11 Secrets You Won’t Learn at the Garden Center

You can grow beautiful, healthy plants by using these common, inexpensive household items when you garden.

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Newspaper makes excellent mulch

Newspaper makes excellent mulchistock/Savushkin
Lay several sheets of newsprint over soil and then cover with mulch; they'll help retain moisture and suffocate weeds.

Water ferns with tea

Water ferns with teaistock/Simotion
Water your ferns and acid-loving plants like hydrangeas with brewed tea for luscious-looking leaves. Have you tried these other surprising uses for tea?

Banana peels are a rosebush's best friend

Banana peels are a rosebush's best friendistock/Imagesbybarbara
Keep aphids off your rosebushes by burying dried or cut up banana peels an inch or two deep around the base of the plant. (Whole peels will attract animals, who will dig them up.)

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Aluminum foil deters insects

Aluminum foil deters insectsistock/StockImages_AT
Mix strips of aluminum foil with mulch and you'll keep bugs away. The foil will also reflect light back on the plants, which encourages growth. These are other creative ways to use aluminum foil.

Salt is a natural pest killer

Salt is a natural pest killeristock/Lepro
Kill snails and slugs by dousing them with salt—they won't survive long.

Ripen end-of-season tomatoes

Ripen end-of-season tomatoesistock/kosobu
Ripen end-of-season tomatoes perfectly by wrapping in a couple sheets of newspaper once they're off the vine. Store in an airtight container in a dark cabinet or closet, checking every few days.

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Kill compost odor

Kill compost odor istock/kruwt
Add wet, shredded paper to compost to remove odor.

Tea enriches your soil

Tea enriches your soilistock/WJBurgwal
Sprinkle new or used tea leaves around ferns and acid-loving plants and cover with mulch—when you water, nutrients from the tea will release into the soil.

Fruit attracts butterflies

Fruit attracts butterfliesistock/inurbanspace
If you want more butterflies in your garden, place overripe bananas or other fruit on a raised platform. Be sure they're above head level and not centrally located, because they will also draw bees and wasps; and bring the food indoors before sunset to avoid unwanted hungry critters.

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Hang foil to scare birds away

Hang foil to scare birds awayistock/shellhawker
If crows or birds are a problem, hang foil strips on plants to scare them away. You can also take strips of foil or foil-wrapped seashells, and string them from branches to startle bigger animals.

A salt solution kills weeds

A salt solution kills weedsistock/PeskyMonkey
You can also prevent the growth of weeds in walkway cracks by making a solution of 1 cup salt to 2 cups water, and pouring it directly on the plants.

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17 thoughts on “11 Secrets You Won’t Learn at the Garden Center

  1. Also, if you mix vinegar with salt and Palmalive dish soap, it will kill weeds and insects. one mixture is all you need.

  2. I like the idea of using newspaper, but what kind of chemicals is newspaper processed with and do the plants absorb it and pass to those who eat the produce?

    1. Yes, and after you eat your food, print appears on your forehead that says “dumbass” Lol no, silly, don’t look in the mirror, I was just kidding…

  3. For all you who seem clueless on how to see the tips. Not sure what you are doing but am using Chrome and read it. What kind of IT manager are you? Do you need me to Print them here for you? Oh yes I know how to copy and paste.

    Newspaper makes excellent mulch.

    • Lay several sheets of newsprint over soil and then cover with mulch; they’ll help retain moisture and suffocate weeds.
    • Ripen end-of-season tomatoes perfectly by wrapping in a couple sheets of newspaper once they’re off the vine. Store in an airtight container in a dark cabinet or closet, checking every few days.
    • Add wet, shredded paper to compost to remove odor……

    Tea is natural plant food.

    • Water your ferns and acid-loving plants like hydrangeas with brewed tea for luscious-looking leaves.
    • For an added boost, sprinkle new or used tea leaves around these plants and cover with mulch—when you water, nutrients from the tea will release into the soil……..

    Banana peels are a rosebush’s best friend.

    • Keep aphids off your rosebushes by burying dried or cut up banana peels an inch or two deep around the base of the plant. (Whole peels will attract animals, who will dig them up.)
    • If you want more butterflies in your garden, place overripe bananas or other fruit on a raised platform. Be sure they’re above head level and not centrally located, because they will also draw bees and wasps; and bring the food indoors before sunset to avoid unwanted hungry critters……..

    Aluminum foil deters insects.

    • Mix strips of aluminum foil with mulch and you’ll keep bugs away. The foil will also reflect light back on the plants, which encourages growth.
    • If crows or birds are a problem, hang foil strips on plants to scare them away. You can also take strips of foil or foil-wrapped seashells, and string them from branches to startle bigger animals……….

    Salt is a natural pest killer.

    • Kill snails and slugs by dousing them with salt—they won’t survive long.
    • You can also prevent the growth of weeds in walkway cracks by making a solution of 1 cup salt to 2 cups water, and pouring it directly on the plants.,

      1. I use a chromebook and chrome browser on my windows’ desktop. Just click the right key

  4. Endless screwing around looking for these eleven tips to no avail. And yes I know what links are, they just don’t show up in my iOS devices. Id love to see them. However, I don’t understand why some sites make it easy and this one is always an endless source of headaches. FAIL

  5. I give up trying to find the 11 tips. I have no patience for these links that have to be so difficult. Disappointed

  6. This article literally does not show up on Chrome. As an IT manager, I can tell you that a magazine as prominent as Readers Digest should have a better site and it should be better-tested than this. Every time I have linked to one of these gimicky “this many things….” articles, it doesn’t show at all. I realize you get paid per-click but at least make sure your information shows up so we have a reason to click!!!

    1. I am using Chrome and read it. What kind of IT manager are you? Do you need me to Print them here for you? Oh yes I know how to copy and paste.

      Newspaper makes excellent mulch.

      • Lay several sheets of newsprint over soil and then cover with mulch; they’ll help retain moisture and suffocate weeds.
      • Ripen end-of-season tomatoes perfectly by wrapping in a couple sheets of newspaper once they’re off the vine. Store in an airtight container in a dark cabinet or closet, checking every few days.
      • Add wet, shredded paper to compost to remove odor……

      Tea is natural plant food.

      • Water your ferns and acid-loving plants like hydrangeas with brewed tea for luscious-looking leaves.
      • For an added boost, sprinkle new or used tea leaves around these plants and cover with mulch—when you water, nutrients from the tea will release into the soil……..

      Banana peels are a rosebush’s best friend.

      • Keep aphids off your rosebushes by burying dried or cut up banana peels an inch or two deep around the base of the plant. (Whole peels will attract animals, who will dig them up.)
      • If you want more butterflies in your garden, place overripe bananas or other fruit on a raised platform. Be sure they’re above head level and not centrally located, because they will also draw bees and wasps; and bring the food indoors before sunset to avoid unwanted hungry critters……..

      Aluminum foil deters insects.

      • Mix strips of aluminum foil with mulch and you’ll keep bugs away. The foil will also reflect light back on the plants, which encourages growth.
      • If crows or birds are a problem, hang foil strips on plants to scare them away. You can also take strips of foil or foil-wrapped seashells, and string them from branches to startle bigger animals……….

      Salt is a natural pest killer.

      • Kill snails and slugs by dousing them with salt—they won’t survive long.
      • You can also prevent the growth of weeds in walkway cracks by making a solution of 1 cup salt to 2 cups water, and pouring it directly on the plants.,,,,,,,,,,Do you feel better now? I even have a Chrome book too. Can see it on my PC and Chrome book. What does IT stand for for you?

  7. Man, love your site and can not believe the ignorance of many viewers. If they don’t know how to follow a link or read more than one thing on a page…why must they complain, just move on and quit clicking. I learn something new everyday from your posts and share often! Thank you so much!

    1. Not ignorant just where is the info above? i click on a link from facebook and oh yea it talks about it but doesnt show anything! so where are these 11 secrets………..oh wait they’re secret so lets make em look for em!

    2. I didn’t want to allow java to run, but had to allow to read the article.

    3. I would love to learn something new as I am fairly new to gardening. I am also no stranger to following links. The article does not show on chrome, as the IT guy said below.

  8. There actually are 11 tips…it just took 6 pages to show them…

    1. actually there were more than 11. there were 3 or 4 about news paper, and a couple for banana peal, and also for salt. I think those are counted as extras.

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