18 Surprisingly Effective Gardening Tricks That Keep Away Pests, Fight Disease And Improve Your Soil
Most people who own the garden try to preserve the health of their plants with dangerous pesticides and chemical fertilizers, which is plain wrong and puts your health in great danger. Luckily for you, we have a few simple tricks that will keep your plants in shape naturally. The remedies might sound strange, but believe us when we say they work!
Improving the soil
- Bury kitchen waste in the garden
Regardless of whether you own a compost pile or not, you can bury kitchen waste in the garden to improve the soil. Make a ditch between the rows and dump the waste there, then cover it with soil to avoid the smell and flies. Plant the vegetables in that raised bed the next year.
- Adjust the pH of the soil with wood ash and coffee grounds
The pH of the soil is different according to the plant, but you should try to keep it neutral. Alkalize the soil in the asparagus patch or the vegetable beds for beet, beans and broccoli with wood ash from stoves and fireplaces, or use coffee ground if you have azaleas and roses in your garden.
- Weed tea as fertilizer
Make some weed tea to eliminate the weeds in your garden. Cut the weeds you pulled from the ground and soak them in a tub of water left in the sun. In a couple of days, you will have nitrogen-rich green tea which can be used as a soil fertilizer. Comfrey can be used in the same way to create a powerful fertilizer. You can use the whole plant for tea – its deep roots bring up nutrients from deep within the soil and provide it to other plants.
- Use your own urine as a fertilizer
As strange as it sounds, the nitrogen content of human urine ensures lush foliage growth and is best for plants like corn. Peeing directly on the plants may scorch them due to the high salt content, but peeing away from the base or collecting and diluting the pee with water is a great way to keep your plants growing.
- Vinegar as a weed killer
Vinegar is an environmentally-friendly and efficient weed killer. Pour some in a spray bottle and apply it on weeds on a sunny day, and they will be gone in just a couple of days! Sprinkle some baking soda afterwards to neutralize the acid.
- Add oyster shells and eggshells to your garden beds
Adding crushed oyster shells as well as eggshells in your garden beds is a great way of keeping your soil healthy. The calcium carbonate in the shells is alkaline, so make sure you use them around plants that require alkaline soil.
To fight diseases and infections
- Bury pennies in your garden
Bury a few copper coins in the garden to improve the health of the soil and keep your plants healthy. Copper is a well-known fungicide – when you bury a coin in your garden, it will release the metal slowly, effectively killing fungi in the soil.
- Fight fungal diseases with baking soda
Fungal infections are common problems in the garden, but fungicides are so toxic that they kill the plants as well. However, baking soda can act as a cheap and great anti-fungal spray which can be used on any plant. Mix a tablespoon of baking soda in a gallon of warm water and spray the solution on your plants and the soil around them to prevent mildew and other fungal infections.
- Neem oil
Neem oil extract can keep your plants safe from pests by acting as a repellent and preventive. The oil interrupts their feeding as well as the pests’ developmental process, making them unable to multiply. Add a few drops of detergent to a quart of water and mix it with a teaspoon of Neem oil, then spray the mixture on the foliage and soil. Repeat the process every week for best results.
- Bring in some guests to feed on the pests!
An army of pests can devastate your garden, but you can keep their numbers under control with the help of some natural enemies. Ladybug beetles and Lacewings can do the job just fine, and to compliment them, you can grow herbs and plants such as yarrow and mint which they love.
- Eliminate aphids with soap and water
These critters can colonize your plants quickly as they multiply far too fast to be exterminated. Thankfully, there is a solution – a bar of soap and some water can definitely clear mild infestations. The oil-cutting formula of soaps will remove the wax coating of the aphids, leaving their soft bodies vulnerable to dehydration. Add 2 tablespoons of soap in a gallon of water and mix well, then spray the infested plants with the solution.
- Control ants with borax and honey
Unless they make anthills and tunnels, ants are not a danger to your garden, but their aphid farms can do a lot of damage. Ants have an interest in the pests which suck plant juices and secrete honeydew, which is why they carry them to tender buds and tips of plants where they can multiply. However, you can control the aphids by controlling the ants.
To promote plant health
- Drive a nail in a tree to make it yield
Driving a nail into a tree will make it flower and fruit instantly. This is a popular practice in India where farmers drive a nail into coconut trees to make them bear fruit. This trick will also make your trees bloom, and don’t worry – the trees have a self-healing mechanism so the nail won’t hurt them.
- Coconut water for root development
Coconuts contain a clear liquid within them which is rich in minerals and improves root development. Replace the synthetic rooting hormones with coconut water to improve the germination of seeds and root developments in cuttings.
- Improve the fruit set with Epsom salt
Spray your pepper plants with some Epsom salt to make them fruit. The secret lies in the magnesium content which is an important component of chlorophyll. Add 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt in a quart bottle of warm water and spray your peppers with it until they start flowering. You can also sprinkle some Epsom salt around the plants.
- Extend the growing season with tubs of water
You can regulate your garden’s microenvironment simply with tubs of water. The sun will warm the water and soil during the day. And, while the soil will quickly cool down overnight, the water will need more time. The tubs of water acting as heat sinks will keep the garden warmer and give your plants more time to grow before winter. This method is suitable for plant tents – cover the tubs with plastic sheets to prevent evaporation.
- Rusty nails in watering can help fight iron deficiency
Iron is required for proper plant growth. Iron deficiency results in a condition called iron chlorosis, which can be seen in plants with yellow leaves and green stems. Most often the biggest problem is the inability of the plant to absorb iron from the soil which results in the condition. Excess phosphorus or high soil pH are the usual problem for this occurrence. Spraying the plants with iron-rich water can be a quick fix, but a few rusty nails in the watering can provide steady iron supply.
- Play some music to your plants
It’s a crazy idea, but playing music to your plants can have amazing results, according to numerous biologists. Plants show their affinity to music by growing better, and if the experiments by Dorothy Retallack are true, they even lean towards the source of music when they like it! Plants have been found to prefer classical and jazz music, while hating country and rock music.