential for plant growth and development. After eating a banana, place the peel in a jar of water. Let it soak for a few days, and then pour the water on your plants. You can also chop the peel into smaller pieces which will release more nutrients into the water.
After making yourself a coffee, put the coffee grounds to good use with this garden hack. Coffee grounds are great for enriching the soil structure with nitrogen as they are about 2% nitrogen by volume. Coffee Grounds are also not acidic. The acid in coffee is water-soluble, so it’s mostly in your cup of coffee once you’ve brewed the grounds. It’s best to add coffee grounds to your compost mixed with equal amounts of grass clippings. If you don’t have a compost bin, mix the wet coffee grounds into the soil with a nitrogen fertiliser. If you add the grounds while they’re dry, they will repel water. Adding nitrogen fertiliser with the coffee grounds is important as the grounds encourage the growth of microorganisms that use nitrogen to develop and reproduce.
Eggshells not only make excellent seed starter pots but they can be crushed up and sprinkled around the base of plants to deter slugs and snails. Eggshells are also a good source of calcium. If you need to enrich your soil with calcium, crush some eggshells and sprinkle them into the hole before planting.
After enjoying a juicy orange, save the peels to use in your garden. Oranges peels are a multi-purpose scrap that can enrich your soil with nitrogen and acid or deter pests. Shred orange peels and dig them into the ground to improve your garden soil’s nitrogen or acidity levels. To deter aphids, add orange peels to a jar and pour boiling water over them. Allow the water to cool, transfer to a spray bottle and spray on the plants.
Garlic and onion
Did you know you can use fresh onion and garlic to repel unwanted garden bugs without harming your plants or using toxic chemicals? The sulphur compounds in the fresh garlic and onions deter bugs from plants by producing an odour they don’t like. Make a spray by combining garlic and onion pieces and water in a spray bottle and spray on the plants in your garden.
Make your plants unpalatable without affecting the taste of your fresh produce or the look of the plant by using cayenne pepper powder in your homemade pest spray. Cayenne peppers have a natural chemical called capsaicin, which bugs find unappealing. Increase the potency of your onion and garlic bug spray by adding a teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder to the mix.
Epsom salt is a naturally occurring combination of magnesium and sulphate. You may be familiar with the health benefits of Epsom salt; it’s commonly added to bathwater to relieve sore muscles. But did you know this ingredient is also helpful in the garden? Epsom salt boosts plant health and vibrancy and improves a plant’s ability to produce flowers and fruit.
It’s important to test your soil first to find out what nutrients it’s lacking, but if you discover your soil is low in magnesium, you can add Epsom salts to boost this component. Roses, peppers, and tomato plants require high levels of magnesium to thrive. There are two ways you can apply Epsom salt to your plants. You can dissolve it in water and drench your plants in it, or sprinkle it over the soil and water in. Both techniques will help to produce more flowers, fruit and vibrant plants.
Wrapping an aluminium foil collar around your plants is a practical garden hack that will help to ward off unwanted pests. Many insects that crawl don’t like to cross metal. It also prevents female vine borers from laying their eggs at the base of the plant. To ward off birds, attach strips of aluminium foil to the branches of your plant or tree.
Dishwashing detergent is not only great for keeping items in your kitchen clean, but it’s a great ingredient to use in your garden to deter pests from your plants. Mix a teaspoon of dish soap with water in a spray bottle and apply to plants. The soap leaves a light, oily residue on the plant’s leaves that bugs don’t like.