1. Fruit-picking hook
For that hard to reach fruit!
Cut off the hook from a wire coat hanger. Tie the hook to an old broom handle using wire or string, then use the tool you’ve created to hook fruit that’s high up in the tree. Allow the fruit to drop but be quick to catch it or get out of the way so it doesn’t land on your head.
2. Sowing seeds with conduit
You won’t lose seeds again!
Make a small hole in the ground using the end of 20mm diameter conduit, then place seed down the chute of the 1.2mlong piece of conduit and allow it to fall into the garden bed. You will never have to bend down again to plant your seeds.
3. Cardboard carpet
Bugs stay under!
Create a barrier for cabbage root flies. They won’t be able to come to surface and eat. Salvage cardboard from things like shoeboxes and cereal packets. Cut them into 100mm x 100mm squares. Make a hole in the centre and then on one side cut a slit towards the centre. Slide the cardboard around the plant until the plant is in the centre of the cardboard. Laying cardboard this way also helps to keep moisture in and stops seedlings swaying in the wind.
4. Milk carton dripper
Every drop counts!
During the warmer months, create your own garden dripper. Recycle threelitre plastic milk containers and place a small hole in the centre of the lid. Fill the container with water and tighten the lid. Secure the container upside down in the garden bed near a tree trunk or plant that requires moisture. Water will drip ever so slowly, ensuring your plants never go thirsty. Remember to refill once the water runs out.
5. Keep out frost
Warm vegies in winter!
Place bricks around a levelled garden bed. Lay recycled glass panels or rigid plastic sheets across the bricks and over the seedlings to protect them against frost during winter. Make sure you secure the panels in case of high winds. Down to earth Are you always in a hurry? No time to shop around or money to spend on expensive garden materials and tools? Then why not try these age-old ideas that work just as well anything you can buy?
6. Bug ban
Insects don’t stand a chance!
Ants, female moth and earwigs march their way up the trunk to tender shoots of your favourite fruit tree. What do you do? Wrap 100mm-wide aluminium foil around the trunk of the fruit tree. Coat the foil with Vaseline, Vicks Vapour Rub or something sticky (non-food). Insects won’t stand a chance climbing up the fruit tree.
7. Slug trap
Sink a margarine container and ensure it is level and firmly in the ground. Pour a little beer in the container and leave it overnight. Slugs and snails will be attracted to it and drink themselves silly. In the morning lift the container and hand it over to your chickens.
8. Pyramid planter
Collect three or four different-sized buckets or round containers. Drill holes in them and add stone or gravel to each. Half-fill the buckets with organic compost and place them on top of each other, starting with the largest, to form a pyramid. Plant tomatoes or strawberries around each bucket and top up with soil. Water well and keep the pyramid planter in the sun.
9. Waging a weed war
Try this very simple but effective process to get rid of weeds once and for all without nasty chemicals. Boil some water and pour it directly over the weeds, scorching the leaves right down to the roots. For a stronger effect, apply when the sun is at its hottest. If you are on water restrictions, use some grey water or rain water from your tank. For those persistent weeds that never seem to die, add a couple of tablespoons of salt to the water. But be careful not to pour this solution near your plants because it will burn them, too.
10. Garden diary
Keep a record!
Have you ever thought of keeping a diary of garden events? This way, you can keep a record of what works and what doesn’t. Here is a sample diary entry dated February 2, 2010: