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Twenty Tips and Tricks to Growing a Great Garden

Updated on April 14, 2015
Green bell pepper
Green bell pepper
Tomato hornworm
Tomato hornworm | Source

There is a wealth of tips and tricks out there for growing everything from apples to zucchini. I have compiled a list of twenty to share with you.

  1. When planting tomatoes, plant a few sprigs of dill near your plants. Tomato hornworms hate dill!
  2. Break off the head of some matches and place two in the hole for each pepper plant you plant. Sulfur aids in rooting.
  3. Next time you boil or steam vegetables, don't pitch the water. It works as an organic fertilizer for potted plants.
  4. When starting your seedlings, use egg shells instead of pots. When you plant, crack the shells and put them in with the seedling.
  5. Carrots and Tomatoes make excellent companions.
  6. Marigolds planted around your garden deter rodents like rabbits from feasting on your crop.
  7. Left over tea or coffee grounds can be used to decrease soil pH. Plants like blueberries and azaleas are acid-loving plants. Don't drink coffee? Seattle's Best, Starbucks, and Caribou Coffee typically give away used coffee grounds.
  8. Cut the tops and bottoms off of one gallon milk cartons and use them as a shroud for your pepper and tomato plants. They deter rabbits and will hold heat to allow you to plant a few weeks ahead of your neighbors.
  9. Placing crushed egg shells around plants that attract slugs and caterpillars will keep them at bay. They don't like crossing sharp ground.
  10. Want larger pumpkins? Put one end of a lamp wick into the stem between the vine and the pumpkin.Then put the other into a jar of water. Make sure your jar stays full and watch your pumpkin's growth take off.
  11. Don't spend the extra money on soaker hoses. They usually aren't very long. Instead, buy an inexpensive hose and cap the end. Use an awl to punch small holes along the hose. The first time you use it, check to make sure it isn't over watering. After that, you'll save time and money every time you use it.
  12. Don't throw away, or worse, pay to get rid of lawn refuse. Leaves and lawn clippings make great ground cover for garden plants. This will conserve water and hold down weeds. It also puts nitrogen back into your garden and builds organic content.
  13. When using leaves as ground cover, keep in mind that oak leaves break down the slowest.
  14. Plant your seedlings to the first set of leaves. They will develop roots along the buried stem giving them an advantage, especially in dry seasons
  15. To increase production of your gourd vines, cut the main leader after about 10-15 feet. This will cause it to grow more runners which is what the female buds grow on.
  16. If your looking for big pumpkins? Remove all but one or two female buds from the vine. This makes the vine focus its energy on those fruits and aids them in growth.
  17. Typically, cool weather crops like cabbage, onions, and garlic have shorter seasons. If you want to increase your harvest, plant a second stand around September. Your USDA hardiness zone and the maturity time of your crop will determine when to plant.
  18. To prevent blossom end rot in tomatoes, put a tablespoon of Epsom salts in the hole for each seedling you plant.
  19. Transplant your seedlings in the evening hours. Transplanting is very traumatic for plants, mid-day sun only compounds the stress.
  20. Subsequently, weeding is best done between 10 a.m. and 3p.m. when the sun is hottest. This applies to spraying for weeds in other areas of your property as well.

While these tips and tricks will help bring out the best of your garden, knowing your gardening basics from soil preparation to harvest is important. I have written several hubs regarding these basics to help you be successful. Use these tricks to make the neighbors (and maybe even your family) jealous of your gardening skills. Happy Gardening!

P.S. If you have any topics you'd like to know more about that aren't in my other Hubs, feel free to let me know in the comments. I'm here to help!


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