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Gardening is a fine art, and often learning to get it right is a process of trial and error. However, there are top tips and tricks you can learn from professional gardeners – so, whether you want to stop slugs eating your plants, or learn how to keep your soil moist for longer, read on...

  1. Coffee, grapefruit, eggshells, tea and beer all fend off snails and slugs

If your plants constantly fall victim to garden snails and slugs, these common household goods are a great (and eco-friendly) way to discourage them! According to horticultural experts, coffee grounds deter slugs and snails. Using grapefruit skins (cut in half and turned upside down) around your plants also helps keep slugs away from plants. And, as slugs and snails don't like rough territory, they can be deterred by using crushed eggshells around the bottom of precious plants, says plant advisor Jane Earty.

  1. Grind eggshells into a powder and sprinkle in the garden for a calcium boost

Much like humans, all plants need calcium for fresh growth. Calcium is important in plant development and processes and also helps reduce risk of plant diseases. It can reduce disease such as bitter pit in fruits, and help them taste better says horticulture specialist Peter. To give your plants a calcium boost, try feeding them eggshells or even milk!

  1. Baking soda can make home-grown tomatoes taste less tart

'Baking soda can make tomatoes sweeter  but only in tiny amounts as overdosing can poison the soil,' advises expert.

  1. Coffee grounds, pine needles and mushrooms can change the colour of your hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are fascinating in that, unlike most other plants, the colour of their flowers can change dramatically  and it's all down to the pH level of the soil. If the soil is acidic, then the hydrangeas will turn blue, and when the soil is alkaline, then the hydrangeas will be pink!

  1. Soak your seeds in warm water 24 hours before sowing

If you're planting seeds, it could be worth soaking them in warm water 24 hours before sowing. It is a method, for some species, of breaking seed dormancy. All seeds will need to absorb water before germination takes place, so soaking them will speed the germination process up in many plants. But it depends on the seed, 'Soaking large, hard seeds helps break down their outer coating , but small seeds do not need soaking,' says Plant Advisor Jane Earty. 

  1. Plants can protect each other

Nasturtium has a reputation for keeping white-fly at bay, chives(small onion) can prevent lightning strikes, and horseradish (radish) provides protection for potatoes from Colorado beetle. 'Alliums, so often used for their stately plumes, are widely credited with suppression of red spider mites, so could be used in conjunction with many of the plants plagued with this tiny pest.

  1. Rice and nettles can be used to make your own plant feed / fertilizer.

You can cut nettles, put them in a bucket, add water and leave for a few days, then pour the liquid on your plants. Fill a bucket with nettles (remember to wear gloves!) and fill the bucket with water. Cover with a stone to keep the nettles underwater and leave in a corner of the garden for two weeks, then empty out the nettles and keep the water, which can be used, watered down at a ratio of 20:1, on plants. It will provide an excellent source of nitrogen for leafy plants and vegetables such as kale and broccoli. Another top tip for making your own plant feed: the next time you cook rice, keep the water to use as a natural fertilizer in the garden!

  1. Vodka can help flowers stay fresh longer

Vodka inhibits bacteria growth, so a few drops mixed with water would help to keep the flower fresh longer. A teaspoon of sugar can help too, as will pennies, the copper works as an acidifier and inhibits bacteria that way.

Harith Tharang is a decade old plant boutique that aims to spread love, positivity & greenery by means of the nature's gift - plants  ; sells a variety of indoor , outdoor, medicinal, bio-wall plants , plant medicines,  gardening tool, green gifts and so on.  The shop also provides services in developing house gardens, terrace gardens, balcony gardens, kitchen gardens, terrariums and professional maintenance of gardens. The retail store located at 42, Bazullah Road, T.Nagar, Ch-600017,  has a very unique theme of being ecologically friendly, innovative and elegant & offers many innovative products to consumers. It is a one stop, go-to store for all garden lovers. Call 9600120351 to know more details!