Updated: May 8, 2020
HEY HEEEEEY! How I cheat and make this gardening thing worth my while.
First and foremost, cardboard is your friend. IDC! IDC! Recycle/Upcycle and reap the benefits of cardboard. Especially in your garden. Here's some MAJOR benefits to cardboard.
- Cardboard is essentially "free". I mean, you pay for it when you buy items, you get it with Chinese food, they leave along side of the road... there's just cardboard everywhere, literally. And now that I've mentioned it, you'll see more over it.
I use cardboard as the multipurpose weed eater under all my raised and sectioned off gardens. Benefits... cardboard is biodegradable. It also retains moisture. And you know what else.... worms are attracted to it. We need worms.
DON'T THROW AWAY YOUR PLASTIC! In today's world, face it, we have a lot of trash as humans. Everything we buy has is trash or has trash. So next time you're about to throw away that soda bottle or grated parmesan cheese container, stop and realize you can 100% reuse that.
- Plastic bottles can be washed and reused in a numerous amount of ways. Make a green house, bird feeder, hanging potter. There's endless ways to use them. You can even build a greenhouse with all those plastic water bottles you throw away.
- Live in the city? Urban garden it! Cut the bottle in half lengthwise or just cut a rectangle in the bottle, poke some drainage holes, add soil and plant your seeds. You could also cut the sides off the bottle, poke two hole through the spout of the bottle, just below the cap and run garden twine through it. Hang it on a nail or add a S hook.
- Plastics from fruits, tomatoes, farmers markets (if you get them) are absolutely fabulous because there's no work involved. No drain holes needed to be punctured. These are also perfect for the mini greenhouse method. The cups sit perfectly on the soil over the seeded area.
Letting my water air out.
OoOoOoOoOo I cheat. I do. When I do not have a lot of rain water (because I live within a city's limits that it's illegal to collect rain water) I fill a water pail or buckets up with water from out of my spigot. I allow the water to sit one to two days out in the sun. NO MORE THAN THAT! I'll explain that in a second.
By allowing the water to sit a couple days, you are allowing the chlorine to evaporate. Chlorine causes Ph problems in your soil. It happens mainly with city water. Not so much well. If you see your soil turning "ashy" or your leaves turning white then you need to allow your water to air out.
I spruce up my soil. Yup. I add nutrients to my soil before I plant things. I add things like coffee grounds, egg shells, ripped cardboard (smaller shredded pieces so that it doesn't stop plant growth). I also add phosphates and Epson salt to balance the Ph in the soil. I also add fish fertilizer. All this is mixed into the soil 2+ days before I plant my seeds.
- Coffee Grounds - Used - have near neutral pH of 6.5 and will not affect the acid levels of the soil. SUPER rich in nitrogen. Use fresh coffee grounds if you happen to use too much Epsom salt.
- Egg Shells - The more the better. This is a super mild alternative to lime. If you have chickens and a mass of egg shells around, use them. Wash them, let them dry out, throw them in a food processor, blender or let your kids beat them up in a bag. This reduces acidity in the soil. So if you over due the coffee trying to balance out the Epson salt, toss some eggshells in there.
- Cardboard - As stated above.... free free free. Worms worms worms.
- Epson Salt - Epson salt is great for a multitude of things. First and foremost, slugs. BYE BIH! BYE! Those little devil suckers can go! They do damage. Epson salt happens to make items like citrus, peppers and tomatoes flourish. Everything could pretty much use a bad of Epson, but that specific genre love it. You'll have beefy tomatoes with just a tablespoon of Epson salt in a gallon on water.
I personally allow this mixture to sit for a couple days. That way the cardboard absorbs the nutrients and starts to break down making it easier for the plants to grow. Phosphates that I use normally come in small pellets, allowing them so sit in damp soil a few days releases the nutrients.
I store my soil in a smaller version of my compost bin. (INSERT LINK HERE) I have 4 medium sized bins, 3 of the bins have 3 large holes in them. any soil that has weeds, or been moved from a prior garden gets placed into the very bottom bucket of the stack. Even if it's a little, I leave that bit of soil down there. I have black containers so no light gets in. I let whatever is growing in there, die. Grass, clovers, wildflowers, random beans that I've been finding throughout my whole yard (INSERT RANT HERE) all go down there to die. (Normally I just transplant the beans LOL. Read the bean blog to see my anger!) Then, I place the two other bins with holes on top. I fill the 2nd (or 3rd depending if you're counting from bottom up. I am calculating top down because of the next step...) With MY nutrient rich soil. When that's filled, I place the 1st, or last, bin on top and fill it. Then i take some of my water that I have been sitting out for a couple days and pour it on top.The reason why I our the water on top is because I plat so soften, it's easier to have pre-moistened soil, takes the place of dunking when originally sowing.
Positive Thoughts. Positive Actions.