Neat Gardening Tips & Tricks: 2016

Dear Readers, 

This Post was originally written around this time last year.  Since then, I’ve learned a little bit more about gardening and made some cool additions to the front, side and back yards respectively, and I thought I’d update this little post with some things that came into my head today.  So, some of it’s a re-read and some of it’s new.  

My hope is, you’ve acquired a year’s worth of new gardening tips & tricks to share with me! 😉 Kristen 


While I was working in my garden today, I took pictures of the plants that have recently improved, bloomed or yielded crops.  While doing so, I began to think about some of the neat tips and tricks I have learned through my own gardening experiences.  I thought I would share some of that knowledge with you in this post in the event you were considering planting a Spring Garden this year.  Also, if you notice any incorrect information, or have any suggestions for me to try in my own garden, please share as I am continually learning.  

While it would be a boost to my ego for you to just blindly follow my instructions, I will explain why these gardening tips and tricks work.

There are opportunities to improve the quality of the plants in your garden that you may be missing daily!


If your household consumes eggs, make sure to save the shells to crush up for working into the soil.  Eggs shells contain calcium and as they decompose, naturally fertilize your plants.  By placing crushed eggshells into the planting hole first, you can prevent blossom rot from happening to your crops, as it is caused by a lack of calcium in the soil.  

Another cool service crushed eggshells can offer is an organic Slug & Snail deterrent.  You can avoid having your plants damaged by soft-bodied pests like these if you line coarsely ground eggshells around the base of your plant.  I know, it sounds gruesome, but before they can even crawl up the base of your plant, the sharp edges of the eggshells will *take care* of your pest problem, if you know what I mean. 

The point being: This is a pesticide and chemical free solution.  

And if you are just not that into outdoor gardening, save your eggshells anyway.  When cleaned properly, they can provide an excellent filler to soil for your indoor potted like ferns, spider plants, and even INDOOR FIGS!, which, I just learned you can grow potted inside your house with enough room and sunlight.  

Hello, beautiful dream house with Fig Tree.  


Do you drink coffee or know someone who does? Fantastic! Those coffee grounds that would normally go into the trash can be saved in a Ziploc bag or other container and then worked into your soil or sprinkled around the plants in your garden.


Why should you do this? Coffee grounds are slightly acidic and contain nitrogen.  Nitrogen aids in plant growth. This will help any plant, but the ones that really thrive on Nitrogen are: tomatoes, blueberries, evergreens and Roses! 


See? My Roses love coffee grounds!

104_1069I think my Zinnias do too.

I don’t drink coffee, but  I have begun drinking coffee, and my mom is an established coffee drinker.  :-) She saves up her coffee grounds for me, storing them in her freezer until I am ready to use them.  I directly benefit from her resistance to join the K-Cup bandwagon.  :-)

You can also use coffee grounds for mulch or toss them in your Compost Bin.

Speaking of Compost Bins…


Probably half of what you are putting in your trash can or down your garbage disposal is going to waste, literally.  If you don’t already, start composting immediately!

Why should you do this? Because broken-down compost improves the quality of your soil by adding nutrients and other good stuff to have happy and productive plants, like my Fig trees!
For success, your composting needs to be an equal mix of green compost and brown compost.  

What do I mean by this?

Brown Compost includes dry leaves, wood chips, straw/pine needles, newspaper, sawdust and corn stalks.

Green Compost includes coffee grounds, food scraps, grass clippings and manure.


My Compost Bin (ABOVE) is currently unbalanced because it contains too much green material (food scraps), so I’m going to balance it out with a good layer of brown material (BELOW).


If you want to a good source for composting information and a step-by-step guide, you can check out this page on

Start composting and the results will speak for themselves.


Weed growth is inevitable, especially in an Organic Garden, but you don’t want to make it easy for them, do you?  Get mulching, people!

Why should you do this? Mulching around your (desired) plants helps “suffocate” weeds and prevents them from soaking up sunlight.

For mulching in my garden, I use blackout ground cover, mulch and pine needles.  It has really helped with keeping the weeds at bay AND the mulch helps regulate the soil temperature to keep my plants comfortable.   Below, you can see that I try to keep the entire surrounding area mulched to deter weeds.  

The point being: This is a pesticide and chemical free solution.

If you JUST can’t get enough mulching information, check out this page on

Seriously, there is such a website.


Here’s another quick one: Get free water for your plants by investing in a Food-Grade Rain Barrel.  

Food. Grade.  A regular plastic garbage can, bucket, container, etc, is not a good idea for storing water long-term.  The chemicals from the plastic will leach into the water that you’ll be watering your plants with.  The same plants that will be growing the Organic Fruits and Vegetables which you’ve worked so hard to keep Chemical and Pesticide Free!  It’s also important that it be covered so that you are not attracting mosquitoes or other insects with standing water.  

Rain Barrel Water Conservation 


My Front Yard Rain Barrel & Surrounding Mulched Areas


Side Yard Very Early 2014: Tiny Fig Trees with Surrounding Mulched Areas


Front Yard Broccoli & Romaine; gone to seed: Protected from weeds by surrounding mulch.


There are so many plants that will regrow from scraps like Green Onions, Celery, Pineapple and Romaine lettuce.

I haven’t grown any Romaine recently, but you can check out last Spring’s crop in this post.


You can see that my Pineapples have gone from this:


To this:


Another re-planting option is to sprout seeds/pits from the food you consume.  Like, Avocadoes!  This Florida Avocado tree, shown at 6 months and then 12 months old, was just a pit in Spring of 2014.



You can check out My Post on:  


So anyway, there are the tricks and tips that I thought I would share with you today.  I hope they are helpful and that, by following them, you improve the quality of your your own garden as you begin to plan for this Spring.

Do you have any gardening tips or tricks that you can share?



10 thoughts on “Neat Gardening Tips & Tricks: 2016

  1. Okay, you are inspiring me to get serious about a garden this year. Be prepared for lots of silly questions if I do :)

    Oh, and I am coveting those zinnias. My favorite!!

    • Kat, I am thrilled that I have inspired you! I was surprised that the zinnias bloomed because it has been so cold (to me) here. As for the questions, ask away!! :-)

      • I will take you up on that!

        I have been researching “bag gardening” as a possible way to start. I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew sometimes. Trying to temper that a bit and start small/easy. I am in Upstate SC, so I have a month or two until spring to plan.

  2. I know a lot of people thing this is gross, but if you don’t have a ton of space for composting (or lots of “brown” materials) I think worm composting is great! The make amazing fertilizer and eat up all your scraps!

  3. Love the coffee information! I once read at Blissful Britt’s blog about using coffee grinds for a facial scrub. I love my Nespresso buds because they are totally reusable – the grinds and the pods (used to make park benches and aluminum siding for houses). I shall tell my gardening friends about your suggestion!!

    • That’s cool about the facial scrub idea. It makes sense. I will have to check it out. Nespresso is smart for packing in a non-wasteful and reusable way. Fantastic!

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