For gardeners, no time of year quite compares to the joy of spring. A season of transformation, rejuvenation and growth, there is no better place to spend the spring months than out amongst the nature of your back or front yard.
Spring provides an excellent opportunity to seed all manner of plant life, with the increased sun and warmth ideal for growing a huge variety of flowers, fruits and veggies. It’s also the perfect time of year to try new ideas in your garden, with conditions ripe for experimentation.
Here are six fun and clever gardening hacks that any adventurous gardener can try out this spring.
Save your cooking water
Spring is a peak growth period for a huge amount of plants, with the residual moisture of winter and the gradually warmer conditions combining to allow your plants to explode. As such, it can be the perfect time of year to fertilise your garden. But rather than rely on store bought granular fertilisers, why not fertilise while you water?
Cooking water – from steamed/boiled vegetables, poached eggs or pasta – is loaded with nutrients, and may provide just the nutrition your hungry plants are after. Rather than tip it down the sink, pour the (cooled) water onto your plants instead!
Makeshift watering systems
With the improving spring weather will come the temptation to spend some fun weekends away. But neglecting your plants isn’t ideal at this important time of year. A makeshift watering system may be the answer.
Upend a water-filled bottle, burying it ¾ deep in the soil near your plants. This will slowly release the water over the period of a few days.
For pot plants, put a glass of water next to the plant, then roll a sheet of paper towel up as tightly as you can. Put one end into the glass of water (ensuring it hits the bottom) and the other into the pot plant’s soil. Over the course of a week or two, the paper towel will slowly drip feed the plant!
Scraping soap under your nails
An occupational hazard of spring gardening is the grit, grime and soil that works its way underneath your nails. To avoid this, simply scrape your nails on a bar of soap prior to gardening. This will create a barrier against dirt, and also make washing your hands post-gardening even easier.
Turn potatoes into roses
Early spring is an ideal time to plant rose cuttings. The weather is mild, the sun becomes more generous with its rays, and there is still a healthy amount of moisture in the soil. But to give your rose cuttings the best chance of success, the humble potato may be of assistance.
Take your rose cutting and push it into a potato, and then plant the combination. The potato will keep the cut stem moist, provide it with nutrients, and give it the perfect start in life.
Soak your seeds before planting them
Soaking your springtime seeds prior to planting can reduce germination time by a huge amount. This tip is an oldie but a goodie, with many new gardeners unaware of the practice. It works in two ways; firstly, a seed has evolved to be treated rough before finding an appropriate place to germinate and soaking helps to break down its natural defences, and secondly, moisture is the major factor in determining when a seed germinates – excess moisture will kick the seed into action.
Be careful not to over-soak your seeds – for most, soaking for around 24 hours prior to planting will suffice.
A sugared sponge to feed butterflies
One of the joys of springtime is the explosion of life that you see in your backyard. Why not actively spur it on? Attracting wildlife to your garden has fantastic benefits for your plants, with things like cross-pollination and fertilisation helping to create a vibrant and healthy ecosystem.
Attracting butterflies to your yard is easy. Simply soak a fresh kitchen sponge in sugar water, then use a piece of twine to hang it from a tree or shrub!
Gardening in spring is the joy of many a homeowner’s life, but by being clever about how you do it, you can minimise the work and maximise the fun!
If you’ve got any spring gardening hacks of your own, the team at McKays would love to hear them!