How to Garden Naturally - Tips Using Olive Oil, Coffee & More How to Garden Naturally - Tips Using Olive Oil, Coffee & More
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Garden Naturally With These Tips from EarthKind

By: Kari Warberg Block

Just like many of you, I’m so excited to watch the flowers and vegetables I plant in the Spring come to life. But this year, I’m working on a very special garden and I’ve got a lot of very special help.

Kari from Earthkind working in the community garden with kids and parents

For those of you who have been following our #BeKind campaign, you know that EarthKind® has planted the seeds for a community garden that will help feed hungry families here in North Dakota. It was inspired by our friend Bryce, a young boy who wanted more than anything, to make sure some of his less advantaged neighbors had access to healthy fruits and vegetables.

Young boy watering a garden with a spray nozzle

He and his friends, along with our own EarthKind team, are tending to the garden each and every day — and we’re relieved to say that already our young seedlings have survived heavy rains, high heat and 50 mph winds!

We’re big believers in natural gardening. We don’t want pesticides on the food we eat and know those nasty chemicals can also harm earthworms and other beneficial insects like ladybugs. During our #ClearTheCloud campaign, we posted natural gardening tips to help you keep pests from taking a bite out of your planting budget. We compiled all of the DIY gardening hacks that we used in our community garden here so you can use them in yours, too!

1. The Chamomile Plant Can Heal Your Garden

After your flowers bloom, use them as life support for sick plants.

Chamomile flower

Soak chamomile blossoms in water and fill a spray bottle with the fragrant solution. Then mist plants that need a little boost. The chamomile plant is known for its medicinal properties and can be used as a substitute for pyrethrum.

2. Don’t Throw Away Your Egg Shells

Egg shells make the perfect planter.

Half an egg shell with soil and a plant inside

Why spend money on peat pots when you’ve got ready-made planting containers right in your refrigerator? Simply fill each shell with soil and seeds. Then plant them in your garden. Can’t seem to keep the shell in one piece? You can plant an entire egg carton instead!

You can also crush your eggshells into bits and mix them in with your compost or soil as an amendment and supplement to your fertilizer. Egg shells can add lots of important nutrients to your garden!

3. Don’t Hang Your Herbs. Bag Them Up Instead!

Don’t be left hanging with tasteless herbs.

Herbs hanging upside down outside against a wood fence

To perfectly preserve fresh herbs, don’t hang them upside down with string. Instead, place each bunch in its own brown paper lunch bag and store them in the fridge. Just fold the bag over to loosely secure it.

4. Hack Your Soil To Conserve Water

Want to give your plants all the nourishment they need without wasting water?

Watering can pouring water on young plant sprouts in soil

Work half a cup of organic compost into every square foot of garden soil and it will hold 300% more water. Your flowers will thank you and so will the planet.

Adding mulch above the soil also helps to retain water and prevents weeds from growing. The key to mulching is using natural or organic gardening mulch, such as leaves, grass clippings, compost, hardwood, straw, and newspaper, instead of synthetic mulch. You also need to be careful not to use it too early in the growing season because it can prevent the soil from warming, which isn’t good for early-season plants.

5. Use Olive Oil to Repel Pests

Are moles making their way into your garden?

Olive oil in a fancy glass pouring jar

Olive oil is a natural repellent. Moles can’t stand the smell of olive oil. Find the hole they’ve created and fill it with a rag that’s saturated with the fragrant oil. The smell will send them scattering toward a new home.

6. Geraniums Keep Insects Away From Your Vegetables

Plant a decoy. Distract veggie-eating insects.

Flowers in a flower pot surrounded by gardening tools

Japanese beetles love the scent of geraniums. Plant the fragrant flower in the vicinity of vegetables you want to protect and beetles will be distracted. They’ll feast on the geraniums and leave your growing vegetable garden alone.

7. Some Plants Love Leftover Coffee and Coffee Grounds

You’re not the only one looking forward to that first cup. Did you know that some of your plants love coffee as much as you do? 

Bowls of coffee grounds and piles of coffee beans shaped into hearts.

Hibiscus, hydrangea, magnolias, and rhododendron can’t wait for their morning fix! They’re acid-loving plants and pouring leftover coffee or grounds into their soil will perk them up and brighten both your day and theirs.

8. Plant Flowers for the Bees

Save the bees! But please don’t disturb their sleep. 

Garden flower with a bee inside collecting pollen

Bees love flowers as much as you do. Plant them and you’ll help increase a dying population. You may not be a big fan of the buzzing little insect, but they help produce our honey and make our gardens grow even greener. Be careful though. They like to sleep in between the blooms during the early morning hours. Don’t surprise them or you could be in for a nasty sting.

9. Plant Aromatic Herbs to Control Aphids

One of the most annoying garden pests around, aphids, can suck the life out of a garden, but you can keep them away with certain types of plants!

Peppermint plant

Aphids hate the smells of herbs with strong aromas such as basil, peppermint, and chives. Plant a few of these herbs around the garden, especially close to plants that are suffering from an aphid infestation (companion planting), and this natural form of pest control will send these annoying bugs away so that you can have an amazing harvest this year.

If you’ve got natural gardening solutions that have worked in your home garden, we’d love to hear them. Leave a comment below and we may just share them with our community of natural garden growers. We’ll be sure to give you all the credit!

Happy Planting!

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