Gardening tips 2022 — Expert reveals $3 item for healthier plants – and it may already be in your pantry

AN EVERYDAY item you might already have in your pantry can help you get healthier, more beautiful plants in your garden.

On TikTok, gardening enthusiast Megan London explained there’s a super cheap item that may already have — or that you can find at any grocery store — that will work wonders for your garden if you’re on a budget.

“You’re probably like, what could that be? Powdered milk,” she revealed in a recent video.

Holding up a bag of Walmart’s Great Value brand instant nonfat dry milk, Megan told viewers, “Let me show you what it’s packed full of,” before showing that the common pantry item has plenty of calcium and potassium, both essential for healthy plants.

“Just mix a little in with the soil a few inches in, cover it, and leave,” she said.

For another similar tip, experts at The Spruce say you can also use regular milk in your garden by diluting it with water and putting it in a spray bottle to spritz on plant leaves.

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  • Benefits of using a stirrup hoe

    Not only was the stirrup hoe faster but it hurt his hands less.

    If you are worried about hand cramps, you can just use a hand weeder, but Compagnucci reported that doing so would still take more time than using a stirrup hoe.

    Moreover, you also don’t have to bend down with a stirrup hoe, which can relieve back pain.

    The stirrup hoe can be used in multiple soil varieties, even denser soils.

  • Cut weeding time in half with this Home Depot product

    Gardening expert Sebastian Compagnucci has shared a convenient and affordable product that can cut your weeding time by half.

    Pulling weeds can be very time-consuming and tiring. While a hand weeder is useful, a stirrup hoe is far better, according to the gardening aficionado.

    With a stirrup hoe only being $25 at Home Depot, it is definitely worth the investment, Compagnucci wrote in The New York Times.

    The gardening tool uses a back and forth push-pull motion to swiftly move through your garden and cut through weeds tangled within your garden.

    In an experiment, gardening expert Compagnucci found that using his hands to weed took 15 minutes and 17 seconds, while the stirrup hoe only took 7 minutes and 16 seconds.

  • Outdoor vegetables that can grow in shade

    If you’re looking to grow vegetables in the shade, here are some recommendations:

    • Swiss chard
    • Brassicas
    • Salad leaves
    • Beetroot
    • Kohlrabi
    • Radishes
    • Carrots
    • Leeks
    • Kale
    • Broad beans
  • Outdoor plants that can grow without sun

    Here are some plants that can grow well in the shade:

    • Wood spurge, Iris foetidissima
    • Wood spurge, Euphorbia amygdaloides
    • Snowdrops, Galanthus nivalis
    • Winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis
    • Bellflower, Campanula lactiflora
    • Foxglove, Digitalis purpurea
    • Granny’s bonnet, Aquilegia
    • Bleeding heart, Lamprocapnos spectabilis
    • Lungwort, Pulmonaria
    • Siberian bugloss, Brunnera macrophylla
  • What to do if your garden doesn’t get sun

    Preparing the soil for your garden plants is one of the most important things you can do for them since they thrive in well-drained, rich soil.

    Purchase low-light soil mixtures from gardening stores and supplement them with compost and slow-release fertilizer.

    Plants that thrive in mild or partial shade should also be considered.

    There are methods you may do to increase the amount of light in your garden.

    Mirrors, for example, can be used to reflect light and heat from the sun.

    Alternatively, paint a wall white to allow light to reflect and disperse in many directions.

  • Will my garden thrive if it doesn’t receive sun?

    It’s just as vital to know where to put your plants as it is to know what varieties to cultivate in the first place.

    What can be easily cultivated will be significantly influenced by external temps, however, the final location of your chosen vegetables will determine how well they thrive.

    Some plants like bright, sunny settings, while others prefer to be in the shade.

    Most plants require at least six to eight hours of light every day, but others require as much as 10 or up to 14 hours of light to grow.

    Some shade-loving plants may survive with only three to four hours of sunlight.

  • Call your local garden center

    If you are unsure of how to care for your plants, hop on the phone or online and get in touch with your local garden center, rather than resorting to the internet.

    Nursery employees will have an up-to-the-minute understanding of your area’s conditions, and any plant care tips that are unique to your climate and soil.

    Calling them with a question or stopping in is totally fine – they want your plants to thrive, too.

  • Banana peels and gardening, continued

    Banana peels are packed with nutrients that roses need to thrive.

    This includes potassium which aids in the plant’s immune system.

    Dempsey also stated: “Watering the soil thoroughly afterward will aid in the breakdown of the peels and will support new growth.

    “Putting a banana peel on the ground near the base of a rose plant is the simplest way to increase potassium levels.

    “Chopping the peel first reduces the time it takes for the peel to degrade, allowing the potassium to reach your plants sooner.”

    Per the expert, banana peels can make the compost richer, which is great for all your plants.

  • Banana peels and gardening

    It’s been said that incorporating banana peels into your gardening routine can give a rose the nutrients it needs to survive.

    John Dempsey, a gardening expert at Housetastic, spoke to Express.co.uk about the process.

    He said: “Applying two or three banana peels to the soil will provide an advantage to newly planted roses.

    “You should put a chopped banana peel in the bottom of the hole before inserting the plant and mixing the rest with compost and soil around the new plant.”

  • Flattening a bumpy lawn, conclusion

    Fill the uneven patches using a hard-bristled brush to create a level surface, and water them well to encourage new grass to grow.

    Finally, sow some fresh grass seeds on any areas that are bare and need re-covering.

    Make sure to distribute more on scarce patches or on lumps that have born torn up.

    Always lay grass seeds on a mild, spring day and make sure to water them well once the seeds have been sown.

  • How to flatten a bumpy lawn, continued

    Make sure to water the areas well to encourage new grass to grow to create a seamless finish.

    For larger lumps and bumps, you’ll need a few extra tools.

    Start by mowing the lawn and then use a rake to uplift thatch (clumps of dead grass) and other organic matter.

    Once you’ve removed uneven patches, top-dress them with sand and soil using a 40:60 ratio.

  • How to flatten out a bumpy lawn

    Flattening out bumpy ground can be done at any time of the year, but the gardening experts at The Daily Express reported it is best to get started in spring.

    Start with smaller bumps (less than one inch) and simply use your foot to press them firmly down.

    If you have holes made by animals, fill them with topsoil, compressing the earth with your foot to create a solid surface.

  • Add a wildflower mix to your grass

    When it comes to mowing, gardening expert Marc Kerr suggests leaving just one patch un-mowed and applying a wildflower mix to help attract pollinators.

    “Natural grass is a habitat for birds, bees, and the planet,” he added.

    “Pollinators need green spaces to keep their ecosystem thriving.”

  • Minimize chances of scalping

    Gardening expert Marc Kerr notes that being aware of how much grass you trim each time will help to minimize chances of scalping.

    The gardening expert explains that this is something you’ll come across if your grass is trimmed so short that it reveals the grass stems.

    As a result, the grass may see less sun, increasing the chances of a brown lawn.

    Instead, the expert says that leaving grass blades long enough to attract energy from the sun will ensure they’ll grow thick and healthy.

    “Set the blades to the highest setting for your first mow, and make sure not to remove more than one-third of the grass blade at once,” he explained.

  • Get thicker grass by mowing regularly

    You can get thicker and healthier grass by regularly trimming small amounts.

    Marc Kerr, who is the co-founder of UK subscription lawncare brand So&Mo, spoke to The Express and revealed that it’s all to do with how often you mow the lawn.

    He begins by explaining that while some green-fingered homeowners may be tempted to cut the blades really short every now and then, it’s instead best to go for a more regular, smaller trim.

    “For an established lawn, mowing little and often is the secret,” he explained.

    “As the weather warms, the more regularly you can cut, the better.

    “Every three to four days will encourage the grass to grow thicker and healthier.”

  • Length is the key to the healthiest grass

    By mowing your lawn shorter as the weather gets colder, you can keep your lawn healthier year-round, a gardening expert says.

    Your gardening habits should change along with the different demands of the seasons.

    Phil Dwyer from Scotts’ research and development team said that you should start dropping the blade of your mower in late fall, The Delite reported.

    By cutting your lawn about one to two inches shorter, you can keep your grass healthy and unmatted.

    “Continue to mow shorter until your grass stops growing in early winter, when both you and your lawn head into hibernation mode,” Dwyer said.

    “For that final mowing, go even a little bit lower.”

  • $4 weed killer

    According to the experts, the secret to a weed-free garden and lawn is lime, and no, it’s not the kind you eat.

    Lime used in gardens is made from crushed-up limestone, rock, or dolomite, and when applied to soil, it raises the pH level, making the soil less acidic.

    Lime also contains magnesium and calcium, which are vital for a healthy garden.

    It’s actually the lack of calcium in soil that provides the condition for weeds to thrive in.

  • Do not use salt to remove weeds

    You may have seen hacks on TikTok or Instagram that suggest using common household products like vinegar, baking soda, or salt to kill weeds.

    Cass Heaphy, Digital Director at Paving Direct, spoke to Express.co.uk and said to avoid the temptation.

    He warned that salt can damage paving, harm soil, and prevent future growth when used on other grassy areas.

  • Make your garden look bigger

    You can make small outdoor spaces look bigger than they are by using three simple tricks:

    Paint your fence a lighter color – it’ll add more natural light and help your flowers stand out.

    Use storage containers and small planters to help you save space.

    Finally, tall and slender plants around the sides of your garden will make your space feel bigger.

    Garden mirrors can also be useful to bounce light and create an illusion of more space.

  • Use pots for mint plants

    If planted in your garden, mint will quickly take over and disrupt the surrounding plants.

    “Keep it contained to pots,” the gardening expert known as @greenthumbdiaries advised.

    By planting your mint in pots, you can keep it all together and prevent it from infesting your other plants.

    Plus, you can keep your pot closer to your back door, making it easily accessible to grab some mint as you cook.

  • Why you should keep mint out of the garden

    One gardening expert known as @greenthumbdiaries on social media posted a video revealing the common plant you should never keep in your garden.

    Though it makes a great ingredient in homemade dishes, you should not plant mint in your backyard garden.

    “Mint is highly invasive,” said the expert.

    “It can quickly spread.”

    Once planted, due to its horizontal root structure, the expert said the plant creates many new stems as it grows.

  • Veggie harvest

    A Twitter gardener shared an image of her first harvest of the season.

  • How to banish grass from flowerbeds, conclusion

    Johnson also recommended selective herbicides like Ornamec, which can be applied broadly over some plants to kill off grass.

    The label should indicate if a selective herbicide is safe for your garden.

    If you’re extremely careful, you can also use a non-selective herbicide to patch-treat.

    “To treat the grass growing close to the garden plants, put on rubber gloves first and then a cheap cotton glove second,” Johnson instructed.

    “Using two fingers on the cotton glove, dip into the herbicide and carefully wipe the blades of grass, avoiding any drips on adjacent garden plants.”

    If you wait until the dead of summer, it will be hard to kill off grass with herbicides: the products work best when grass is actively growing and might lose efficacy in the heat.

  • How to banish grass from flowerbeds, continued

    If your perennials are crowded with grass, you can try another solution.

    Gently lift the perennials out of the bed, and remove the grass infestation from their root balls.

    Before you re-plant them, dig out the remaining grass.

    You’ll need to keep an eye out for new grass growth in the days and weeks after you do this.

    Try and do this before the weather gets too warm, Johnson warned.

    “You can also wait until the weather is cooler in early September or next spring before using this technique to reduce stress on the plants,” he wrote.

    “If you decide to wait, then pull the grass as best you can and do not allow it to go to seed.”

  • How to banish grass from flowerbeds

    One method, which is time-intensive but effective, is to start pulling up grass as soon as you see it.

    Beginning this process earlier in the season is better, Johnson wrote, because it keeps grass from putting down deep roots and spreading all over your garden.

    But if you start later in the season, you’ll have better luck if you work while the soil is moist.

    Pulling up grass after a rain shower will make it easier to dislodge the roots, Johnson said.

    “In time, the grass should weaken and eventually disappear,” he added.

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