How to Get the Most out of Your Garden
Let Your Plants Work for You
Plant rosemary, bee balm, yarrow, heather, rockcress, hollyhock, and lavender to attract insects that pollinate your plants AND eat bad insects that harm your crops (rosemary and lavender—due to their strong scent—as well as yarrow—due to its texture—have the added benefit of repelling deer).
Plant winter squash not only to provide delicious produce but also to discourage weeds from growing in the garden during the off-season.
Organize Your Garden
Plant your garden on a south-facing slope to extend your growing season.
Plant taller plants on the north side of the garden and shorter plants on the south side to avoid problems with shade.
Planting in rows is not necessary. The best use of space is planting in square or rectangular sections with plants as close to each other as possible and walkways among them that give access to the plants.
Unroll a roll of RV or marine toilet paper—it dissolves easily—across a long, flat surface such as a floor, place seeds at the interval specified on the seed packet, and roll back up. Unroll in the furrow of the garden, dampen with a watering can or mist with a hose, and cover with dirt.
Upcycle, Recycle, and Repurpose
- Make a rain barrel out of a 40-gallon garbage can.
- Put used coffee grounds around your plants. They like the stimulation as much as you do!
- Use a gallon or half-gallon jug with tiny holes in the lid as a homemade watering can.
- Use a diaper as a liner underneath the soil in a coir fiber planter. It retains water longer and prevents the water from seeping through.
Repurpose yogurt or pudding cups as seed starters by filling them with potting soil and placing a seed into an indention made with your finger. Lightly cover with soil and keep moist. Write the name of the seedling on a plastic spoon or knife inserted into the soil, handle side down.
Don’t Waste a Thing
To test old seeds to see if they are still viable, put a paper towel on a plate, moisten it with some unchlorinated water, and place a dozen or so seeds on it. Keep moist for a few days and see if they sprout.
For a few dollars, modify a gutter downspout to empty into a rain barrel, ensuring a constant supply of rainwater.
Refuse water from pasta or vegetables is great to use for houseplants.