Easy DIY Gardening Hacks

DIY Garden Markers

Homemade garden markers are a fun and creative project that are also a great way to save money. Anyone who has started seeds knows that all the markers you bought can end up being used in no time flat. We have certainly found ourselves in the position of running out of garden markers and making mental notes like “Okay, Zucchini is in the back corner and the pumpkin is on the left.” We all know that eventually it is easy to lose track of which seedlings are which, especially when you plant several varieties that look similar, or are unfamiliar with what baby plants look like. 

Based on our experience, we’ve found that many DIY garden marker projects fall short of expectations when actually using them over a full season in your garden. Garden markers that are made from popsicle sticks, tape, laminated paper, etc. are always cute at first, but often fade and distort after being subjected to sun and regular contact with water. Time and time again we had to resort to the less desirable, less eco-friendly alternative of store bought plastic markers simply because they stand the test of time. 

In order to reduce environmental impact and waste, we wanted to share this tutorial which upcycles empty plastic yogurt containers to create durable markers. 

To make this project, you will need:

  • An empty plastic yogurt container (quarts work best)
  • Scissors
  • Permanent marker 
  • Boxcutter (optional)
Our favorite DIY gardening hack: make your own upcycled garden markers

Step 1: Thoroughly wash the empty container with soap and water. Make sure to remove any oil residue from the fats in the yogurt, as they will cause the marker to rub off. Let dry. 

Step 2: Cut off the base of the container with a box cutter or a sharp pair of scissors

Step 3: Using your scissors, cut the container down the middle so it can be laid out “flat”

Step 4: Cut the rest of the container into strips (about ½ inch in width) 

Step 5: Cut a “V” shape into the bottom of each strip, so it can be easily inserted in to soil

Step 6: Write on the blank side of your marker using a permanent marker. If you have colored permanent markers, we encourage you to get artsy with it, and make small illustrations or use color coding to help distinguish varieties in the garden, such as red for tomatoes and green for lettuce.

Note: Any type of opaque plastic can work, and many other foods that come in various shapes and sizes can be cut up to make long strips to be used as markers. If you don’t consume yogurt on a regular basis, take a look in your recycling bin for plastic milk bottles, laundry detergent, tall opaque juice bottles, and to-go containers

Gardening Hack: make your own easy DIY garden markers

DIY Seed Starting Tray

We don’t know about you, but sometimes we end up getting a bit overzealous with seed starting. Especially when we find ourselves standing in front of the seed rack at our local nursery, and seeing so many fun varieties. Dreaming about the possibilities of your future garden and all of the plants in it is always fun – until you run out of supplies. Somehow we find seed trays to be one of the things that we run out of before we run out of seeds! This DIY seed starting tray ensures that you won’t lose your momentum when you are on a roll. 

To make this project, you will need:

  • An empty cardboard egg crate
  • Scissors
  • Coconut fiber pellets, Jiffy pellets or a seed starting soil mix
  • Seeds
Garden hacks: DIY seed starting tray, DIY mini greenhouse

Step 1: If you are using seed starting pellets, soak with water and set aside

Step 2: Using scissors, cut the lid off of the egg crate

Step 3: Place the moistened pellets (or seed starting soil mix) into each depression. If using soil mix, fill to the top edge, and gently compact to ensure there is enough density of soil. 

Step 4: Make an indentation and plant your seeds. We suggest watering with a mister or spray bottle, to avoid displacing the seeds, and excessive water which can start to dissolve your egg carton. Depending on the seeds you are starting, consider covering with some sort of clear plastic (clear clamshell to-go containers sometimes will fit your egg carton, especially if you cut it into six-pack, and works perfectly as a mini greenhouse). Stretch wrap also works. Many seeds like to germinate in warmer conditions than when your seed pack suggests you start them. 

Step 5: If you have not made a mini greenhouse (as suggested above) place your egg carton on a plate, or old plastic lid, to avoid water draining and making a mess.

DIY Garden Hacks: make your own mini greenhouse for starting seeds

Upcycled Fabric Grocery Bag Planter

DIY Gardening Hacks: Upcycled planter

Container gardening is a great alternative if you are an apartment dweller who does not have space to start a garden in the ground. Container gardening also helps to keep plants off the ground and protect them from insects and other pests.

If you run out of pots for your plants, there are many creative solutions to explore. One of our favorites is to use a reusable shopping bag as a pot. Planters or pots that are made up of flexible materials are great for plants like tomatoes, potatoes and peppers. They allow for better air circulation, making them a great solution if you tend to over water your plants. Simply fill with potting soil and start gardening! 

Happy Spring!

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