Every spring, we can’t wait to get right into gardening. Most of us want to skip by the first step — garden prep — but it’s too important!
To help out, our pros have shared some easy tips and tricks to help you get everything from your hedges to your tools in tip-top shape this spring — in no time!
Prune easier with a kiddie pool.
Now is the time to trim down flower bushes, hedges, and small trees to remove overgrown branches and help them produce healthy blooms. However, the task can leave behind a huge mess that takes time to clean up.
To make things easier, “Place a kiddie pool beneath whatever you’re trimming,” says Jeremy Yamaguchi, CEO of Lawn Love. “The trimmings don’t fall on the ground, and you can easily gather or drag them all in one simple trip to your green waste bucket.”
Lift rust on tools with a fizzy soak.
Metal tools collected rust over the winter? The garden prep solution is as close as your pantry, assures gardening expert Lindsey Hyland, founder of Urban Organic Yield. “First, sprinkle some baking soda directly on the rusted spots, then gently pour white vinegar over it.” Let sit for five minutes before rinsing and wiping dry with a cloth. The baking soda and vinegar will react and create a fizzy solution that will lift off rust to reveal sparkling metal underneath.
Fertilize soil faster with an Epsom salt splash.
To ensure garden plants are healthy without the effort of mixing garden soil with expensive fertilizer, Emily Fernandes, gardening expert for House Grail, suggests mixing 2 teaspoons of Epsom salts into 1 gallon of water and adding it to a spray bottle that attaches to a garden hose, then giving garden beds a soak once a month during spring. The magnesium in Epsom salts aids plants in seed germination, chlorophyll production, and absorption of nutrients that help them grow.
Ward off garden pests with a soap spritz.
Pests such as aphids and earwigs can wreak havoc on a sprouting garden. To fend them off, “Just add 1 1 ⁄2 teaspoons of dish soap to a 32 ounce, water-filled spray bottle. Spray it over your plants, including the leaves,” says Fernandes. The soap dehydrates and kills bugs on contact, and it deters any future invaders.
Sidestep heavy potting soil with packing peanuts.
Large planters filled with bright blooms bring so much joy, but filling them requires lugging many bags of heavy potting soil through the yard. To limit the lugging, fill pots halfway with packing peanuts (or plastic water bottles) before topping with soil. The filler cuts the soil needed in half, provides drainage for plants, and makes pots much lighter and easier to move around.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.