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19 Gardening Hacks That'll Make You Say "I Wish I'd Known About These Sooner!"

Oooh, smart.

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1. Repurpose all kinds of things as seed starters: eggshells, lemon rinds, empty egg cartons, and even ice cream cones all can work.,,

If you do use ice cream cones, be sure to cut off the bottom inch or so before transplanting them. From Smart School House, Green Thumb White Apron and My Roman Apartment.

2. Capture those slugs tormenting your vegetable patch by setting out a dish of beer.

Flickr: SteveR- / Creative Commons / Flickr: git

Hey, at least they die happy. This method is also Reddit-tested, and may also work on pill bugs.

3. And spread rinsed, crushed eggshells at the base of your plants to help deter any slugs who don't stop at the bar.

Some people swear by this, while others swear it makes no difference at all, but it's probably at least worth a try! From Attainable Sustainable.

4. Block soil seepage by lining the bottom of your pots with a basic coffee filter. The water will still easily drain, but it won't take any of the dirt with it.

5. You can also save old sponges to use as a layer at the bottom of terracotta pots. They'll help prevent root rot by allowing for additional air down there *and* absorb extra water that might otherwise run out the bottom.

You can also use stones for this, but that extra bit of water reserve means your plants may not need a drink quite so often! From Family Handyman.

6. Shred some soap in your food processor then sprinkle it among your beds to deter any deer or rabbits who think your garden's their personal restaurant.

Something about the smell keeps 'em away, but it won't harm your plants. You don't have to completely blanket the area or anything, a few shreds here and there (replenished after heavy rains) will do the trick. From Dust and Dog Hair, and also recommended on Curbly (who posts it on stakes) and Gardener Scott.

Get three bars of Irish Spring Soap on Amazon for $12.97.

7. Find some sprouted garlic in your pantry? Put it in water to nurture new sprouts (which are deliciously edible, like green onions) in three to five days.

From My Heart Beets. And check out a bunch of of other foods you can re-grow from scraps.

8. Return some of the nutrients weeds and grass clippings absorbed from your soil back to your soil by brewing up a bucket of fertilizer tea.

Robin Sweetser /

To help out those plants you *want* to grow. Just tear the leaves up into a bucket filled with non-chlorinated water, cover to keep mosquitos out, and let it steep! Get the full directions from The Old Farmer's Almanac.

9. After planting a garden bed, put down a layer of cardboard or newspaper before you mulch to block weeds and grass sprouts without spending money or spreading chemicals.

Get the full details to make it work from Sublime Garden Design and Modern Farmer.

10. Hang an over-door shoe organizer for an instant and cheap vertical herb and lettuce garden that takes up very little space.

Look for one with deep-ish pockets, and if the water doesn't drain through the bottom of the pockets, poke a few holes. Otherwise you can pretty much add soil and go! From Instructables.

Get a 24-pocket fabric organizer that would work for this on Amazon for $13.99.

11. Space direct-sow seeds evenly by pressing the bottom of a mini muffin tin into your freshly tilled dirt.

12. Tell those neighborhood cats who keep leaving you presents in your herb planters to ~fork off~.

13. Cut the bottoms out of milk jugs to protect seedings while they get started and create a little warm greenhouse for each and every one.

Family Food Secure

From the now-defunct Family Food Secure.

14. Cinderblocks make a cheap, neat, and easy-to-assemble raised garden bed.

The only other things you need = a relatively level spot in the yard, some cardboard boxes to block weeds, potting soil, and seeds or seedlings. From I Save A to Z.

15. Mix vinegar and Dawn dish soap together for a very effective but nontoxic weed killer.

It works best on a sunny day, but it does work! (Just be careful using this around *other* plants, because you wouldn't want to hurt them in the process.) From One Good Thing by Jillee.

16. Spear old wine corks on kebab skewers for easy and cheap row or pot markers.

17. When your peony bush starts to bloom, cut a few stems to store in the refrigerator — they'll last there for up to a month, and at any point until then you can pull one or two (or more!) out of the fridge and put 'em in water to bloom for up to seven days.

So yes you can watch your entire bush bloom for the week and cut some blossoms to bring inside then, but after the bush is done, you'll still have plenty you can enjoy! Get all the details from Creekline House.

18. Fill a shallow dish with an inch or so of water and rocks or marbles so the bees and butterflies that visit your garden never go thirsty (and can drink without drowning).

If you use glass gems or marbles, fill the dish with at least one layer, then add water.

Get the full tutorial on Garden Therapy.

19. Don't toss that set of solar-powered pathway lights you loved so much last year just because they don't work anymore; swap out the batteries and they'll be good as new.

Who knew that most of these ran on batteries?? Kathe With an E uses regular AA batteries, although some commenters recommend only using AAs designed for recharging for safety reasons. Get a pack of eight rechargeable AAs on Amazon for $18.99.

Happy gardening! Have some smart hacks you've tried through the years? Share 'em in the comments!

Nickelodeon /

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