Save Money and Boost Your Harvest 10 Easy Vegetable Gardening Hacks

Garden tools and lettuce seedlings

Simple Tricks for a More Productive Garden

Here’s a helpful video that will show you 10 quick and easy vegetable gardening hacks to save some money, speed up your work, and get a bigger harvest from your home vegetable garden.  Get ready for some real resourcefulness…

My favorite trick out of all of these is the first one.  You simply transfer the markings from a yard stick on to the handle of your shovel, hoe, or any other long-handled tool.  That way, you have a handy measuring stick with you at all times while you’re out working in the garden.  Simple, practical, and clever… just the way we like it!

The only thing I really didn’t like was that he left his seedlings inside the paper rolls when planting them out in the garden.  It seems to me that the plant roots will be ready to spread out long before the paper breaks down.  It would be easy enough to slide the seedling and soil out through the bottom of the paper roll, instead of planting the whole thing.

10 Vegetable Gardening Hacks for the Home Grower

It seems like I’ve seen a million different approaches to create crafty plant labels.  In the video, he recommends using empty yogurt containers, cut in to long strips.  We use plastic blinds at my house – any time we see a discarded plastic Venetian blind in the trash, we stop and salvage as many of the slats as we can.

But I have to admit that we have always treated these as a single use item, and we hadn’t thought of using sand paper to “erase” the permanent ink and start fresh.  So this bit of advice will be especially helpful for us.

I also hadn’t heard of anyone using tape to control aphids – that’s a new one to me as well.  I have always had good success with simple soap, and we keep a bottle mixed up in the garden just for this purpose.  If you decide to give the tape a try, I’d love to hear how it works for you.

Another Simple Trick: Irrigation With Buried Clay Pots

Crowdsourcing for Vegetable Gardening Hacks

We’re always impressed with the great ideas that we get in from members of the Grow Network – you all are a pretty clever group!  So… who has something valuable to add that could have been included in the video?

If you have a great trick that’s quick and easy like these ones, use the comments section below to share it with the group.  If we get some good ideas going, we’ll try to get Marjory to put them together in a new video to share them all with the whole Grow Network.

marjory-wildcraft-how-much-land-do-you-need


Special thanks to “GrowVeg” for the helpful video.  You can the Youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/user/GrowVeg

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Michael Ford


Contributor

Michael has been the resident editor at The [Grow] Network since January 2015. Michael grew up in St. Louis, where he became a lover of nature - hiking and fishing his way through the Ozark hills in Missouri. He attended Baylor University in Waco, TX, and he currently lives in Austin. Michael has background experience in small-scale farming, commercial growing, vegetable gardening, landscaping, marketing, and software development. He received his Permaculture Design Certification from the Austin Permaculture Guild in 2013.


22 Comments
  • Sarah

    I save my egg shells all year and when it is time to plant tomatoes I put a handful of crushed shells in the planting hole along with epsom salt a handful. Then I plant and no blossom end rot on my tomatoes!

    • Teresa

      Can you put the crush eggshells on top of the soil with the Epsom salt? I have already planted my tomato plants. Also do you sterilize the shells to ensure no samonella is present on the shells?

  • Ellen

    When I shovel and shape dirt into a casual raised bed for beets (no wood is used), I find that the sloped sides work well for growing onions. I pop in the onion sets, staggering them in three rows on all sides of the raised bed. I make sure to only bury the onions halfway or less, so they develop into onions and not just greens. The onions seem to love the drainage and grow larger than those planted nearby on flat ground.

  • John Flanery

    After I’ve prepped my bed, I lay seeds out on top, then sprinkle wood shavings or sawdust over the bed. I’ve mulched the bed at the same time I’ve buried seeds under a moisture-retentive layer. Germination is excellent. If it’s hot and dry, I’ll cover the bed with cardboard to keep the sun off the moist bed until the seedling emerge.

  • Linda

    I was so tired of trying to keep my hanging baskets moist in the hot summer. I started cutting the bottoms off large ice cream buckets and placing them in the bottom of the baskets. They don’t let the water drain out and retain the moisture much, much better.

  • Carole

    Wow thank you for the video

  • Phebe

    I have been marking my hoe for 30 years… Write the numbers big you don’t have to do it every year… Use pencil instead of marker to write on your labels. You can erase and it doesn’t fade like marker.
    Mulch the potatoes it keeps the potato bugs away.

  • Margaret

    I add a cup of crushed oystershells to the hole when planting tomatoes to prevent blossom end rot.

  • To tackle cutworms without all the work of rings, I just pop in 3 or 4 wooden toothpicks around the plant base.

  • P boszko

    Thanks for the ideas!

  • Dawn Wokson

    I don’t use plastic bottles for anything.I sure wouldn’t put them in pots with my food plants,as the chemicals will leach into the dirt and the plant will absorb them

  • d. henry Lee

    Great ideas. I am going to not only mark my hoe but my fishing rod as well. Many times I have been fishing and didn’t know if the fish was the legal limit.
    My son gave me a paper pot maker which I cut newspaper strips, roll it around the pot maker and you have a nice little paper pot to plant seeds in. I like it a lot better than using the stiff cardboard rolls. I agree they make not break down very well.

  • Mel G

    Mini blind slats have been reported to contain high lead levels (especially the cheapest ones from China). It might not be much of an issue with their minimal soil contact when in use, but I definitely would not sand them.

  • Lilia

    I don’t use a lot of plant labels anymore for my square foot garden beds. I have mapped out my garden beds into ‘Blocks’ and ‘Rows’, much like a spreadsheet (which uses columns and rows). I have a master spreadsheet (map) where I track what was planted, how much, and when. It’s a nice gardening log for me and I also track how much was harvested. So much easier to keep track year to year, the rotation, seed varieties and yields. Als much easier to have a nice paper (enclosed in a waterproof plastic sleeve) to look at instead of squinting at faded, mud-splattered row markers.

  • Carol Clingman

    I rotate my potato planting beds every two years or so. When I harvest my potatoes, I shove a few of the best ones back into the ground. They come up as volunteers in the spring. When I am ready to rotate my potato planting to a new sight that is where I plant the harvested potatoes.

  • Kathleen Kesinger

    Enjoyed the video, but I don’t even know where to start with gardening. I WANT to grow vegetables, but don’t know when to plant or even what grows well here. Where do I go to get started – slowly, so I don’t get overwhelmed?

  • Manon

    I dont use markers unless they are in a pot .I have a large garden.For planting out I use wood lath called survey stakes.They come in a bundle from the hardware store and are three feet long and pointed at the end.Good for row spacing ,marking with a permanent marker,plant support and many small projects and repairs.I use them at the end and beginning of each row and each tomato plant and staple the empty seed pack covered with a small sandwich bag to the top side.I then have a visual ID standing up without getting on my hands and knees to search for a miniscule piece of plastic amidst a growing jungle.

  • Michelle

    Best gardening hack in one word: aquaponics! (Look it up! It’s awesome!)

  • Linda Davidson

    I plant my tomatoes several feet apart in the greenhouse and prune them to two stems making a “V”. I use strings to support those two stems until they reach a horizontal wire which is as high as I can comfortably reach. Then I train those two stems to wind around the wire, one going each direction. They can grow as long as they want to and the ground below is available for other plants. I have tried this outside, but the season doesn’t seem long enough for the plants to get that tall.

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