Leftover rice water to water your plants, starting off seedlings in lemon and sprinkling curry powder around your flower beds are just a few of the ways to keep your garden looking rosy this summer.
1. Rice water
After boiling rice, don't throw away the starchy water that's left behind. Wait for it to cool and use it to water your plants. The starch contains traces of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus and encourages healthy bacteria to grow.
2. Water-bottle irrigation
Use a thick needle to pop holes into the bottom of an empty water bottle. Place the bottle in the soil and fill with water to allow the water to gradually distribute.
Slugs are attracted to the smell of the beer
3. Eggshells, Epsom salts and coffee in soil
- Eggshells are rich in calcium and plants and flowers need lots of calcium to encourage growth. You can either place them on the soil or grind eggshells up and add directly into your compost
- Epsom salts helps to nourish your soil. Simply blend with water, check ratio depending on the plant, and spread on your lawn or plants for healthy blooms
- Coffee grounds are great for enrich your soil and repelling critters. If you don’t drink coffee, ask your local coffee shop for some.
4. Start seedlings in lemon
Cut a lemon in half and scoop out the inside before adding soil and your seed. Poke a hole in the bottom of the peel for drainage and once you get a sprout you can pop the whole thing into the ground and the lemon rind will nourish the soil.
5. Glue pennies around pot
Slugs and snails can't crawl over copper so stick some around the top edges of raised planter-beds. This is a sure-fire way of making sure the pests don't reek havoc on your geraniums.
6. Repurpose cheap beer
If you have a half empty beer and are plagued by slugs, cut an empty shallow tin and pour a little into it. Place it around your snail issue plants. The pests are attracted to the smell of the beer, will crawl in for a drink and won't survive the night.
7. Sprinkle your flowerbed with curry powder
If your neighbour's cat is outstaying its welcome on your petunias, try sprinkling a little curry powder around the areas it likes to visit. Strong smells confuse felines' senses and if they find them distasteful they won't do their business there. If you don't want your garden smelling like a curry, try pungent lavender instead.
8.Protect veg from bugs by using oil and dish soap
Keep your garden pesticide-free with this natural bug-prevention. Simply mix a tablespoon of dish soap and a cup cooking oil. Blend with a pint of water and spray on your allotment once a week. This will keep away aphids, thrips, spider mites and whiteflies.
9. Mulch to ditch weeds
Cover soil with mulch to prevent weeds from growing in the area. Covering areas with mulch will also only evaporate 10 per cent of rainwater and keep soil cool.