37 Powerful Gardening Hacks To Become “The Self Sufficient Gardener”

Ralph Astley is a retired gardener from Philadelphia who specializes in outdoor plants and trees. With years of hands-on experience, Ralph not only cares for a diverse range of outdoor flora but also shares his extensive knowledge through well-written articles and social media posts. A trusted authority in arboriculture, he's committed to helping the community grow healthier, more robust gardens.
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Here are 37 powerful Gardening Hacks To Become “The Self Sufficient Gardener!” Knowing them can save your money and make gardening enjoyable!

If you want to be self-sufficient, here are some of the Best Gardening Hacks To Become the Self Sufficient Gardener! Try them!

Have a look at the best Balcony Homesteading Ideas here

Best Gardening Hacks To Become the Self-Sufficient Gardener!

1. Kitchen Scraps as Fertilizer

Best Homesteading Hacks that will Blow You Away

Do not trash the kitchen scraps of vegetables and fruits. Instead, mix water and put them into a blender. You can apply this blend around the base of plants. Avoid using scraps that include citrus or fatty meats.

Here are some useful Kitchen Scraps that you must never throw

2. Have Bushier and Bigger Herbs

Herbs are prone to multiply; hence pinching off the top stems transmits a signal to dormant buds to grow upward and outward. Also, regular top growth harvesting makes them grow at a speedier rate!

Check out the secrets to having the most fragrant herbs here

3. Keep Squirrels and Birds Away from Fruit Trees

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Hang CDs around trees where chipmunks and birds frequent. The pendulous discs act as prisms and make the birds think a large animal is around the area.

Here are the best ways to keep Squirrels away

4. Milk Jug into Watering Can

Recycle an empty milk jug by making holes in the lid with the help of a needle or pin. Fill it with water and hydrate your plants using it as a watering jug.

Check out some fantastic Milk Jug uses in the garden here

5. Repel Mosquitoes with a Drop of Oil

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Deter mosquitoes and other insects from birdbaths and water barrels by adding a few drops of vegetable oil to the water. This will create a thin film on the surface, preventing the insects from breeding.

Grow these plants to Repel Mosquitoes

6. Keep the Soil Warm by Wrapping the Pots with Black Plastic

Wrap the containers with black plastic sheets when the sun is up—this will boost the soil temperature and extend the growing season. This is one of the best homesteading hacks to try if you live in a cold climate!

7. Rainwater Barrel System by Own

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Tap water has chlorine and many other excess minerals that can harm plants’ health. Make your own water barrel system by using a couple of trash cans and some PVC pipes. Complete this project with the help of this video here.

8. Make Garden Markers

Be creative and label your plants by reusing items in your home. This hack is both environment and pocket-friendly. You can use the following:

  • Pieces of broken planters as a marker.
  • Set an empty seed packet in upside-down mason jars.
  • Use large rocks or stones and paint plant names on them.
  • Write on bricks with a permanent marker.
  • Use wooden skewers and pierce wine corks.

9. Poultry as Fertilizer Before Planting

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Duck, chicken, cow, or horse manure makes an amazing fertilizer. It will rejuvenate the soil with beneficial bacteria and nutrients. See more in this video.

10. Toilet Paper Tubes for Starting Seeds

Toilet paper tubes can be used for starting seeds—they are biodegradable and have the perfect size for this task. Fold the tubes into a square shape, and cut flaps on one end from where you can close them. You can also use newspapers to start seeds. See more here.

11. Mason Jar Beehive

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Beekeeping can be done in a backyard or small homestead—creating a mason jar beehive is a pocket-friendly hack that can be finished quickly. Find the complete tutorial here.

Have a look at some amazing Mason Jar uses here

12. Mulch

Mulching reduces the frequency of watering and cuts down on weeding as it holds water and slowly gives it to plants. You can use:

  • Grass clippings
  • Straw
  • Dried foliage
  • Shredded bark
  • Animal manure
  • Cardboard
  • Shredded newspaper

13. Natural Wound Salve

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Make a wound salve with one cup of calendula flower petals, add them to a pint mason jar, and fill in olive oil. Put a lid on the jar and keep it in a dry, warm area for two to four weeks.

Shake the jar daily and strain out the petals. Your healing oil is ready. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties.

14. Indoor Garden with Shoe Organizers

Create an indoor salad or herb garden in the smallest of spaces with an empty shoe organizer. Fill soil in all pockets after lining them before planting seeds. Keep it in an area that receives sunlight and water regularly.

15. Use Cinnamon

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Cinnamon can be used in the garden for repelling pests, deterring mold, and helping cuttings to root faster. This is one of the best homesteading hacks that will Blow You Away for sure! Read more cinnamon uses in the garden here.

16. Gutters into a Vertical Garden

Recycle old gutters and use them to start a vertical garden. It is ideal for gardeners with short space.

Have a look at some amazing Vertical Garden ideas here

17. Calcium Boost with Eggshells

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shuttersock/johan kusuma

Instead of trashing eggshells, feed the chickens with ground eggshells in the fall and winter months to boost their calcium consumption.

Also, spread eggshells around the base of plants in the garden to prevent slug infestation and boost calcium content in the soil.

Learn all about using Eggshells in the garden here

18. Save Tools from Rust

Fill a large terracotta pot or bucket with sand, add mineral oil, and thrust your tools in it. The greasy sand will clean, lubricate, and sharpen the tools and save them from rust.

Check out our article on cleaning garden tools and saving them from rust here

19. Mini Greenhouses from Soda Bottles

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Simply cut the base of clean empty soda bottles and place it over seedlings—it will provide extra warmth and keep pests away. Make sure to drill some holes in the bottle so the plant can breathe. Water the seedling by opening the lid of the soda bottle.

Have a look at some amazing mini greenhouse ideas here

20. Use Diapers for Potted Plants

If you live in a hot climate, this hack is an apt choice as it will save you from a regular watering regime. Just place a clean diaper in the bottom of the container, keep the absorbent side in the upward direction, and fill it with soil, plant, and water, respectively.

Find out some amazing diaper hacks here

21. Build a Non-Electric Refrigerator

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Also known as Zeer pot, construct an off-grid fridge to enhance the self-dependant food preservation on the homestead. This hack has been successfully used for centuries in hot regions. See in detail here.

22. Make Use of Every Space

You can have a green thumb in the shortest of space by utilizing every corner of your small apartment smartly. Have a look at the points below:

  • Hang plants from fences
  • Climber up a mailbox post
  • Line the garden walkways
  • Climber around balconies
  • Use external walls of the garage, house, and outbuildings
  • Create a windowsill garden
  • Use pots of all sizes and shapes to grow many herbs and crops around your home.
  • Grow vine crops like cucumbers, gourds, zucchini, peas, and pumpkins on the hillside and non-level ground.
  • Fix pallets to the outer walls of the chicken cage to grow medicinal herbs and sprouts.
  • Use the area of the deck for growing medicinal plants and herbs and fix hanging pots.
  • Have a stable? Use the outside walls and grow barley and oats there and feed the horses.

23. Welcome Pollinators

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Pollinators are essential regardless of what you are growing. Invite them to your garden by growing native, wild, nectar-rich plants. Some of the examples are:

  • Dill
  • Dandelion
  • Basil
  • Borage
  • Yarrow
  • Fennel
  • Rosemary

Here is how you can make a bee garden

24. Grow More Food in Less Space in a Vertical Garden

A vertical garden is an amazing homestead hack to save space. This method is ideal for growing seasonal veggies such as beans, carrots, eggplant, tomatoes, and many more in a limited space of a balcony, rooftop, or patio.

Check out our article on the best vegetables to grow in a Vertical Garden here

25. Ripen Fruits Fast

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Place fruits into a paper bag with a banana as it emits a gas known as ethylene which encourages the ripening process. This is one of the Best Homesteading Hacks that will Blow You Away for sure!

26. Grow Potatoes in Tiny Spaces

Potatoes are a go-to vegetable in every household. Get a fresh batch of organic potatoes right at your home by growing them in tiny spaces. You can easily grow potatoes in:

  • Buckets
  • Grocery jute bags
  • Plastic planters
  • Grow bags
  • Drums
  • Unused boxes
  • Gunny Bags
  • Fruit crates

27. Clear Weed-Filled Ground with Potato Plants

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Potato plants produce aggressive foliage that competes with weeds for light, nutrients, and water. This keeps the weed growth in check.

28. Grow Microgreens All Year Round

Nothing can be more fulfilling than having self-grown microgreens for lunch. And the good news is, you can grow them indoors with plenty of sun and rich organic soil. You can also try your hands on growing sprouts.

Here’s all you need to know about growing Microgreens

29. Use Kitchen Water in the Garden

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Water strained after washing vegetables, grains, rinsing rice, and the leftover after boiling pasta can act as a liquid fertilizer for your plants. Collect the kitchen water in a big container for the day and use it to water the plants in your yard. Make sure the water is cool and doesn’t contain oil or any cooked food traces.

30. Plant Herbs that Repel Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are permanent visitors to a garden. Keep these unwanted guests away by planting specific herbs that repel mosquitoes around your home and garden. Some of them are:

  • Citronella grass
  • Basil
  • Catnip
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender

31. Use Honey As a Rooting Hormone

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Ditch the store-bought solutions and dip your plant cuttings in honey for successful propagation. Research says this anti-bacterial ingredient contains similar enzymes to a rooting hormone that promotes root growth.

32. Beer Traps to Catch Snails and Slugs

Snails and slugs are always set to invade your garden. Trap these tiny trespassers with a shallow bowl of beer. The pungent smell will attract them, making them climb in but not climb out.

33. Use Wood Ash As a Fertilizer

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Do not dump away the leftover ash after a bonfire. Wood ash is loaded with calcium, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, sodium, and zinc that can make an amazing fertilizer for your plants. Discover more about it here!

34. Grow Hardy Herbs in the Cracks of Your Pavement

You must utilize the hardy nature of specific plants and grow them in the cracks of your pavement. Surrounding stepping stones with such herbs will also give your lawn a lush look. Two such herbs are Creeping Thyme and Purslane.

35. Finding the Best Spot

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Before choosing a spot for a plant in the garden, it is best to keep them in a pot in the preferred position for 5-7 days. This will allow you to see how the plant performs in that pot before you grow it there permanently.

36. Mix Tiny Seeds with Sand

Seeds of the plants like carrots can be very tiny, making it impossible at times to handle them. To make it easy, mix them with sand before sowing them.

37. Re-Grow Vegetables from Scraps and Grocery Store

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One great option you can try is to grow vegetables and herbs from scraps and grocery store supplies. After buying them from a grocery store, potatoes, garlic, leeks, celery, carrots, turnips, parsnips, beets, and other root crops can be easily grown in a pot or garden.

Why this would make you self-sufficient is the fact that it will push you to grow organic food for your family, which will save your run to the grocery store too. Not to mention, you will also save several dollars a week!

Check out some brilliant hacks to improve your garden soil here

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