Tricks of a Gardener

As a gardener there are a few jobs in the garden that just must be done, things like fertilising, propagating and weeding and there are some great products out on the market to help you with these things however over the years I’ve made a few of my own recipes.

Making your own liquid fertiliser is a great way to give your plants a boost. Take one teabag and empty the contents into a blender, add in a large tablespoon of oats and blend it together to create a fine powder. Then once blended add in one banana peel and blend again – trying to blend all these at once will give you a gunky paste so best to break it into two parts. Then with this mixture add in 500ml of boiling water and leave for an hour. Once the mixture has steeped you can use it directly and undiluted on your plants.

This mixture is high in nitrogen which is great for leafy green growth and the banana skin gives added potassium for fruits and flowers. I also like to adapt this and add in as many banana skins, or old over ripe banana as I can get my hands on and use this on my veggie patch to really give it a boost of potassium for a noticeable boost in my harvest.

For your indoor plants I like to make a tonic that you can apply on a monthly basis consisting of– 1 teaspoon of ground coffee, ½ a teaspoon of baking soda, ½ teaspoon of Epsom salts ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and a cup of carbonated water all mixed up and applied directly to the pot of your plants.A

Creating your own plants is a real pleasure of mine and propagation can be done from so many plants you may already have in the house. Things like ginger can be cut into thumb sized pieces (as long as they have an eye on them) and potted on to create new plants. Pineapples and carrots can have their crowns cut off and floated in water until they shoot roots out ready to be potted on. Celery is also an easy one to grow on from the crisper – once the stems have been removed the base can be planted out directly to a garden bed or grown on in a wide dish of water indoors until it shoots new leaves.

It’s not just the veggies that can be re grown, cut roses also have life in them. Remove the spent flower ensuring you have two or three buds on the stem and cut the lower part of the stem on a 45-degree angle. Dip this angled end in honey or cinnamon as this works like a natural antibacterial agent and a rooting hormone. This can then be pushed into fresh potting mix, a clear bag over the top held in position with a plastic band will help kept it moist and soon you’ll notice new fresh growth.

One job I don’t like as much as propagating is weeding! It’s a constant battle keeping on top of the weeds in the garden. There are some great natural weed sprays available for purchase but its also a bit of fun to make your own with salt and vinegar. In a litre spray pack use 200ml of water, 800ml of vinegar and a large cup of salt. Mix this together and apply it to the foliage of any plant you want to be gone! Be careful with it though as it is non selective and will dehydrate and kill whatever it touches.