14 Simple Gardening Tips

by Merissa on March 20, 2017

in Gardening 101

14 Simple Gardening Tips that you need to try!

Simple Gardening Tips

Gardening season isn’t far off now! If you’re anything like me you’ve already ordered your seeds and are ready to go, just waiting for the right time to get them in the ground. Today I  have 14 simple gardening tips to help this year’s garden be your most successful! Of course, my Gardening and Preserving Journal can also help you make your garden (and subsequent harvest) the best it can possibly be so I would highly recommend checking that out as well.

14 Simple Gardening Tips

Know When to Plant Your Seeds
Some seeds require you to start them inside, especially if you live in a northern zone. Knowing when to start your seeds, whether indoors or in the ground, is an important tip for a successful garden. Keep those seedlings safe, and growing, with a little reading and research. Most of the time the key to success is just reading the back of the seed packet. Here are more detailed tips on this topic.

Make Your Rain Gauge Easy to Read
Knowing how much water your outdoor plants are getting can make or break your garden. After a good rain, a rain gauge can be a little difficult to read. Make it simple on yourself and add a couple of drops of food coloring to the bottom of your rain gauge to make it easy next time it rains! Blue water is much easier to see and measure than clear water!

Garden Tools

Paint Your Garden Tool Handles
When you’re working in your garden, the most frustrating thing can be losing your shovel or trowel, again. All the handles of these tools are always green or black, making it difficult to find amongst the plants. Save yourself the look and find game by painting all the handles a bright, or neon color, so you can easily find them in the plants.

Compost Correctly
If you use compost, it’s important to know how and when to use it so it’s effective in your garden. It’s best to spread compost over the top of your tilled garden for about 2-3 weeks before planting. This will give the compost time to stabilize and integrate into the soil.

Start Your Seeds Indoors
If you live in the North like I do, planting seeds outdoors can be a scary thing. You never know when it will decide to frost just one more time. I like to remove some of the stress from planting by starting my seeds indoors. Here's a little more info on how I start mine indoors each year.

Buy Quality Seeds
Buying seeds is one of my all time favorite things about gardening. I look forward to it each year. Over the years I’ve discovered some favorite companies and seed types. In this post you can find all my seed-buying tips and info.

Reuse Egg Shells
When you’re done with your egg shells, don’t throw them away! Crush them up, and sprinkle them on your garden! This is a great way to give your plants a calcium infusion. Even if you don’t compost, this is an easy way to reuse food waste! Here is an excellent fertilizer recipe that you can try using old banana peels and egg shells. I know it sounds strange but trust me on this one.

Keep Your Nails Clean
Every year during gardening season, I struggle to keep my nails clean. I found an easy trick some time back to keep them clean all season. Before I go to work in the dirt with my hands, I scrape my nails across a bar of soap. This fills up the empty space under your nails with soap, so dirt can’t get it. Then when you come inside, just wash your hands. The soap will disappear, and your nails will still be clean. Keeping your nails trimmed can also be helpful but it still doesn't always keep the dirt from sticking.

Basket of Produce

Pick Ripe Produce
Don’t let produce sit in your garden and become over-ripe. This will only encourage pests to come and feast on your produce. Pick your fruits and vegetables as soon as they’re ripe to keep this from being an issue. Plus if you are canning or freezing your produce you will need to pick them at peak ripeness (or just before) for the best flavor and the safest when canning.

Keep Insects Away
Another good way to keep insects out of your garden, without harmful pesticides, is to carefully plant certain plants around your garden. Insects don’t like certain types of plants, and will avoid them. Plants like mums, chives, onion, and others will ward off some insects and can keep your garden looking beautiful.

Reuse Milk Jugs
If it looks like it will frost, after you’ve planted your plants, you can use milk jugs to protect them. Cut the top off a milk jug, and use it to cover the plant. This will keep it warm, moist, and free from frost and act as a mini greenhouse until your plants are large enough to be on their own. Just be sure and remove the milk jug before the tempatures get too warm or you will roast you will plants.

zone map

Plant for Your Area
Not all plants do well in all areas. Do some research to find out which plants will do best in the area you live in. Plant for your climate and your zone. If possible, choose seeds from a seed company that is also within your zone.

Use Epsom Salt
Sprinkle epsom salt around plants like tomatoes and peppers to give them a magnesium boost! They will flourish, since these types of plants can easily become deficient in magnesium. It will also help prevent bottom rot on tomatoes and certain other plants.

Water in Low Light
During the summer months, the water can evaporate from your garden almost as fast as you water it. Make sure your plants are getting the most out of the water you’re giving them by watering during low light conditions. You can water in the very early morning, before the sun is all the way up, or at dusk, as the sun is going down. This will keep the water from evaporating so quickly and will keep it from "burning" your plants.

What are some of your best simple gardening tips that others can use this summer? Share your words of advice and inspiration in the comments!

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6:02 am

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Hope March 21, 2017 at 4:48 am

All wonderful tips! I’m especially interested in the banana peel and egg shell fertilizer recipe. I will look into that! My tip would be to mulch the beds! So helpful in keeping soil moist, and preventing erosion. I use last fall’s leaves, grass clipping are wonderful too!

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2 Joel W March 23, 2017 at 4:05 am

Not sure about why the inclusion of ‘keep you nails clean’ nor do I necessarily agree. One of the reasons people get sick so easy these days is because of being hyper-clean and being scared of dirt. Dirt is good. Dirt gives life. And a little dirt is actually good for you.

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3 Pat March 24, 2017 at 11:13 am

I agree to a point. As a professional person I like my nails to look nice, you know the whole package thing. So getting good black soil out of the way deep caverns of my nails is really important to me. It is very hard sometimes to do this after a weekend of digging in the dirt even with gloves on. I don’t do antimicrobial everything either and my kids rarely get ill.

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4 Joel W March 24, 2017 at 6:49 pm

Oh that makes sense. I took it you were implying the germo-phobe theme ‘avoid dirt at all costs or you will surely die.” My mistake.

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5 Kate Butcher March 23, 2017 at 6:33 pm

The first summer in our new house I had just had a baby (end of July) so I didn’t get into the garden much, but I did try and noticed that most things were getting eaten right at ground level. Being just 20 and fairly clueless when it came to gardening, I talked it over with hubby and he thought it might be cut worms. Over the winter burning wood, we emptied our firebox regularly and spread the ashed on the garden. Come spring we turned it all over and planted as usual. We didn’t lose one plant to cutworms. I’ve heard from other folks as well that ashes work wonders for those critters.

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6 Sharolyn Moss March 24, 2017 at 9:39 pm

Will have to use the soap under my nails. I use your salt scrub to wash my hands after working in the yard, it is wonderful, takes off the dirt and any stain on your skin, leaves a nice refreshing oil on your hands. A tip I learned at garden club, tie a strip of a plastic bag to your handle so you can find it easy, as the plastic blows in the wind. Reuse the bags you get at the store for the strips as there very light. Nice rain here this week, my newly planted grass seed loves it !

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7 Sophia Rose March 27, 2017 at 10:38 pm

I love the suggestion of the crushed up egg shells out in the soil and of using the tops of milk jugs to protect the seedlings.

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8 Andrea April 8, 2017 at 10:30 pm

Thank you mentioning watering in low light! Last year I saw so many people watering in the middle of the day and our area was in a drought. It such an easy way to conserve water and it’s so important. Found your post at Simple Saturdays.

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9 Michelle April 14, 2017 at 3:57 am

Thank you Merissa, I’ve been gardening for more than 30 years and I learnt so much from your tips. I love the idea of putting food coloring in the rain gauge to make it easier to read and the one about the soap under your nails, genius. Thank you so much

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