Seven Tips to Help Your Garden Flourish

By Danny Seo   |  8Comments|

Even someone who claims to have a brown-thumb when it comes to gardening can achieve green and gorgeous results with these easy gardening tips. Whether it’s digging up dirt in your own backyard or container growing on a sunny windowsill, these simple strategies will help your garden grow.

Gardening Tip #1: Reuse those packing peanuts. Container gardening is popular for folks with limited backyard space, but the large pots can be heavy to move when filled with soil and plants. Lighten the load by filling the bottom 1/3 of the pot with Styrofoam packing peanuts. It’s a great way to reuse the packing peanuts, while keeping the pots lightweight. Added bonus: The packing peanuts help prevent root rot and mildew growth.

Gardening Tip #2: Another use for the Sunday paper.
To prepare an area of the yard for your first garden, don’t spend hours tearing up turf. Reach for a newspaper instead. Place thick layers of newspaper over the section of grass you want eradicated. Place heavy rocks on top and walk away. In a few days, the grass will die off due to lack of sunshine and will make prepping the ground much easier for tilling and gardening. Bonus tip: Pour boiling water onto weeds and grass to speed up the process.

Gardening Tip #3: Plant a smelly sneaker.
Deer and other wild animals may find your vegetable and flower garden to be irresistible. Instead of erecting cumbersome fencing or using smelly sprays, try leaving a very used gym sneaker in the garden instead. The strong scent of humans is a natural way to scare off wild animals.

Gardening Tip #4: Use organic insecticides and herbicides. Using chemical sprays to control insect and invasive weed growth in the garden is passé. Try a natural product that uses a blend of sweet-smelling essential oils to target insects and weeds but is safe to use around children and pets.

Gardening Tip #5: Recycle cans. Instead of pitching used soup cans in the garbage, use the can opener to cut off the top and bottom of the can. Little seedlings can be protected in the garden by the metal sleeve. When the plant has grown large enough, remove the metal sleeve and recycle as you normally would in your curbside bins.

Gardening Tip #6: Use paint stirrers as garden markers. An easy and free way to know what’s growing in your backyard is to recycle free wooden paint stirrers into garden markers. Just write the plant’s name on the top of the stirrer with a permanent marker and insert into the ground.

Gardening Tip #7: Repurpose compost. Use eco-friendly tools like a mulching lawnmower to reduce waste. Repurpose grass clippings and compost to naturally feed the soil in your yard. Mulching (covering the soil with organic or inorganic compost) is a great way to help conserve water and prevent soil diseases from contaminating plants.

By following these gardening tips, you should be well on your way to a bountiful harvest!

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8 responses to Seven Tips to Help Your Garden Flourish
  1. I LOVE this post! I just planted a whole bunch of organic veggies in containers on my deck, and I wish I had read this first. I almost ran out of soil yesterday, and the packing peanuts would’ve come in handy. Thank you! :0)

  2. I’m not a fan of the packing peanuts method b/c when you’re ready to reuse the pot or soil, the peanuts are a bear to separate in order to dispose of properly. They are generally styrofoam (the corn ones will dissolve) and shouldn’t be mixed with dirt. Also don’t like the idea of the chemicals constituting the peanuts to mix with the soil for my organic plants. Broken terra cotta pot pieces can help create space in the bottom of a pot. Thanks for the great tips!!

  3. Great tips! We had a ton of success last year with our organic garden! We just planted for this season a few weeks ago and it is already thriving! I love enjoy my own produce!

  4. I do a blend of techniques – you can use the packing peanuts/styrofoam packing with a circle of shadecloth or old fly screen wire separating it from the soil so that they are easy to separate later. I do this only for pots containing decorative plants and flowers, not food plants as I also don’t like the idea of mixing chemicals that may outgas with my food plants. Also use the terra cotta – but often don’t have enough broken ones + they are heavy. Thanks for all the great ideas :)

  5. Thanks for the tips. #1 is especially helpful since I do a lot of urban gardening. Not only that but I never know what to do with all of packaging peanuts that are sent my way.

  6. zach said on May 27, 2010

    Nice tips.
    But is hard to find time to do some serious gardening.

  7. These are the greatest! I already did the packing peanuts(learned it from my Grandma) and the paint stirrers, but the rest are going to be so helpful. Did you just come up with these? They are brilliant. I can’t wait to get started on my garden this year. I usually try to grow what tastes the best, but I’m going to try to add some style this year and these tips are going to help a lot. Thanks so much!


  8. re: those nasty packing peanuts…I fill empty mesh bags (like the ones onions come in) with the recycled peanuts and place the bags in the bottom of the planter. Then when the pots need to be emptied into the compost you just shake the dirt off of your peanut bag and they are ready to re-use next year…no mess!