Gardening may be a good way to get your yard in order and your creative juices flowing, but it can also be a chore. And if you’ve battled against pesky slugs and plant-destroying frosts, you’ll know just what we mean. There are ways to make gardening a whole lot easier, though – especially if you try any of these 40 hacks. So, pour vinegar on your soil and see what happens. You may just like the results…
40. DIY compost bin
If you don’t have a compost bin in your garden, it’s actually pretty simple to build one yourself – and with just a few materials, too. To start with, you need some 2×2, 2×4 and 2×6 wooden planks. Then, after getting hold of some hinges and chicken wire, you can finally put the box together, creating a cover at the top and a hatch at the base.
39. Nestled plant pots
Don’t worry if you think you may eventually need to relocate flowers in your yard. All you need to do is to first place your plant in a pot that can fit inside another container. Then, once you’ve inserted your greenery into the soil, you have the option to alter its position by digging the first receptacle out.
38. Lawn edging
While edging your lawn isn’t the most enjoyable job in the garden, there’s a way to make it easier. Take a 2×6 wooden plank and place it in your desired position. That way, you can use it as a guide to cut into the grass. And when you’re done, you should have a perfect line across the perimeter of your yard.
37. Makeshift watering can
If you don’t have a watering can handy, try not to fret. After all, you can create one from a plastic milk pitcher. Simply make some holes in the lid with a hot needle before filling the pitcher up, and you’ll be ready to give your thirsty plants a boost.
36. Eggshell protection
As any gardener will tell you, pests can become a huge problem if you’re not too careful. Fortunately, though, you can shield your flowers using a sprinkling of eggshells. By placing the crushed fragments around your blooms, snails and slugs will be put off, as the terrain will be too jagged for them.
35. Mini greenhouses
Not everyone has the space in their garden for a fully fledged greenhouse. However, if you’ve got a tiny yard – or just don’t want to spend more of your hard-earned cash – you could turn to a smaller alternative. Clear plastic boxes can serve as “mini greenhouses” for your flowers, soaking up the heat and sunshine.
34. Potted coffee filters
Repotting your flowers can be tricky – not to mention messy. Adding coffee filters to your containers can eliminate a lot of the hassle, though, as this should stop any drainage holes from getting blocked by soil.
33. Grow roses in potatoes
If you’ve got any spare rose cuttings in your garden, then you may want to hear this. You see, you can grow even more blooms by sticking those stalks into potatoes. Handily, the vegetables provide hydration when the roots of your roses start to come in.
32. Diapers in hanging baskets
It’s absolutely crucial to keep your hanging baskets hydrated throughout the summer months, as the heat can take its toll. Weirdly enough, though, placing a diaper into your receptacles before you plant anything will make the job a lot simpler. As anyone who’s had a baby will know, the fabric will retain water for quite a while – and this helps both the soil and the flowers.
31. Sponge hydration
When watering your plants, you need to be aware of one potential danger. Simply put, any excess fluid could result in so-called “root rot.” Adding sponges to your pots can help, though. The absorbent material will let water soak in – and it has the added bonus of keeping soil damp for a longer period.
30. Natural mosquito deterrent
Mosquitoes can be a big problem in the summer, but you can easily fend them off – especially if you have particular plants in your garden. You see, the insects hate lemongrass, lemon thyme, catnip and citronella geraniums as well as ageratum “Artist Purple” and marigold “Lemon Gem.”
29. Home-made watering hose
If you’re reluctant to use your garden hose, you can still create an alternative watering system. To do this, you need to grab a good-quality garbage can and some tubing. The can will act as a rain barrel and collect moisture when the weather turns. Using the pipe, you can then funnel the liquid out to water your plants.
28. Cardboard seed tubes
Before plants can flourish, you naturally need to look after the seeds first. And cardboard tubes could be a big help in that regard. Just place seeds into the tubes ahead of planting. You don’t have to disturb this set-up, either, as the cardboard will eventually decompose into the earth.
27. Rubbermaid gardening container
If space is an issue in your garden, Rubbermaid boxes could be the answer. Apparently, you see, they’re great for cultivating vegetable seeds. To pull this off, you just need to pierce some holes into the base of a box before scattering foam peanuts inside. Then, after covering the bottom of of your container with soil, you’re ready to go.
26. Epsom salt fertilizer
Enthusiastic gardener Taylor Peterson explained this hack to Family Handyman magazine. He said, “Like store-bought fertilizers, Epsom salt contains magnesium, which aids in seed germination, chlorophyll production and absorption of vital nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. Most plants grow better with a ratio of two teaspoons to one gallon of water per month.”
25. Wooden log planter
To help your yard stand out, why not try creating some unique planters? And a wooden log makes for a particularly striking feature. After hollowing out the center of the log, all you need to do is to add soil and either seeds or cuttings.
24. Broken pot labels
Sometimes it’s easy to lose track of what you’ve planted in the garden – especially without labels to guide you. Don’t put those broken pots in the trash, though, as they could serve as handy markers for your flowers. You just need to write the names of your blooms on the shards before sticking them into the ground.
23. Keep plants thriving with beer
As anyone with a green thumb knows, snails and slugs can be a real pain. If you’re willing to give your beer up, though, the beverage could distract these pests. How? Well, the mollusks are drawn to the beverage’s yeast content. Just add the drink to a pot and place this just under the soil to lead the creatures astray.
22. Vinegar weed killer
Vinegar may be an acquired taste, but it can be a big help in the garden if you’re struggling with weeds. Yes, the acidic solution is more than capable of wiping out any troublesome plants. To avoid getting vinegar on the flowers you actually want to grow, though, shield the targeted area with a dog cone.
21. Plastic fork protection
Even if you’ve managed to get slugs and snails away from your greenery, there’s often other animals to contend with. But, yet again, you can easily keep unwanted visitors at bay. If you partially bury plastic forks around your plants, the tines should dissuade any critters from getting up to mischief.
20. Makeshift tool bucket
After heavy use, garden tools can become pretty dirty. Luckily, there’s a unique way to keep your important implements in pristine condition. All that’s required is a bucket full of sand to store them in. You should consider spraying your shears and spades with mineral oil when you’re done in the yard, too.
19. Improve tomatoes with baking soda
Growing your own fruit and vegetables can be a pretty delicate process. And even if you come out with a decent crop, they may not always be to your liking. Tomatoes, for instance, can often end up tasting pretty acidic – not a good match for a salad. If that sounds familiar, then try sprinkling baking soda into the earth next time, as it should help your tomatoes come out a little sweeter.
18. Hydrogen peroxide
Fungal ailments or root rot can blight any flower if you’re not too careful. The solution? Just hydrogen peroxide. Specifically, you should apply a 3 percent solution of the stuff once every day to growing seeds in order to keep them healthy.
17. Newspaper weed barrier
Weeds can be hugely frustrating when they start to pop up everywhere. You can stop them from wreaking havoc pretty simply, though. Newspaper apparently blocks any troublesome growths from coming through – a handy tip once you’re done with your daily edition.
16. Invasive plant blocker
Some plants have roots that can grow out of hand – which may be problematic for any surrounding flowers. To shield your blooms, however, just use standard containers. Slice off the edge of a plastic pot and insert it into the ground around any roots that threaten to spread too far. This should essentially act as a makeshift barrier.
15. Ladder plant stand
If you’ve run out of room in your garden but still want to add more flowers, then worry not. The added levels of a ladder plant stand can ease the strain. You can even make your own if you’re feeling creative – or simply want to save a few pennies.
14. Coffee grounds pest control
After drinking your coffee in the morning, don’t throw the grounds away – especially if your garden’s attracting slugs, ants and snails. Handily, the dregs of your beverage will deter pests and so protect your flowers.
13. Save soil with old cans
Believe it or not, but you don’t necessarily need lots of soil to fill deep planters. Just add used cans and old plant pots to the base of your container. That way, you won’t have to use as much dirt, while there’s still decent drainage, too.
12. Seed-starting water bottle system
Before you plant any new seeds in the garden, know that you can improve their chances of growing by placing a used plastic bottle around them. After trimming the bottle’s base, you have a makeshift greenhouse that handily shields your budding flowers from the elements.
11. Protect seedlings with cinnamon
Like fully grown flowers, seeds too run the risk of nasty fungal conditions. But you can protect them with one simple move if you’ve got ground cinnamon in your house. A sprinkling of the spice over the soil should hold off any threats, as cinnamon has nifty anti-fungal properties.
10. DIY insect spray
Insects can run rampant during certain times of the year – and threaten the safety of your flowers to boot. So, if you’ve been battling against pests, why not try a DIY bug spray? A combination of mint leaves, garlic, dish soap, water and cayenne pepper does the job nicely when misted onto your blooms.
9. Eggshell seedling starters
If you’re concerned about the safety of your seeds prior to planting them, then help them out by placing them in old eggshells. This will give your fledgling plants access to calcium, which in turn can aid their growth. And as your seedlings come up, this makeshift pot can be buried beneath the soil.
8. Cardboard weed barrier
Without a doubt, weeding is one of the most annoying jobs that you’ll face in your yard. But you may be able to cut any pesky growths off with a bit of creative thinking. And, in fact, the solution is pretty simple. Just a layer of cardboard across your soil should hopefully prevent any weeds from thriving.
7. Honey rooting hormone
Cuttings can save you a lot of money if you treat them correctly – not least when it comes to growing your own plants. To get the best results, though, add a dash of honey. You see, the amber nectar contains enzymes that help it act like a “rooting hormone,” and this in turn should promote your greenery’s development.
6. Create a garden pond with an old tire
To make your own garden pond from scratch, you first need to grab an old tire. After that, dig a hole big enough for the tire to sit in before adding some sand to the bottom. Then, once the tire is in the ground, trim the top off, wrap it in foil and surround it with gravel and larger stones to stop this covering from coming off.
5. Cooking water fertilizer
If you cook vegetables in a pot of boiling water, don’t just drain the liquid down the sink after dinnertime. Instead, let it cool down, then use it to water your plants as a makeshift fertilizer. It’s not only very practical, but also ecologically sound.
4. Salad container greenhouse
When you pick up a salad on the go, it’s usually housed in a plastic container. Rather than getting rid of this bowl once you’re done, though, use it to create a home-made greenhouse. And provided that you pierce some air holes into the lid first, your protected seedlings should thrive as a result.
3. Citrus peel seedling starters
If you’re looking for an effective way to kick-start your seeds’ growth, citrus peel could be just what you need. After making a small opening in your peel, add some dirt and the seed itself. The fruit skin will also provide your plant with nutrients once it rots beneath the earth.
2. Chimney flue planters
To explain why chimney flue planters are worth looking at, gardener Nancy Belmont told Family Handyman, “You can put them on a deck or patio, or accent your yard wherever you like. [Just] fill the liners with gravel for drainage. [And] since the water can drain, the liners won’t crack if they freeze.”
1. Makeshift plant waterer
When you’re away for a long period, your houseplants usually pay the price. So, if you don’t have a neighbor willing to keep an eye out, just dip absorbent paper towels into some water and leave them on top of the soil. This should help keep the earth moist until you return home.
Even if you’re not a keen gardener, however, there are still plenty of ways to use up your coffee grounds. So, don’t just tip the dregs in your French press away next time you’ve finished a cup, as these ingenious tips can help make your life a whole lot easier – and for free, too.
Many of us love nothing more than getting a fix of coffee in the mornings to kick-start our days. Yet that same cup of Joe provides much more than just an injection of energy. In fact, many studies suggest that coffee can also reduce the chances of heart failure, liver cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, depression and type two diabetes. And coffee grounds are even more versatile than you might think – wait until you see what happens when you drop them down the drain…
20. Composter and fertilizer
Coffee grounds make an excellent addition to a compost pile. After all, they’re loaded with nitrogen – an essential component in helping waste matter break down. And a sprinkling of coffee granules won’t just aid the decomposing process for your garden and household waste; its powerful aroma will help to hide the stench of the compost heap.
Coffee can also be great for plants that love acidic soil, according to the website Natural Living Ideas. Roses, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, camellias and azaleas all get a boost from a fertilizer loaded with the product. You see, the brown stuff adds both potassium and nitrogen to the soil, and it gives a much-needed injection of magnesium – which all plants require to maintain health.
19. Insect repellent
And it’s not just compost that can benefit from an injection of coffee. The drink can ward pesky bugs away from your garden, too. Many insects have sensitive smell receptors, and they tend to avoid the aroma of coffee. So, if you want to keep pests such as snails, slugs and ants off your turf, sprinkle it with coffee grounds every day.
The smell of coffee grounds also becomes stronger when they are set alight. Smoke can be a sign of danger for many insects, too. So, try getting a bowl of dry, used coffee granules to smolder and then place them around your yard the next time you host a barbecue. Not only should the substance repel mosquitoes, but it is also meant to keep bees and wasps away, too.
18. Hand and foot deodorizer
Anyone who cooks regularly will be familiar with some of the lingering smells afterward. Onions and garlic, for instance, have a way of clinging to your fingers long after mealtime – no matter how many times you wash your hands. However, the website Bustle claims that rubbing your hands with old coffee grounds should remove those pesky smells in no time.
But bad smells aren’t just confined to foods, of course, and coffee offers a solution for these other items, too. Take shoes, for instance. According to the website Morning Chores, you can sprinkle some grounds inside your favorite sneakers when they’re not being worn. This should hopefully freshen them right up.
17. Wood stain
Bustle claims that used coffee grounds can also be an inexpensive and chemical-free alternative to store-bought wood stains. With this crafty alternative, the powerful smells of traditional stains can also be avoided – and it won’t cause anywhere near as much mess.
To make your own wood stain, you can follow a simple recipe using just a few basic household items. According to DIY website Family Handyman, mix a quarter cup of coffee grounds and one or two cups of vinegar in a mason jar. Then put a pad of steel wool in with the mixture and leave it to stand overnight. When the substance is ready, remove the steel wool pad using gloves and then apply the stain to your wood. The stain darkens as it dries, but they say to apply more layers to achieve the color you want.
16. Body scrub
According to Bustle, coffee grounds have the perfect texture for an exfoliator. The sandy feel apparently makes a good addition to soap to remove dead skin cells – as well as scrubbing away stubborn dirt. So painters and gardeners might benefit from grabbing a handful of coffee grounds with their soap to help remove soil or dried-on paint.
There are plenty of beauty products on the market that contain coffee as an active ingredient, too. So why not make use of your leftover grounds and prepare your own? Life-hack website Home Talk suggests mixing coffee grounds with cane sugar, Epsom salt, and coconut and peppermint oil for a luxury homemade beauty treatment.
15. Mason jar centerpiece
Why not spice up a display of decorative foliage? Instead of placing cut flowers in a vase with water, you can enhance the visual appeal by popping them in a mason jar with a mixture of soil and coffee grounds. And it won’t just look pretty: it’ll increase the longevity of the plants.
The crafty uses for coffee don’t stop there, either. If you have a child who loves playdough, for instance, adding the product to a simple homemade recipe will give the appearance of mud. According to the online publication Kids Activities, a simple mixture of flour, coffee grounds, instant coffee, salt, cream of tartar, hot water and oil is like bringing the outdoors in when the weather’s not great.
14. Air freshener
Of course, coffee has an incredibly appealing smell for many of us. And even people who don’t like the taste of the beverage are sometimes still drawn to its aroma. Well, there’s a scientific reason for that. Coffee contains a wide range of scents, from sweet, fruity and floral, to smoky and spicy – so it tickles a lot of smell receptors.
If you’re one of those people who just love the smell of coffee, then, try concocting your own air freshener with old grounds. According to Bustle, by simply filling an old spice jar with the product, your home will soon be filled with the delicious aroma of a freshly brewed cup of the brown stuff. It will eliminate any unpleasant odors that might be emanating from the bathroom, too.
13. Facial treatment
Australian beauty brand Frank Body has used coffee as the main ingredient in its products since the company first launched in 2013. The firm’s website says that as well as being a natural exfoliant, coffee also “wakes skin up from the outside.” And nowhere will that fresh glow be more visible than on the face.
But if the store-bought beauty products are beyond your budget, you can still make your own facial scrub using leftover coffee grounds and basic kitchen ingredients. According to the website Natural Living Ideas, you need to mix it with organic cocoa powder in equal parts and then add some milk or heavy cream. Then top it off with a little honey, and your skin will be glowing in no time. It’s even thought that applying coffee grounds to dark circles and puffy eyes while taking a bath will improve their appearance.
12. Worm food
If you’ve ever wondered what worms eat, the answer is lots of organic matter – dead or alive. They consume a plethora of things, including both living and dead plants, tiny animals and even excrement. And one thing worms love in particular is coffee grounds.
The little critters produce a waste matter called castings – which is considered by many to be the world’s most effective fertilizer, according to the website Worm Farm Guru. So why not leave them a little snack of coffee grounds in your garden? And you could even add worms to your compost pile to help break it down.
11. Hair treatment
Some women like to use an array of products to get their hair looking just right. But residue can build up on our locks with repeated use, and your hair can get weighed down if you use too much. Though fear not: coffee granules can apparently help strip away that build up. And according to the company Deathwish Coffee, the caffeine could encourage growth by stimulating hair follicles – creating thicker hair.
Brunettes may even gain an additional benefit from coffee-ground treatments. For instance, beauty expert Bryce Gruber from style website The Luxury Spot recommends adding a couple of teaspoons of used grounds to conditioning lotions. And as it works into her hair, she finds that the coffee intensifies her chestnut brown color. It’s also free from the harsh chemicals of artificial colorants.
10. Fix scratched wood
Vintage furniture can be a charming addition to any home. But it can end up looking somewhat drab when, say, your favorite old chair becomes a bit chipped around the edges. The good news is that there are some handy hacks that you can make use of to freshen up tired old furniture. You may already know how to seal scratches in wood using walnut oil. But coffee grounds can also help spruce it up.
The website Morning Chores claims that scratches in worn, dark wood can be disguised using a slick of coffee grounds. Simply apply them to the dent or worn area and leave for up to ten minutes. Then buff it out with a dry cloth. It won’t make the mark magically disappear, but it will help disguise it by blending the color into the wood.
9. Eliminate fridge odors
As many of us know, the refrigerator is a place that’s prone to unwanted smells. Some cheeses, for instance, can leave a pretty distinct odor. But whatever the source of the whiff, baking soda has long been used to eliminate pongs that fester in the fridge. What many people don’t know, however, is that coffee can be equally as effective.
According to Science Daily, coffee’s nitrogen-rich caffeine can help remove those bad smells from the refrigerator. Experts have found the grounds to be so effective in fighting unwanted stenches that they’ve developed a material from the substance that’s powerful enough to combat sewage smells. So, if there’s an odious whiff coming from your fridge, why not try and neutralize it with the waste from your next brew?
8. A wicked flavor enhancer
A cup of coffee can be served in many delicious ways, from a latte to an espresso. And while there are common uses for it in cooking, such as in a cake, there are also lesser-known ways to use the beverage on your food. Some of them may even surprise you.
Interestingly, coffee grounds make an excellent rub for just about any meat that you’re likely to cook up. Its acidity – when combined with savory meat – can create an extra punch of flavor. And when the grounds caramelize, it provides ideal barbecue food, as it adds a crust to the meat and helps maintain moisture. When left to marinade, too, the acids in the coffee work to tenderize the flesh – making coffee and meat the perfect partners.
7. Treat cellulite
Some think cellulite can be unsightly. Yet whether those dimples are caused by unhealthy eating habits or they’re genetically imposed, they are often extremely difficult to shift. But a 2008 study conducted in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo has claimed that coffee grounds can noticeably improve the appearance of the fatty tissue.
By applying a coffee scrub to the affected area, you see, it’s believed that the caffeine enlarges blood vessels – according to the website Healthline. And this, in turn, improves the appearance of cellulite. The caffeine may also cause the skin to become tighter by eliminating any extra water and improving blood flow. The Sao Paulo study found that cellulite dimples can be reduced by 17 percent just by using a coffee scrub on the affected area.
6. Clean out your fireplace
Fireplace and woodstove maintenance is important if these items are regularly used during the winter months. Ashes, for instance, should be cleared out periodically to improve ventilation for a more efficient burn. But it can be a messy job – especially when ash dust gets airborne. Yet fear not, because there’s a way to make the task easier using coffee grounds.
Apparently, tossing damp coffee grounds on top of cold ashes can significantly reduce the amount of dust that’s stirred up when you’re cleaning the fireplace. The weight of the coffee prevents clouds of ash becoming airborne, and this stops it from getting stuck to other surfaces, too.
5. Grow carrots and mushrooms
Amazingly, coffee has even more uses around the yard. If you grow your own root vegetables, for instance, they can benefit from an injection of caffeine. And carrots in particular are fond of the dark elixir. The website Natural Living Ideas says that mixing the seeds with dry coffee grounds will help them grow better. Not only that, but pests will also steer well clear of your crops.
Another crop that apparently thrives on coffee grounds is oyster mushrooms. According to tips website Five Gallon Ideas, you can grow them easily at home by using a five-gallon bucket of coffee grounds and the spawn of the vegetable. The mushrooms thrive on the coffee, and, the publication claimed, you could end up with “oysters as big as dinner plates” by using the hack.
4. Household cleaner
Coffee grounds can make for a cheap and simple household cleaner, Morning Chores claims. Okay, so it’s probably not recommended as a stain remover, but it can supposedly be used for shifting dirt around the kitchen. For instance, grounds can work wonders if you want to remove any stubborn dried-on food around the kitchen surfaces.
Coffee grounds are abrasive, meaning that they are very effective at removing grime. But the granules aren’t too harsh, so you won’t damage countertop surfaces. All you have to do put a handful of grounds onto a wet cloth – and voila! Just be careful to avoid any gaps the coffee can get into, otherwise it may create a stain.
3. Fabric dye
Speaking of stains, anyone who has ever spilled coffee on white clothing will know just how difficult the blemish can be to remove. So what if you were to do it intentionally? Well, if you like the golden hue of a coffee splash, or natural tones are your color, it’s possible to dye fabrics using your old grounds.
According to the website Futurity, over two million tons of chemicals are applied to fabrics every year. So as a result, the textile industry is keen to explore more environmentally friendly alternatives. And coffee grounds are precisely what Ph.D. student Changhyun Nam experimented with at Iowa State University. By extracting the dye from the coffee, he achieved different shades of brown using a variety of materials and bonding agents.
2. Make candles
There are further upcycling projects if you particularly love the aroma of a freshly brewed cup of java. For instance, you could make coffee-scented candles. With a few basic ingredients from well-known online retailers, you could have your home smelling like a quaint café in no time.
Luckily, the company Just Coffee argues that the candles are a doddle to make. With the wick glued in place in the center of a heat-proof receptacle, simply pour the melted wax into the container with the wick standing upright. Pause to add layers of coffee grounds as you go – and dust a little on top before the wax sets.
1. Unclog drains
A blocked drain or sink can, of course, be a nuisance. But sometimes cooking oils and food waste particles that run away with dishwater can build up, causing an obstruction. Calling out a plumber to fix it can be expensive, and you might not have the tools or cleaners to shift the blockage yourself. However, some say coffee grounds might help in such a bind.
Recipes of vinegar, baking soda, hot water and soap have been known to shift sink blockages. And now you can add coffee grounds to the list, Baltimore’s WJZTV claims – but you may still want to dial a plumber to double-check. It says that a mixture of coffee grounds and hot water can not only shift the blockage, but it can also remove nasty odors. Others, however, think coffee grounds will only cling to the pipework and create a hard-to-shift blockage – so approach with caution.