When I was barely a teenager, I found a copy of The Secret Life of Plants in either the bargain bucket at Woolworths or my parent’s attic — I can’t remember which. What I can remember, though, was being totally enthralled by this book. It’s a madcap yet fascinating investigation into the life of plants: the way they communicate with each other, how they react to music, what their environments add, everything. Sure, it was widely criticised by people in long white coats but this book has been living rent free in my mind since I first picked it up, and I think I understand why: it’s about people’s relationship with nature.
Since the beginning of history, humans have been obsessed with agriculture and horticulture and, as the population grew, so did this obsession. Fast forward to the here and now and every area of modern life is dominated by clever hacks — and gardening is no different.
So, without further ado, here are some lawn care hacks that will change the way you garden forever:
Cinnamon Powder Prevents Disease
Believe it or not, cinnamon contains a bunch of anti-fungal qualities that is able to prevent and stop diseases from spreading on seedlings. That could be your lovely new lawn or it could be that veg patch you tried to start in Lockdown 1.0. This is because most fungus needs moisture in order to spread and, in case you haven’t seen the cinnamon challenge on Youtube yet, cinnamon sucks the moisture out of the fungi. Oh and it smells great too.
Milk Bottle Watering Can
Whether you’ve just moved house, forgotten where you put your watering can or lent it to your eldest son and, well, he never brought it back (shock!), you can make your own watering can out of an empty plastic milk bottle. Simply head out to your recycling bin and upcycle the first milk carton you find by heating up a needle and poking holes in the lid so that water can flow through it freely. Easy peasy.
Coffee Can Clear Pests
If you’re anything like me, you probably can’t operate until you’ve had a steaming hot cup of filter coffee. Mmmmm. But instead of throwing the remainder of your ground coffee into the bin (or compost pile), use it to keep lawn pests like ants, snails, and slugs away by sprinkling up and down your lawn.
Treading on Eggshells
Another thing you can do to protect your plants against those pesky pests, including your lawn, is surrounding the borders with egg shells. That’s right, egg shells. All you’ve got to do is: enjoy some scrambled eggs for breakfast, coarsely crumble the shells and then create a little barrier around the plants you want to protect. That’s it. You now have an effective defense against soft-bodied pests, like snails and slugs, because they won’t risk sliding their way over these sharp and jagged shells for fear of being hurt.
Vinegar Kills Weeds
We’ve spoken about this before and we’ll write about it again: If you want to get rid of any weeds as they pop up on your lawn, simply douse them with a generous spray of vinegar. It’s the ultimate organic lawn care tip you could ever need to know.
Check Your Soil’s pH Levels
How healthy your lawn is depends on how healthy your soil is, which is why knowing your soil’s pH levels is one of the smartest lawn care moves you can make. And the best part: you can test the soil yourself using just vinegar and baking soda. Sure, it won’t tell you precisely what it is, but you’ll know whether your soil is acidic, neutral or alkaline. To check if it’s too acidic, add baking soda to a pot of soil. If it bubbles, you know it’s too acidic. To check if it’s alkaline, do the same but use baking soda instead of vinegar and check for the same reaction.
Kill Moss With Fairy Liquid
Of all the lawn care hacks on this list, turning your dish soap into an effective, eco-friendly moss killer is my absolute favourite. Simply mix 60ml of dish soap into 4-and-a-half litres of water and then fill up any old hand sprayer kicking around and,voila, you just made your own moss whacker. Now all you need to do is take your mixture outside and spray it on any patches of moss that you come across, holding your bottle just a couple of inches away as you drench the moss with your epic DIY solution.
Straight Lawn Edging
To create a perfectly straight edge along your lawn, garden or flowerbed, all you need is an old wooden plank and a straight edged spade. Once you’ve located them (or asked your neighbour if you could borrow them), simply lay the plank where you want your straight edge to go, hold it there with your foot and then push your flat spade into the ground along the planks’ edge, moving the board as and when you need to create a nice, neat, straight line.
Epsom Salt Makes Grass Grow
Like most store-bought fertilisers, Epsom salt contains a healthy amount of magnesium, which has a bunch of benefits, from aiding seed germination to boosting chlorophyll production, as well as helping your grass plants to absorb more vital nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus. To do this properly, add two teaspoons of Epsom salts to one gallon of water each month using a spray bottle. Why a spray bottle bottle? Because misting your lawn is the most effective way to help it grow. Click here for a full list of the weirdest ways to help your lawn grow