Plant Whisperers- Hacks to make your plants thrive
So, you’re up to speed with pH testing, mulching, composting and fertilising but want to try something a little more out-there in the garden world? Try giving these off-the- wall tips a go.
Gardening by the moon
Lunar gardening isn’t as loony as it sounds: around the globe, and over the millennia, gardeners have long known that the movements of the sun, the moon and the earth can affect the growth patterns of plants.
Just like the tides, lunar gardening is all to do with how the moisture in the soil and the sap is affected by the cycles of the moon. So:
- plant annuals and leafy vegetables when the moon is new or in its first quarter, to meet the surge in sap
- plant bulbs and root crops, and prune and harvest in the full-moon phase
- weed and manure during the last quarter.
Some folks even garden by moonlight and plant moon gardens, designed to look their best in the full-moon glow. To join them, plant white-hued night-loving perfumed plants such as evening primrose, four o’clocks, jasmine and honeysuckle.
Cultivating with crystals
No, we’re not talking hydrating crystals, and you’re right, it sounds hippie – but crystals are as much a product of the earth as plants, so why not add them to the mix?
Try harvesting the healing energy emitted by green and yellow crystals such as agate and citrine, moonstone, malachite and quartz. Moss agate in particular is thought to be beneficial for ailing plants – it’s known as the gardener’s stone.
Just place your crystal of choice at the base of the plant – or hang them from the branches of your fruit trees to boost their fertility.
Water with a wettex
If you find that your indoor plants are drying out too quickly, try repotting them and do this little trick: pop a damp sponge into the bottom of your pot before adding the soil. It’ll act just like a mini reservoir for your plant.
Other people swear by coffee filters – they keep the soil securely inside the pot, so no messy saucers, and they also help with drainage.
Don’t just add plain water
Plants are fond of soda water – it’s been proven to make them grow bigger and greener. It turns out it’s all about the nutrients.
Plants are also partial to the leftover water used to boil your eggs or veggies – the minerals act as a fertiliser.
Acid-loving plants like gardenias, azaleas and camellias love a sip of brewed tea as much as the rest of us – water with a little tea or sprinkle wet tealeaves into the soil.
Let there by light
If you read to your plants by natural light, it doesn’t mean you’re as potty as Prince Charles! It means:
- your plants are getting enough light – they must be, because you can see to read
- plus the carbon dioxide in your breath will give your plants some much-needed energy.
There’s more than one way to use up those bottles of herbs and spices in your kitchen cupboard:
- Want the tomatoes you’re growing to taste sweeter? Sprinkle the soil with baking soda.
- Want to avoid diseases on your seedlings? Sprinkle on some cinnamon
- it’s not just a spice, it’s also an antifungal.
- Want to eradicate pests without resorting to poisons? Sprinkle used coffee grounds or crushed eggshells.
- Want to vanquish weeds without Roundup? Drown them with white vinegar.