14 Most Clever Gardening Tips and Ideas

Gardening doesn’t have to be difficult. With clever solutions, you can save time and effort while getting the most out of your garden space. Try these ingenious tips that every gardener should know.

Smart Watering Techniques

Conserve moisture and reduce disease with smart watering methods.

1. Water at the Roots

Use soaker hoses or drip irrigation to deliver water right to plant roots where it’s needed. This prevents waste from watering the leaves and between rows.

2. Water Early Morning

Schedule watering for early morning when evaporation rates are lower. Avoid evening watering which can promote mold growth overnight.

3. Collect Rainwater

Set up rain barrels to catch free rainwater from gutters to use for watering. Just be sure to cover or screen them to keep out mosquitoes.

Clever Pest Control

Keep critters away from your crops without toxic chemicals.

4. Copper Tape Barrier

Wrap copper foil tape around raised beds or pots to block slugs and snails. The mild electric pulse it emits when contacted drives them away.

5. DIY Scarecrow

Make a simple scarecrow from old clothing stuffed with newspaper to frighten away birds. Move it around occasionally so birds don’t get used to it.

6. Beer Pit Trap

Bury shallow cups filled with beer up to the rim to attract and drown harmful slugs and snails in the garden.

Smart Structures and Materials

Use handy structures to boost your growing environment.

7. DIY Wall O’ Water

Make mini greenhouses around plants from reusing 2-liter plastic soda bottles filled with water. This protects seedlings and tender plants from cold snaps.

8. Upcycle Old Containers

Turn junk into planters! Upcycle items like wooden pallets, trashcans, tires, boots and more into unusual planters to grow plants in. Drill drainage holes if needed.

9. Shade with Old Sheets

Drape old sheets or fabric over support hoops to provide adjustable shade protection for tender vegetable plants during hot spells. Reusable and easy to store.

Creative Growing Techniques

Try these outside-the-box gardening methods for added convenience and productivity.

10. Self-Watering Containers

Reduce watering chores with self-irrigating pots. Fill the reservoir with water and let plants draw it up through exposed rope wicks as needed.

11. Grow Bags

Maximize small spaces by growing vegetables like potatoes, carrots and beans in reusable grow bags. When flipped over after harvest, bags naturally decompose any pests and diseases in the used soil.

12. Interplant Compatible Crops

Boost diversity and deter pests by interplanting compatible vegetables like alternating rows of cabbage and onion plants which don’t compete for nutrients.

Clever Maintenance and Care

Work smarter, not harder with these handy garden jobs.

13. Check Irrigation with Tuning Forks

Use a tuning fork near drip irrigation lines and emitters to hear and locate leaks so you don’t waste water. The sound amplifies at leak points.

14. Test Soil Moisture with Chopsticks

Probe the ground with a chopstick before watering to easily check soil moisture depth. If it comes back clean, the soil has dried out and plants need water.


How do I keep deer from eating my garden?

Protect plants with fencing, mesh netting, or natural repellents like bars of soap hung around the garden. Also use dog hair, blood meal fertilizer, or cracked eggs around the perimeter.

What homemade fertilizers work well?

Make effective fertilizers by composting food scraps, soaking comfrey leaves in water, or spraying plants with diluted used coffee grounds for a nitrogen boost.

How do I keep cut slugs and snails from returning?

Sprinkle a perimeter of diatomaceous earth, crushed eggshells or coffee grounds around garden beds. These natural abrasives repel mollusks when they crawl over them.

How can I cool my greenhouse or cold frame?

Shade hot structures and ventilate by opening doors and vents. You can also shade with reflective screens or wash the exterior roof and walls with cool water using a mister.

What are the best upcycled container ideas?

Some of the best items to repurpose as planters include 5-gallon buckets, wooden crates, wheelbarrows, colanders, baskets, boots, and recycled food tins or plastic containers with drainage holes added.

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