6 Easy Gardening Hacks You Can Do With Kids At Home
Some easy gardening hacks you can enjoy with the kids to unlock your inner plantito/plantita.
To cope with the pandemic, a lot of us became plantitos and plantitas. We found ways to grow fruits, vegetables, and herbs in our gardens and shifted to a more locavore lifestyle. But with the tons of articles out there on Google, we can get overwhelmed with all sorts of tips that need more effort than just growing the plant. So, we’ve come up with a list of easy gardening hacks to unlock your green thumb.
1. Coffee Grinds = Perfect Fertilizer
Since some of us make our own coffee at home, we probably have a lot of used coffee grinds. While some turn the used coffee grinds into soap or facial wash, we can use them as fertilizer and pest deterrent. Coffee has a high amount of nitrogen which helps your plants grow more leaves and sustain itself when there’s little sunlight. You can have the kids either throw the coffee grinds onto the plant directly to keep the snails and creepy crawlies away or onto the soil for fertilizer.
2. Eggshells as a Pest Shield
We often see eggshells on top of cacti to prevent people from pricking themselves on our plants. But eggshells are also rich in Calcium Carbonate (CaCO₃), the most common form of calcium for plants and humans. All it takes is some crushing and add a little vinegared water (1 tsp to 2 cups water) to extract the calcium and give it to the plants. But if you want to keep them as a shield against pests, you can just crush them into larger fragments and litter them around the base of the plant to keep the nasty grubs and snails away.
3. Egg Cartons as Plant Nurseries
Just like how we can’t easily mix our bigger kids with our smaller kids, smaller plants need to be kept in a separate place we call a nursery. Most nurseries come in the form of silicon trays but it’s not something we call sustainable so, why not use egg carton trays? Use a pen or a knife to poke holes into the tray so that the seedlings won’t drown. Then, if the kids want to decorate it, they can use some waterproof paint.
4. Nut shells as drains for your plants
We Filipinos always have the case of the munchies, be it in the form of potato chips or nuts. But what to do with the shells? Don’t just throw them away! You can make a soil cake out of it. Alternate layers between soil and nuts to help the soil stay damp and not too wet. Having the soil wet will cause the roots to rot and it’ll kill the plant. It’ll also make your plants less prone to root damage when you and the kids want to transfer the plants to another pot or into the ground.
5. Vinegar/Lemon Juice and Chili = Makeshift Organic Pesticide
One rule we, plantitas, have for dealing with pests is the more acidic, the faster it’ll kill them. While some of us would prefer using dishwashing soap as a pest killer, it’ll affect the soil’s balance a bit and it might do more harm than good. One gardening hack includes just mixing lemon juice and chili. It will deter not only feral/stray cats (they hate citrus!) from eating your plant but it’ll keep the bugs away, too.
6. Looking for Seeds? Calamansi, Lemon, and Taiwan Chili’s All You Need!
Flowers are nice and all but if you want to nurture the green thumb in your kids, you’ll need something a little hardy. Calamansi, Lemon, and Taiwan Chili (the ones we often call Siling Labuyo) are hardy plants and are easy to find. We get Calamansi and the Taiwan Chili every time we order Inasal chicken so, all we need to do is take the seeds. Calamansi might need some tweezers since it does have an extra seed coating but for chili, all you have to do is brush it out from the pod and onto the soil. Give it 2-3 weeks while watering every other day and poof, you and the kids will now have your own chili plant!
Unlock your inner plantita with these gardening hacks!
A lot of times, we rely on the commercial items to garden when majority of our ingredients are just at home. Plus, it’ll be a fun bonding experience with the kids who are most likely taking botany as part of their science in homeschool. Our becoming a plantita or plantito also helps the environment as we try to clean the air, one plant at a time. It’ll take some time but these gardening hacks will at least make it less confusing and keep the waste to a minimum.