When you talk about the work of gardeners, you think about digging, planting, weeding, and making spur of the moment trips to the Farmers Coop, Home Depot or some such place. Those shopping trips can range from fertilizer, soil, tools – and more plants. Of course there is a price to pay at the check-our counter.
Or, you can take the suggestions of Gardening Hacks, a small book by Jon VanZile (Adams Media $15.99) with over 300 Time and Money Saving Hacks. It is useful for people who are not practiced gardeners, and for gardeners who would enjoy the simplicity of many of these hacks.
Starting last year the whole country has been running off to garden nurseries and stores to buy plants and proper tools. After shopping and driving home novices often find they need another tool or fertilizer or container. Instead of making frequent trips to the store, we can read up on all the Gardening Hacks and see what would be easy and practical – or satisfying fun.
The book is divided into five short and clear sections that covers the needs of seeds, seedlings and cuttings as well as tools, pests, and harvesting. Three of the sections are devoted to different kinds of gardening – outdoor, indoor and container gardening.
It is planting time right now. Want to mix up your own seed starter soil? Number #27 will give you all you need to know – peat moss, coconut coir, perlite and vermiculite is all you need. It’s fun and a money saver. We can turn milk jugs into plant covers (#45), propagate succulents from their own leaves (#50) and embrace air layering to propagate large plants (#63).
Many of us don’t have big yards to fill with shrubs and flowers. Even in small spaces there are ways to have beautiful plant arrangements in containers. You can even create your own pots, recycled culverts (#77) and terra-cotta chimney flue liners (#81). Transform your old sinks and tubs into amazing planters (#89) and you’ll have sturdy and inexpensive pots.
Create a water wick to keep your plants watered while you are away (#106) and make your own fertilizer tea from compost (#111). There is a lot more to learn about container gardening.
Happily there is lots of gardening to do outside. Make a tomato trellis from string (#155). I wish I had known about this idea. Some ideas are familiar: water the garden early in the morning to conserve water (#168); mulch to grow better plants (#178) ; and convert old wine bottles into planting bed edging (#186). At our house we call those wine bottles our hose-minder which keeps the hose away from the plants. An extra idea that pleases me is to keep a photo record of your plant labels in an album! (301).
Indoor gardens can take you into whimsy like fairy gardens (#229) or turning an aquarium into a water garden (#235).
Finally, we come to information about tools, tips and harvesting. I never knew one could put an apple in a bag with tomatoes – to make the tomatoes finish ripening (#278). I never considered to making my own pesticide by taking a garlic bulb, a small onion, cayenne and water and putting it all through a blender (#285). There is also a fascinating recipe for making Bokashi composting (#346).
Gardening Hacks is the kind of book that is a lot of fun, and makes your garden a better and richer place. The gardens are already showing shoots of green. It’s time to get to work . Enjoy it!