Weird organic gardening secrets from your kitchen
Both cooking ingredients and kitchen scraps are useful things for your garden. Kitchen ingredients and scraps can improve the soil quality in your garden, as well as fight insects and rodents organically. Try these ideas:
Animal fats: In the winter, beef, pork and chicken drippings can all be saved up in a container. After you have about 2 cups, melt it gently in the microwave and add enough birdseed to make your own suet balls. Suet provides much needed extra calories for birds in the winter.
Netting from clementine boxes and netting onion bags: Put home-made suet balls into the netting, gather up the 4 corners with rubber bands, and tie with string to tree branches. Attracting birds to your garden is a good thing; in the spring, birds will stay on your property and look for insects to eat as well as to feed their young. Birds are an important part of the ecosystem of your garden.
Hot sauce: Are squirrels chewing on your wood deck or fence rails? Squirrels have teeth like beavers, meaning their teeth continue to grow so they chew on fairly hard materials to keep them short. Discourage chewing squirrels by putting hot sauce straight out of the bottle on wood decks and railings. Repeat once a week and after a good rainstorm. Squirrels will soon learn to stay away. Cayenne pepper: If you like to feed birds, but find that the feeding station is attracting more squirrels than birds, mix in some cayenne pepper with the birdseed. The birds don’t care and the squirrels will learn to move along.
Coffee grounds: Evergreens such as cedar, spruce and pine trees thrive in acidic soil. You can help them out by saving up your spent coffee ground and brewed tea leaves and putting them at the base of your evergreens. Set up a rotation schedule so that each plant gets a quart every, say, 2 months or so. Dig it in gently around the roots, but stay away from the actual trunk. Putting coffee grounds on a patch of clover will kill it, eventually. Grass isn’t bothered by acidic soil, but clover dislikes it altogether. It may take all summer to kill off that clover patch, but it will save the environment from harmful chemicals.
Egg shells: Save eggshells in a bag or box in your garage, but rinse then off first to discourage bugs. When you have a quart or more saved up, you can crush them inside a plastic bag and spread them around the base of plants that get attacked by slugs, such as hostas. The sharp egg shells will cut slugs’ bodies and they’ll move to easier meals—in some else’s garden. Another used for pulverized egg shells is as a supplement to tomatoes. Starting during flowering, tomatoes need calcium for the fruit to set properly. If calcium is lacking in the soil, tomatoes suffer from blossom end rot, which looks like black mold. Using saved up, pulverized egg shells replaces a box of $10 bone meal which does the same thing.
Garlic and onions: Chop or grind 1 small head of garlic, 1 small onion, 1 tsp. cayenne pepper and mix with 1 quart/litre of water. Let steep 1 hour, strain into a spray bottle then add liquid hand soap (not laundry detergent). This all-purpose bug spray will keep in the fridge for about a week.