From the Kitchen to the Garden
30 May 14
With summer just around the corner in many parts of the world, backyards, balconies, roof gardens, vegetable patches and school gardens will soon be in full bloom. Here we bring you 10 tips to make sure you get the best of your harvest this year, using natural bits and bobs you can find in your kitchen.
Nourish your soil…
1. Left over water: After washing, steaming or boiling vegetables, set the water aside and use it to water your plants – it will be full of vitamins and nutrients.
2. Coffee grounds: Certain plants such as tomatoes and blueberries grow better in acidic soil. If your soil is more alkaline, you can change this by mixing left over coffee grounds into your soil before planting, or by sprinkling the grounds on top.
3. Banana peel: Plants love potassium, and one great source is banana peel. Simply chop up or blend the peel with a bit of water and add to your soil. NB: If you have a fireplace, another good source of potassium is wood ash.
4. Egg shells: Rich in calcium, eggs shells can act as a great natural fertilizer. They are also simple to use and can be applied directly to soil once crushed. Larger shell pieces can also help to deter slugs. Fight the fungus…
5. Chamomile: This infusion is great for fighting bacterial and fungal infections. Simply make a normal pot, and leave to cool. The brew can then be sprayed directly onto leaves, every few days until the problem is resolved.
6. Baking soda: Baking soda is a great remedy for mold and mildew – common problems for plants such as pumpkins, potatoes, cucumbers and tomatoes. Mix the baking soda with oil (to help it stick) and spray the affected areas.
7. Milk: Milk can also help to combat powdery mildew on plants such as peas, grapes and zucchini. Ratios vary, but normally the milk is mixed with a large amount of water, and applied twice a week. Although still not entirely understood, milk has been so effective that apparently even the wine grape industry is considering using it.
Protect from pests…
8. Lemon juice: Lemon juice mixed with water can help control small infestations, such as ants and aphids. Be careful to only apply to the infected areas however, and rinse off once the bugs have disappeared. Placing citrus peel, including oranges, around the garden can also ward off other pests.
9. Hot red pepper powder: You can also add a bit of spice to your plants to deter bugs. Pepper powder works well on vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli that are often vulnerable to different insects. Simply mix with a bit of soap and lots of water, and spray!
10. It’s been said that planting by moonlight causes plants to grow faster and stronger. So why not make an evening of it?
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