Get some quick and quirky ways to improve your garden without spending your hard-earned dollars.
1) Bug off! - Power feed your insects. Enjoy the benefits of feeding your plants while controlling the pests in the garden at the same time. Using a natural-based liquid fertiliser such as Power Feed or Maxicrop will not only feed your plants when applied as a foliage spray but will be a great deterrent to insects such as aphids and thrips.
2) Controlling cabbage moth - also known as white butterfly, with a regular spray of molasses diluted at a ratio of 1 tablespoon to 2 litres of water. Spraying your plants on a weekly basis will help mask the smell of the cabbage, making it difficult for the moth to sense it.
3) Snail and slug deterrent - Coffee grounds are great as a fertiliser for the garden and compost bin but are even better for controlling snails and slugs. Apply coffee grounds liberally around your garden as a barrier or mix them in a ratio of 2 tablespoons to 1 litre of water and spray on the plants. Remember to respray your plants after rainfall because it does wash away quite easily.
4) Non-chemical weed killer - Rain, hail or shine, weeds will always be a part of our gardens. When you have too many, avoid using harsh chemicals to control them. Mix together 1 litre of vinegar with 2 tablespoons of salt and
1 teaspoon of liquid soap. Pour ingredients into a spray bottle, shake well, then spray all your weeds in the heat of the day and watch them shrivel away. Be careful where you spray, because this mixture will kill any plant you spray it on.
5) Make a wicking bed - Outgrown the old bathtub? Why not convert it into a wicking bed. That’s a garden bed with its own reservoir of water. It’s just like a self-watering pot only bigger! Plug up the drain hole then fill to 200mm in depth with crushed bluestone, cover with a double layer of shadecloth then fill with composted soil. To avoid it overfilling with water, drill 3–4 8mm holes around the sides and just below the soil level to help drain excess water. Now fill it with water and start planting. Your plants will never run dry again.
6) Stop ants in their tracks - You don’t need nasty chemicals to deal with an ant problem. Instead, mix 1 cup sugar, 1 cup molasses and 2 tablespoons yeast. Mix together ingredients and spoon the solution into old jar lids and place them in the ants’ path. Sit back and watch how they gobble it down and carry it back to their colony. It’s so good that they will feed everyone with it — but wait until the yeast kicks in!
7) Discouraging possums - There isn’t a lot that possums won’t eat and there are even fewer products and methods to deter them. The trick is to alternate your methods on a regular basis. Here’s something to add to your list of tricks. Hang camphor balls in stockings from tree branches and spray Charlie Carp around the garden regularly. The scent of camphor combined with the smell of fish is sure to send them batty. Come to think of it, this might work on fruit bats.
8) Prevent blossom end rot - Generally caused by excessive nitrogen in the soil and the presence of constant moisture, blossom end rot occurs when the end of the fruit goes soft or shrivels. It can be very frustrating, especially after a long season of growing and nurturing your productive plants. A sprinkling of dolomite around the base is great when preparing the garden but it never works fast enough for established plants. Dissolve 1 handful of dolomite in 9 litres of water per square metre — it will work almost immediately.
9) Catching earwigs - If earwigs are eating your plants, roll up or crumple some newspaper and place it around the base of your plants. After a big feast, the earwigs will love to hide in the paper. Collect the paper in the morning and we’re sure the news will be great! Toss them in a bucket of hot water and then straight into the compost.
10) Controlling white fly - Able to reproduce in the thousand every day, the white fly has a waxy white coating that only an oily soap spray will affect. Mix 1 cup of any cheap salad oil and 1 tablespoon of eco-friendly soap with 1 litre of water, shake well and spray. The oily mixture will coat their wings, stop them from flying and suffocate them in their tracks. Try to spray the underside of the leaves as much as you can for a better result.