With the sun shining, we're willing to bet that a lot of Kiwi gardeners are itching to get out into the back yard and start growing new plants and landscaping their outdoor area. What's more relaxing that redesigning your garden on a hot summer's day?
Before you jump straight into it, we've put together a list of some really awesome gardening innovations that will help you cut a few corners and make the most out of your gardening.
Let us know if you try any! We'd love yo hear how you get on.
1. Biodegradable Ice-cream Cone Seed Starter
Phew! That's a mouthful. If you're planning on growing seedlings from scratch, it's usually not quite as simple as popping them outside in a pot. Most seedlings (especially leafy greens like herbs and veges) need to be nurtured in warm and humid environments, which means wrapping them in a nice, snug container. It's not recommended to take them straight to the heat of the great Kiwi outdoors right from day one.
Some people use egg cartons to do this, and some ice-cream tubs or plastic - but of course, sometimes we don't have a surplus of kitchen supplies and neither of these are entirely biodegradable. That's why using ice-cream cones is such a fantastic idea! Simply plant your seedling in the cone, and watch it quickly thrive and sprout.
2. How to Stop Indoor Plants Wilting with Rust Solution
With the heat that goes hand in hand with a New Zealand summer, you might find that your indoor pot plants are struggling to stay green and healthy and are beginning to wilt. Sometimes, no matter how much you water a plant (and there is such a thing as over watering) you just can't seem to keep it in good health!
If you notice your pot plants wilting in the heat and the leaves beginning to brown, there's a really cool solution that you can make at home. Simply add rusty nails to a bottle of water, allow the rust to dissolve into your water creating a brown solution, and pour just a little bit of the water into your plant pot.
The iron in the rust promotes oxygen, feeding the leaves and reversing the wilting and browning of your plant. Amazing, huh!
3. How to Irrigate Dry Soil with a Coke Bottle
For outdoor gardeners that don't have a fancy irrigation system set up to automatically wet the soil, working with dry and cracked garden beds can be a real barrier to a healthy and flourishing garden. Plus, with the level of heat (between 30 - 40c) outdoors, it can feel impossible to keep the soil moist below the surface.
Luckily, all you need is a lighter, a nail and an empty fizzy drink bottle and you've got a ready-made irrigation system. Heat up the nail with a lighter and use it to poke holes quite close together into your plastic bottle. Bury the bottle into the soil near where you want moisture, and fill the bottle with water. Slowly, the water will seep out of the holes (the full length of the bottle, so deep into the garden bed) and irrigate the dry turf. Plus, if you keep the lid on you can continue to fill up your bottle every few days.
4. DIY Micro-Greenhouse
With summer comes the perfect time to grow warm weather crops, and what better way to create a nice, warm environment for your plants than a greenhouse? For most home gardeners, they don't have the resources available to build a large greenhouse, or even the desire to grow enough crops to justify it - that's why a micro greenhouse for the seedling that loves the warmth is perfect.
All you have to do is plant your seedling in the correct sized pot (this is usually advised on the back of the packet or plant card) and pop the top 3/4 of a fizzy drink bottle on top of it. This way, you can manage the temperature of the plant and protect it from harsh outdoor conditions. Remember to remove the greenhouses once the seeds have germinated and cuttings are rooted.
5. How to Use Newspaper as a Weed Mat
If you've got a garden that's been left to its own devices and is looking a little worse for wear, a quick and easy solution is to cover it up with mulch. Of course, if weeds are already present in the garden, there's nothing stopping them from popping up again right through your newly laid topcoat. Frustrating, isn't it?
One solution is to purchase a weed mat, but that can be quite an expensive endeavour depending on how large your garden is. Plus if you ever come to pull the weed mat up again and plant roots have intertwined with it, you'll quickly regret laying the weed mat down in the first place.
The simple solution? Newspaper!
Lay down sheets of newspaper on top of your garden, covering any weeds (ideally pull these out beforehand or as you go) and smother with soil. You can lay the sheets strategically around the outside of any growing plants. Then, turn on the hose and wet the newspaper thoroughly, and cover in your chosen bark or mulch! Your newspaper under-layer will act as a weed deterrent.
Want to take your healthy home garden, indoors?
If you're feeling green fingered and your garden is immaculate, you might feel a little inspire to get the inside of your home up to scratch too. If you like these quick outdoor tips, you'll love our indoor suggestions!
Download our FREE healthy home guide below.