1. If you have chickens, let them till and fertilize your soil for you in the early spring. Pen them in your garden using stakes and chicken wire for a few hours each day. They will eat bugs, till your soil, and provide excellent fertilizer.
2. There are lots of plants you can grow from kitchen scraps – green onions, ginger, garlic, just to name a few.
3. If you have citrus trees, don’t let them fruit the first year. Pinch the buds off. The thinking is that this will allow the tree to focus on growing hearty roots, stems, and leaves the first year, and the fruit production will be stronger in the long run.
4. Collect eggshells in your fridge. When you’ve got a container-full, crush them by hand or powder them in a blender or grinder, and sprinkle them around the base of your tomato plants and other veggies. They will give your soil a calcium boost at no cost to you!
5. Plant those tomato plants deep! You can plant your tomato plants down up to the first leaf, and the stem will develop roots all along it.
6. Pick up a bag of diatomaceous earth. This stuff is a natural killer of insects like ants. I had a fire ant pile growing in my garden, so naturally, I didn’t want to put boiling water OR nasty chemicals on it. I sprinkled some of this stuff on the ant pile, and it was gone within a week… may take a few days of sprinkling if it’s a big ant pile, and it doesn’t work when it’s wet.
7. Plant herbs like Pennyroyal, basil, catnip, mint, and citronella can help to ward off mosquitos, ants, flies and other insects. I love the smell of Pennyroyal, and it is also used to make potpouri, but be careful with where you plant it — eating too much of it can be harmful, especially to children and pets.
8. Did you know that planting peppers and marigolds near tomatoes can help ward off tomato pests? Planting dill near cucumbers is great for the cucumbers, too! Although it takes a little more planning, try to companion plant your garden.
9. Having a problem with cut worms? Try adding a simple cutworm collar.
10. Figure out the right size garden for your yard. Deciding the right size, shape, and type of garden you need for the amount of space you have, your budget, and the amount of time you can afford to spend tending your garden can help you plan out your garden realistically.
These are just a few of the things I’ve learned since I started gardening. There are still heaps of things for me to learn, but for now, I hope you find these hints helpful!