After a chilly winter, we've got our eyes on those balmy summer evenings ahead. The first step to achieving a showstopping BBQ? Garden grooming. Though compost, top soil and other plant foods can cost a pretty penny, there are loads of everyday household and food waste items that can boost your blooms.
From eggshells to matchsticks, take a look at our list of the ultimate household hacks that will get your garden shipshape in no time at all…
Hair – whether sourced from a human, dog, cat or horse – works surprisingly well as a natural fertiliser thanks to its high levels of magnesium. It can take up to two years to break down, but when used in compost, the hair can provide structural support for roots and help break up thick or clay soil.
Next time you're cleaning your hairbrush, or grooming your pet, save some for the compost heap!
Mixed with water, this makes a great acid feed. Mix a tablespoon of vinegar into a gallon of water to feed your roses and hydrangeas once per season – but make sure you test your soil before doing this, as you don’t want the pH to be too low.
Tossing banana peels right into your garden will give your plants a nice potassium boost as they break down. This will help make your plants strong and healthy, allowing them to fight off pests like aphids.
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Dry eggshells out and add them under your mulch and they will slowly break down and give your plants calcium. For even quicker results, you can grind them up and place in a small amount of vinegar overnight to break them down and make the calcium ready to be utilised by your plants. You could even give them a whirl in a food processor to sprinkle the eggshell powder!
Ash from the fireplace
Lightly coating your soil with cool fireplace ash will supply potassium and calcium carbonate, and increase the pH of your soil.
Make a mix containing one tablespoon of dried coconut powder to five gallons of water, then use this mixture once a week or every other week to add electrolytes and bacteria to the soil.
Use coffee grounds to fertilise your soil and provide your plants with antioxidants, potassium, phosphor and nitrogen – but make sure the grounds are dry, as using wet coffee can cause fungus to grow which will harm your plants.
The water you use to boil potatoes can be used to water your plants, as long as you haven’t added any salt – so think twice before tipping it down the drain!
Green tea is especially beneficial for raspberry plants, as they require a great amount of iron which green tea has stacks of. Instead of throwing away the green tea leaves you’ve used to brew your tea, simply give it to your plants.
Good, old-fashioned strike matches are a great source of magnesium, so simply place the whole match in the hole with the plant or soak the matches in water to use this as a fertiliser. The magnesium will dissolve into the water and make application easier.
To find out more information on garden maintenance and products, head to www.gardenbuildingsdirect.co.uk.