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DIY Garden Hacks That Actually Work

A woman plants flowers in a garden
Juice Flair/Shutterstock.com

We could spend hours talking about all of the amazing benefits of gardening. It’s good for your mental and physical well-being, it’s a fun and family-friendly hobby, and it’s a great way to help the planet while reaping the rewards of growing your own food.

There’s a common misconception that you need to have a green thumb to be a successful gardener. Maybe you’ve even tried your hand at growing veggies and herbs in the past, only to be disappointed.

Thankfully, you don’t have to be a mulch master or garden guru to see results. There are a few DIY garden hacks that can help you achieve the garden of your dreams, and even if you are already a gardening pro, they could help you, too.

Use Coca-Cola on Gardening Tools


Your gardening experience will be much better if you’re using the right tools—and using them the right way! Before you start digging in the dirt, make sure your tools are clean and strong. If you’ve been neglecting them for a while, you don’t necessarily have to spend money on new equipment.

Instead, try removing rust from old garden tools with Coca-Cola. Yes, the same fizzy beverage you like to cool off with in the summer can actually dissolve rust, thanks to the phosphoric acid in its formula.

Simply fill a large container with Coke, submerge your garden tools, and let them soak for 24 hours. The next day, you can wipe them off and most of the rush should be gone. You’re ready to roll!

Aimerla Gardening Tools Set

Just in case you do need replacements.

Repel Pests With Certain Plants

Someone tends to basil plants

Even if you’re solely interested in a vegetable garden, the last thing you want is for pesky insects to come and eat all of your hard work or destroy everything before it has a chance to grow.

Thankfully, there are some plants and flowers that work as natural insect repellents.

For example, lemongrass, thyme, and basil can help to ward off mosquitos, while marigolds and dill will keep aphids away.

Outdoor Vertical Planter Set

This stacked planter set is perfect for growing basil and thyme!

Add Nutrients With Coffee

Someone puts coffee grounds in a potted plant
Nor Gal/Shutterstock.com

Pouring coffee all over your plants might seem like something you would do before you’ve actually had a cup. But, coffee contains a lot of nitrogen—an essential nutrient for plants that helps with amino acid formation and encourages growth and structural integrity.

While you shouldn’t just dump a pot of hot coffee all over your garden, you can dilute it with water and use it to feed your garden about once a week. But, make sure your garden contains plants that like acidic soil, like daffodils.

Ninja DCM201CP Programmable XL 14-Cup Coffee Maker PRO with Permanent Filter

Your coffee maker can pull double-duty by making your morning cup of joe and helping your garden grow.

Supercharge Your Compost With Eggshells

Compost with egg shells
Anna Hoychuk/Shutterstock.com

Composting is a great way to add nutrients to your garden soil and to help your plants and produce grow.

If you really want to pump up the nutritious value of your compost pile, consider adding leftover eggshells. Rinse out your eggshells after making your morning omelet and let them dry. Once they’re dried out, crush them up and toss them in the compost bin.

Eggshells have a ton of calcium and it will slowly be released into the soil as they break down, providing a healthy and necessary ingredient to thriving plants.

Utopia Kitchen Compost Bin for Kitchen Countertop

Add eggshells to your compost bin for calcium-rich soil.

Water While You’re Away

A watering can pours water onto a plant in the ground.

While a garden takes a lot of time and attention, you don’t need to babysit it 24/7. You can even go on vacation and have peace of mind that it’ll thrive while you’re away—if you try this DIY watering method.

DIY drip watering jugs are easy to make, a great way to use up old milk jugs, and work really well for keeping your soil moist. Take a two-liter soda bottle or gallon milk jug and poke tiny holes around. the bottom with a pin. Partially bury it in the soil next to a plant and fill it up with water. The water will slowly seep into the soil over the next few days, providing a steady stream of moisture to your precious plants.

Giraffe Tools Garden Hose

Make filling water jugs easy with this flexible garden hose.

Plant Plastic Forks

White plastic forks are stuck into soil in a garden.

A fork garden might sound a little weird, but “planting” plastic forks in and around your garden is a cheap and easy way to deter raccoons, cats, deer, and squirrels from coming into the garden and feasting on your plants. They don’t like stepping on the plastic tines, and will have a hard time navigating around them!

POSATE Heavy Weight Plastic Forks

Buy plastic forks in bulk to keep your garden critter-free!

Spice Things Up With Cinnamon

Cinnamon is added to the soil of a plant.

Chances are, you have a container of cinnamon in your spice cabinet right now. While you might typically save it for fall and winter desserts, consider bringing it out in the summer and sprinkle it all over the soil.

Cinnamon has anti-fungal properties and can effectively kill plant fungi. While it might not be as powerful as commercial anti-fungal solutions, it can work in a pinch—especially if you have young seedlings that are trying to thrive!

Grower's Ally Fungicide Spray for Plants | Plant Fungicide Treatment Control for Powdery Mildew, Fungus and More

If you need an extra anti-fungal boost, try this spray to keep your plants healthy.

Get Your Nails Soapy

Woman's hands holding a bar of soap
Yauheniya Julia/Shutterstock.com

Are you tired of scrubbing the dirt off of your fingers and nails for what feels like hours after spending time digging in the garden? Do you hate it when that dirt seems to linger beneath your fingernails for days? While it might be a badge of horticultural honor, it doesn’t look great.

Thankfully, by rubbing a bar of soap over your nails before you start digging, you can keep them clean! The soap serves as a protective barrier, keeping the dirt from penetrating beneath your nails. While you’ll still need to wash up after a day in the dirt, it will be a lot easier to keep your fingernails clean and clear.

Fingernail Brush Cleaner Scrubbing Kit

Keep your fingernails so fresh and so clean after you've been digging in the dirt.

Having a garden can be a lot of fun, and it’s incredibly rewarding. Don’t let some of the minor risks or the potential of frustration keep you from creating the garden you’ve always wanted.

Whether it takes up your entire backyard or you’ve got a small and simple raised bed, these DIY plant hacks will make it easy to care for your garden on your terms and on your time. Once you start to see the fruits of your labor, you’re likely to be motivated to make your garden even bigger and better next season!

Stacey Koziel Stacey Koziel
Stacey Koziel is a news writer at LifeSavvy. She's worked as a freelance writer for over ten years, focusing on family and lifestyle content. She also has a background in marketing and social media, and is always eager to talk (and write!) about the latest TikTok trends. Read Full Bio »
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