100+ Basic Vegetable Gardening Tips & Advice for Everyone

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Easy Garden Tips for Beginners

Over the past few years of gardening, researching, and building this site I have come across numerous questions on forums, videos, and articles from people struggling with different problems in their garden.

Gardening can be hard and can take a lot of learning from experience, but I want to help make gardening easy, fun, and low maintenance for everyone!

I consider myself to have quite a bit of experience with gardening. I am constantly researching gardening topics, watching YouTube videos, listening to podcasts, and working on creating good content for this site. Furthermore, I try to use all of this information in my own garden and learn from my mistakes.

Below you will find an extensive list of gardening tips that I have acquired over the years. I have tried my best to provide accurate information and not give tricks or gimmicks that don’t actually work.

Is this list perfect? Definitely not! Could some of these items be debated? Of course! You are welcome to Contact Us your thoughts and ideas to add to this list.

Keep in mind that there are many different ways to find gardening success and it depends on a lot of variables, the largest being your location and climate. We all need to learn how to adapt to our own needs and find what works for each of us.

The below list is in no particular order. If you would like an Excel table of this information that you can sort by category, please jump to the end and sign up for our email list and it will be sent to you! This will also be a great way to be sure you are notified as this list changes and is updated!

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

Colossians 2:7

1. Do Not Disturb your soil!!!

Hence the name of our site! Implementing a no till gardening approach keeps all the soil life alive and doing the hard work for you. The most important part of a garden is the soil health. Tilling the soil destroys this soil life.

For more information check out our article – How to Know if Your Soil is Healthy: 11 Simple Tests.

2. Use eggshells and coffee grounds in compost instead of the garden

There are so many tips and tricks about eggshells and coffee grounds out there. If you do your research, you will learn they are best suited for the compost pile and not straight into the garden.

It takes a long time for eggshells to break down for the calcium to even be available for the roots to use it. Grind it up into a powder and add it to your compost. The nitrogen in your coffee grounds can help your compost pile heat up and decompose faster!

3. Toughen up seedlings started indoors

Run a dowel, a pencil, or just your hand over the leaves of your plants for a few minutes each day. This helps your plant generate a thicker, stronger stem.

You can also run a fan for a few hours a day, but keep in mind this will cause your pots/cells to dry out quicker.

4. Harvest onions when the green tops fall over and cure (dry) properly for storage

Pull the onions out of the ground and let them sit on the ground for a few days if there is dry weather. You can bunch and hang them to dry outside or put them on a screen.

Either way, they need good air circulation and need to dry out for typically a few weeks. Once dried, cut the tops off (leave 1-2 inches of the stem) and cut off the roots on the outside. Do not try to wash the onions with any water at any point!

5. A good spot for a greenhouse is on the west side of your house

The sun can heat up the greenhouse in the later part of the day and build up enough heat to last through the colder nights!

6. Check root structure of plants before buying them at the store/nursery

Ask for assistance if you aren’t sure how to do it carefully. You want to avoid buying plants that are root bound.

7. Help cure and prevent mold on plants/soil

Cinnamon has strong anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties and can help kill mold and prevent other diseases.

8. Add 1 to 2 inches of compost to the top of your soil each year, preferably in the fall

Do not till it into the soil, just leave it on top. Nature will take care of the rest. It may take a few years, but over time if you do continue to do this, you shouldn’t need any other fertilizer or amendments added to your soil!

9. Remove ripe tomatoes before a heavy rain to prevent cracking

Your tomatoes will crack if they receive too much water. Pick any ripe (or almost ripe) tomatoes before a heavy rain or good watering.

10. You can know when to plant certain crops outdoors based on soil temperature

Certain crops like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, beans, pumpkin, squash, etc need soil temperatures of at least 50 to 60 degrees F (and obviously these plants can’t handle a frost).

Keep track of current and average soil temperatures with this handy tool from Greencast.

11. Add fresh grass clippings as mulch for a boost of nitrogen

Be sure to not add the grass clippings too thick or they can mat together. Also, don’t use grass clippings from chemically treated lawns.

12. DO NOT use rocks or gravel in the bottom of containers

Check out a full article we wrote on this topic for more information.

13. Test the quality of your seed with a wet paper towel

If you aren’t sure how old your seed is or if it is still good, test it on a damp paper towel.

Place 10 or more seeds on the wet paper towel and put into a plastic bag or condiment container with a lid and put in a warm place.

After a few days to a week, the seeds should start sprouting. You can calculate your germination rate and determine if your seeds are still good. (Less than 50%, you should buy fresh seeds)

14. Germinate seeds in condiment containers

Instead of starting difficult, time consuming seeds like peppers in soil, start them in condiment containers with a wet paper towel and a lid. Place in a warm place, or even better, on a heat mat.

You’ll be able to easily see which seeds germinate and pick out the best ones to then place in soil.

See this video from MIGardener for a full tutorial.

15. If you are low on space or land, consider growing a vertical herb garden

Greenstalk Vertical Garden

If you live in an apartment or a place where land is scarce or unusable, consider growing a vertical garden.

This grow tower from Greenstalk works great for herbs and greens. It has a unique watering system different from other grow towers you might find. You can control how much sun your plants need by turning and moving it into the shade when necessary.

We purchased this grow tower this year and have it planted and growing now! We’ll be doing a full review at the end of the season.

If you’d like to purchase one, you can use our discount code at checkout – DNDG10OFF.

16. Use plain water from cooking/steaming your veggies to water your plants

Use as long as you aren’t adding anything extra to the water, like salt or oils. Let the water cool to room temperature before watering your plants.

17. Most vegetable gardens need a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day

Keep this in mind when planning a new garden area. Track the sun during different seasons and be aware of how many hours of sunlight your desired spot receives. The amount of sun in the spring may be different than the amount of sun in the fall.

18. Harden off seedlings before transplanting outdoors

If seed starting indoors or even plants bought from a greenhouse, you need to adjust them to sun/wind before planting.

If possible, put your plants outside on cloudy days for multiple days before planting. Bring in at night if needed.

If you only have sunny days before planting, set outside in the morning sun for an hour or so the first day, then 2 hours, then 3 hours, etc for about a week and then you can plant.

19. Plant tomato transplants deep

Tomatoes will form extra roots all along the stem, so plant them deep when transplanting. This will result in a stronger, healthier plant. Pinch off a few sets of the bottom leaves.

For extra long tomato plants, you can even bury the stem horizontally if you aren’t able to dig deep enough.

20. Use coffee filters or cheesecloth in the bottom of containers to prevent soil from washing out

Check out our article for 3 other ways to prevent soil from washing out of containers.

21. It may be best to plant invasive plants, such as mint and oregano, in containers

Mint and oregano will spread and can be hard to control if you plant it in your garden. It is best to keep it by itself in a container.

22. Get a bird bath for your garden

It will keep birds happy and in your garden. It will also prevent birds for poking at your tomatoes for a drink. Birds eat common pests in the garden like slugs, caterpillars, bugs, and beetles.

23. Save seeds from your strongest, healthiest plants

It’s a scientific fact that seeds/plants adapt to their environment over time.

If you save the seeds from your strongest and healthiest plants each year, those seeds will adapt to your specific climate and conditions and will yield better plants each and every year.

You’ll also be saving money because it’s free!

24. Try to find free compost!

Check with local farmers for horse, chicken, goats, sheep, or rabbit manure. Also, your city may have a free compost supply generated from tree and landscaping service waste.

25. The more you harvest, the more your plant will produce!

This is true for most leafy greens and those that produce fruit. The more you harvest, the more energy the plant will use to produce more.

When you leave fruit on a plant, such as peppers and tomatoes, the plant is using all of its energy to mature their seeds. That is the goal of the plant, to reproduce. So picking more often forces the plant to produce more.

26. Corn is a nitrogen hog!

Use manure, blood meal, or urea before planting. When the corn is about knee high, trench some more nitrogen based fertilizer in between the rows.

27. Keep your lettuce fresh all season long even in the summer heat with a vertical garden!

Vertical Grow Tower

A grow tower allows for easy access to your salad greens right by your patio door!

This grow tower from Greenstalk works great for herbs and greens. It has a unique watering system different from other grow towers you might find. You can control how much sun your plants need by turning and moving it into the shade when necessary.

For lettuce in the summer, I would suggest planting one tier at a time, every 2 weeks or so from seed. You will always have fresh lettuce even in the middle of summer!

We purchased this grow tower this year and have it planted and growing now! We’ll be doing a full review at the end of the season. If you’d like to purchase one, you can use our discount code at checkout – DNDG10OFF.

28. Keep up with the weeds!

First and foremost, use mulch to decrease the amount of weeds, but you will still have some!

Multiple times a week, or whenever you are out in your garden, pull weeds as you see them.

If you neglect the weeds, you can get overwhelmed. Take 5-10 minutes a day or every other day and walk through your garden and pull weeds as you see them. Lay them on top of the mulch in place.

29. Use elastic string to tie up plants

Here is a link to the elastic string I use. It works so great!

30. Separate tomato seeds from pulp by placing in a cup of water for 24 hours

The viable seeds will settle to the bottom. Rinse seeds and place on a paper towel to dry, then store in a cool, dry, dark place until next season.

31. Keep a gardening journal!

This tip is so simple and so important! It may not seem necessary at the time, but when the next season comes around you won’t remember what you did last year in enough detail.

Write down the dates you start seeds, do transplants, how many of each plant, what worked, what didn’t work, weather conditions, dates when pests first arrived, etc. It will make a huge difference year over year.

32. Don’t apply too much nitrogen to root crops

High nitrogen fertilizers or fresh manure applied to crops like beets, carrots, radishes, and turnips will promote more leaf growth than root development.

33. Use a garden dibber for easy planting of seeds and transplants

Garden Dibber

Here is the Garden Dibber from Etsy that I use. It has 1-inch markings for planting depth.

34. Use “daylight” bulbs for starting plants indoors

Bulbs marked “daylight” are in the range of 5,000 to 6,500 Kelvin and are good for the beginning stages of plants to produce good vegetation (leaves). They will not be as good for producing fruit.

35. Help pollinate peppers and tomatoes by shaking the flower buds

Pepper and tomato flowers rely on self pollination, meaning a bee hops onto the flower and vibrates the pollen. You can ensure better pollination by doing this yourself.

Gently flick or rattle each flower. Another trick is to use an electric toothbrush to gently vibrate each flower.

36. Make excellent leaf mold (compost) with shredded leaves, grass clippings, and coffee grounds

This is some of the most beautiful compost I have ever made (ask me for pictures!). Shredded leaves work best (use a lawn mower or weed wacker in a trash can) and you need a lot of them in a large pile.

I grab them at the end of people’s driveways in the fall and ask lawn care companies if they will drop of leaves from their clean up jobs at my house.

Layer/mix the leaves with grass clippings and coffee grounds (ask for 5-gallon buckets full from coffee shops). The nitrogen helps break down the leaves even faster. Water in layers as you build your large pile.

37. Gardens that are mostly in the shade can plant leeks, leaf lettuce, spinach, endive, radishes, turnip greens, and small cabbage varieties

38. Avoid transplanting (or starting seed indoors) root crops (carrots, beets, turnips, etc)

Transplanting may cause damage to the root, which is what you will harvest with these types of plants.

39. Prune bottom leaves of plants, such as tomatoes and peppers, so they are not touching the ground

Don’t let the leaves of these plants touch the ground. Prune anything 6 inches or lower to the ground.

This creates better airflow and prevents water and dirt from splashing up on the leaves, which can cause disease and mold issues.

40. The germination rate of seed will decrease as they age

Some seeds store longer than others. Onions, parsley, and parsnip tend to have the shortest storage life and you may want to buy new seeds for these each year (or save your own!).

For other seeds: 2 years for peppers; 3 years for beans, carrots, broccoli, lettuce, peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, and spinach; 4 years for cabbage, turnips, squash, and swiss chard.

41. Research plant varieties that work the best for your area

Don’t just go by your zone. Talk to local nurseries about what varieties of plants grow best for your area.

42. Produce from grocery stores are typically hybrid varieties

Hybrid seeds are produced by crossing two varieties of plants, for example, tomatoes. Typically produce from the store is bred for long shelf life and transportation purposes, not for taste.

You can plant these seeds but there is no guarantee you will get the same type of plant and it may or may not taste any better than what you bought at the store.

If possible, find heirloom varieties to plant and save your own seeds year after year.

43. Thin root crops such as carrots, parsnips, beets, and onions so you can fit 3 fingers in between each seedling

44. Cut garlic scapes off once they start curling to grow larger garlic bulbs

A garlic scape is the thick center stalk that grows and eventually curls and forms a flower and seeds. Cutting this sends more energy into the bulb of the plant and will result in a bigger harvest. You can eat the garlic scapes too!

45. Use the 10% last frost date when planning for seed starting

Add a week or two past that date and plan accordingly. I know, it’s tempting to get started early but often times it just isn’t worth the risk.

Find your last frost date here.

46. Harvest your crops in the morning

Your crops have the most water and nutrient content in the morning. This is when they are the least stressed during the summer heat.

You’ll sometimes notice lettuce and other greens get droopy during the heat of the day, but in the morning they will be perked up and full of life. This is the best time to harvest and will cause the least amount of stress to your plant.

47. Check plants for pests at least every other day

Be sure to check the underside of the leaves. A lot of times you can pick or spray off bugs yourself.

Try to avoid using pesticides that can also kill beneficial insects. Neem oil is a natural and organic alternative to pest control that you can try too.

48. Organic vs Inorganic Seeds

There is no difference between organic and inorganic seeds. The plant will be organic if you grow it that way. The only reason to buy organic seeds is to help support an organic grower.

49. Pick fruit before it completely ripens

A ripe fruit, such as a tomato, is very appealing to animals, insects, birds, etc. Pick it early before others have a chance to get to it. It will ripen indoors on its own.

Also, the more you pick, the more energy your plant has to produce more fruit!

50. Prevent wind burn for new seedlings/transplants

New seedlings that are transplanted out into the garden can experience wind burn on very windy days. You can try blocking the wind for your plants with obstructions like cardboard, buckets, kids toys, cars, etc. Get creative!

51. Corn, squash, cucumbers, melons, beans, and peas do not like to be transplanted

While it is possible to transplant with gentle care, these crops are generally best sown directly into the garden.

52. Water your garden/seedlings with snow!

The water from snow has nitrogen and can give a small boost to your plants.

53. The soil in containers dries out quickly, so more frequent watering and attention is needed

It is very important to not let your soil in containers dry out! It can be difficult to get water dispersed evenly if this happens.

54. Spray paint the handles of your garden tools with bright colors so you don’t lose them as easily in the garden

55. Save mesh bags from store-bought oranges, onions, potatoes, etc.

They are great for storing your own root crops and provide good air circulation to keep them dry.

56. Harvest garlic when the bottom 3 leaves have turned yellow/brown

57. Water seeds/seedlings in containers less

Water seeds/seedling containers only about twice a week. Wait until the containers are light weight. Letting the soil towards the top dry out encourages deeper root growth and decreases chances for mold and gnats.

58. If space is an issue, grow crops that have high yields to get the most return from your garden

These would include tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumbers, carrots, squash, leaf lettuce, chard, and kale. Take advantage of growing vertically and staking/trellising when you can.

59. Eggshells, pine needles, coffee grounds, etc do not deter slugs

There are plenty of videos online showing slugs crawling right over all of these. You can buy slug bait to get rid of slugs. It is basically an iron pill that the slug overdoses on and dies. The iron is not harmful to your garden. Your garden already contains iron.

60. If you are a new gardener starting for the first time, start small!

Just start with one bed or a few containers. Pick no more than 5 crops to plant that you consume the most and start with easier varieties.

Start a journal and get good with those crops and size before adding more in future seasons.

61. Kale can overwinter in most gardeners except the northernmost states

The flavor of kale actually becomes sweeter during cooler weather.

62. Pick herbs and dry them by tying and hanging them in a cool dry place

We dry herbs naturally in our basement by picking a bundle, for example, of basil and tying it together with twine. Then we hang it in our basement (which runs a dehumidifier) to dry.

Once dry and brittle, we crumble the dried herb and store in mason jars and use all year!

63. Never put diseased plants in your compost pile/bin

The disease could survive and be transferred back to your garden when you use that compost.

64. Remove flowers from transplants before planting in your garden

You want the plant to focus on root development after transplanting and not on fruit production.

65. Clear a grassy/weedy area for a garden by using a tarp

Following the no till approach, you can clear a grassy/weedy area by covering it with a tarp for about 3 weeks or more. Be sure to weigh the tarp (or whatever material you can find) down and make sure no light is coming through.

The grass and weeds will die and turn into fertilizer and the worms and other organisms will start to get to work. You can then plant into this soil (without digging or turning it over) and then cover it with mulch.

66. Help pollinate plants with separate male and female flowers

Plants like cucumber and squash have separate male and female flowers. The female flowers have a little bulb under them which will eventually become the fruit, but only if pollinated by a male flower.

This is a natural job for bees but you can do this yourself but removing a male flower and sticking the pistol into the female flower and moving it around a bit. Yup.

If you want to prevent cross-pollination (if you are saving seeds) then you would want to cover the female flower afterward with a plastic bag so a bee won’t pollinate it with a different plant.

67. A high fence is the only way to reliably keep deer out of your garden

Deer can jump over a 6 foot fence pretty easily, so make your fence 8 feet or higher. Or a lower fence will work if you have a lot “stuff” on the inner side of the fence that deer would be jumping into. They will likely only jump over the fence if it is clear.

You can try to use repellents but these need to be reapplied often and alternated. Some options are blood meal, garlic oil, hot pepper, and animal urine. An outside family dog is also a good deterrent to deer.

68. Fall is a great time to start another round of cool-weather crops

Most people only think of spring to start a garden but fall is a great time to start another round of cool season crops. Even though it may still be hot out, these crops will be growing into the cooler temperatures (unlike spring where they grow into hotter temperatures).

Check your first frost date and days to maturity information to see what you can plant in the amount of time you have.

69. Bendy/tall seedlings without a lot of leaf development mean the plants need more light

Light from a window is sometimes not good enough. There are inexpensive shop/grow lights you can purchase. You want a high kelvin and high lumens number. Look for “daylight” bulbs.

70. In the fall, pinch off new blossoms on tomato plants

Indeterminate tomatoes will just keep growing until they are killed by the first frost. New buds forming in late summer/early fall most likely won’t have enough time to ripen.

Pruning and pinching off these parts of the plant will force the plant to put all of its energy into ripening the larger fruit it already has.

71. A hot compost pile requires a minimum size of 3 ft x 3ft x 3ft

Search for compost on our website for more information around this topic!

72. Normal garden centers/stores can’t sell GMO seeds

Most sites/stores promote “Non-GMO Seeds!”, but in reality, they aren’t allowed to sell GMO seeds anyways. GMO seeds are only available for commercial farmers and food production.

73. Use long pieces of rebar as stakes

I find rebar for free from a local farmer and cut them to appropriate lengths for my tomatoes and peppers. It’s strong and will last forever!

74. Only remove suckers from indeterminate tomatoes

It is also optional to remove suckers from indeterminate tomatoes. For more information about determinate vs indeterminate tomatoes, see our article – How to Tell the Difference Between Determinate and Indeterminate Tomatoes.

75. Always cover your soil with mulch!

Mulch (wood chips, hay, straw, grass clippings, shredded leaves) adds organic matter to the soil, controls temperature, prevents evaporation (less watering), and decreases weeds.

76. Join a local gardening community online

Facebook probably has a gardening group in your area/state. Here you’ll find good advice about when people are planting based on the current weather, what varieties work best, etc

77. There are many different “weeds” that you can eat and are very nutritious

Dandelion (root, leaves, and flower!), clover, lambsquarters, chickweed, mallow, and amaranth. They will all have better flavor if they are picked during their younger stage.

78. Blend food scraps before adding to the compost bin for faster decomposition

Whether this is for an outdoor compost bin or a worm bin, blending the food scraps adds more surface area and helps the worms and microorganisms decompose the food faster.

79. In my experience, peppers are ready to pick if you lift them up vertically and the stem breaks off by itself

If a gentle pull doesn’t result in the pepper coming off, then you can leave it on for longer. This has been true for me with jalapenos, cayenne, chili, habanero, serrano, etc.

Green peppers have a thicker stem and it’s up to you if you want to pick them when they are green or let them ripen to a certain color (red, yellow, orange).

80. Seeds/seedlings do not need fertilizer

The seed starting/potting mix for starting seeds does not need any fertilizer. Fertilizer is only needed after the first set of true leaves have grown, and the fertilizer should be applied at 1/4 to 1/2 strength.

Too much fertilizer can hurt small plants.

81. Don’t plant potatoes and tomatoes next to each other

Since they are in the same night shade family, if one gets a disease, it will easily transfer to the other.

82. Plant potatoes when the first dandelions bloom

83. A good average garden bed width for most people is 4 feet

This allows you to reach into the middle of the bed from both sides without stepping into the garden. If you can’t reach that far, then make the width of the bed smaller to fit your needs/abilities.

84. Water deeply at the base of your plants, and less often

Do not lock in on a watering schedule “just because”. Water only when your plants need it.

You can let the top inch or two of soil dry out in between watering. You want to train your roots to grow deeply to access water and nutrients.

If you are constantly watering, the roots stay towards the surface which is not ideal.

Typically your garden needs about an inch of water per week.

Watering Your Garden: When, How Often, and How Much?

85. Plant onion seeds instead of onion sets

Check out our full article – Should I Plant Onion Seeds or Onion Sets in My Garden?

86. Bottom water seeds/seedlings in containers

Fill a tray with an inch or less of water and let containers absorb the water through the bottom holes. This helps to not disturb seeds or small plants on top.

87. Root crops do not need to be harvested all at once

These can stay stored in the ground and be fresh as you need them. Carrots actually get sweeter if left in the ground and picked during winter as long as the ground is not frozen.

88. Sow lettuce seeds about every 2 weeks in the hotter summer months to have a continuous harvest

Lettuce bolts (forms a flower and seeds) quickly in the summer heat. If you succession plant, or sow seeds every few weeks you’ll have a continuous harvest throughout the summer.

Also, if you sow in containers, you can move into the shade during the hotter parts of the day.

How to Avoid Growing Bitter Tasting Lettuce in Your Garden

89. Protecting plants from frost

For frost-sensitive plants, cover with a tarp, sheet, blanket, 5-gallon bucket, plastic containers, totes, etc. Use rocks or bricks to hold down material or container.

90. Tums don’t cure blossom end rot

A popular trick I see all over the internet is to put tums in the hole when transplanting tomatoes. This doesn’t do anything useful.

Will TUMS Cure Blossom End Rot?

What Causes Blossom Drop in Tomatoes?

91. Jalapenos are ready to pick when you see squiggly lines forming on the pepper

Note this is before they ripen and turn red. You can let them ripen if you want, but I think most people pick them when they are green.

92. Don’t fertilize plants under stress

For example, if you are under a heatwave, do not try to boost your plants with fertilizer.

The best thing to do is water and mulch to try to keep your plants cool and fertilize after the heatwave is over.

93. Use shade cloth during hot summer days to help keep plants cool

Use a 30% shade cloth (blocks 30% of the sun) for plants like tomatoes and peppers. While these do like warm weather, flower buds will drop off if temperatures rise above 90 degrees F.

Use 50-60% shade cloth for cool weather plants like lettuce to prevent bolting.

94. Put cardboard in between sowed rows in the garden

If you choose to sow seeds directly into the garden, put strips of cardboard down in between the rows to suppress weeds. Weigh down the cardboard with rocks, sticks, logs, etc.

Once the seeded plants are large enough (at least multiple inches high) then mulch the entire area right over the cardboard and around the plants.

Why not just push the mulch to the side and plant? Sometimes this can attract more birds looking for worms and bedding material and they will disrupt your seeded rows.

95. The best time to water your garden is in the early morning

Water has the best chance of penetrating your soil due to the sun being barely up and the temperature being cool. The least amount of water is lost due to evaporation.

This time also gives your plants the best chance to survive the intense heat of hot summer days.

The 2nd best time to water is in the late afternoon/evening. You want to give your leaves time to dry before the night to prevent disease and mold issues.

96. Put chicken wire on the bottom of raised beds if you have a mole or gopher problem

97. Gardens that only receive 2 to 4 hours of sun can plant crops such as leafy greens, scallions, parsley, chives, and basil

Morning sun would be ideal for these plants!

98. Hardiness Zones are mainly important for perennial plants

Your hardiness zone just tells you what your average lowest temperature is for the year. This is important for perennial plants to know if they will survive that cold of a temperature.

Your zone has nothing to do with when to plant seeds, how long your growing season is, etc. For those things, your first and last frost dates are what is important.

99. Use a compost thermometer to track the temperature of your hot compost pile

If the center of your pile gets under 100 degrees F, it may be time to turn your pile.

Check out our article for more information – When Should I Turn My Compost Pile?

100. You don’t have to use indoor grow lights to start seeds

If you don’t have the space or money for indoor grow lights, try putting your seed starting trays or containers in clear plastic totes with a lid. Another alternative is to place them in a clear plastic bag.

Put them outside in the sun during the day and bring them inside on cold nights. This method has the advantage you won’t have to harden off your plants like you when using a grow light.

Be sure to open the bag/lid on warmer sunny days over about 55 degrees F so you don’t fry your young plants.

101. Transplant on cloudy days and/or in the evenings

Transplanting already causes enough stress to plants as it is. They don’t need other stress factors on top of this, like a hot sun, especially if they are still hardening off.

If you transplant when it’s cloudy and more towards the evening, the plants have more time to get established to their new environment.

102. Sometimes it’s better to resist the urge to start seeds or transplant too early

I get it, the excitement is tempting! But it’s not always better to start your plants super early. Some things I’ve learned from starting plants too early:

  • More space required because the plants will grow larger with more time.
  • More cost for seed starting mix because you have to either start in larger containers or re-pot 1-2 times.
  • More work to water and re-pot.
  • Risk of root-bound plants because the plant is growing too large for its pot.
  • More stress on plants and some can even start flowering indoors prematurely which is not something you want if you will be transplanting outdoors.
  • Late frosts WILL happen some years, so it is wise to be cautious. Certain plants like tomatoes and peppers will not grow much in the cooler weather anyway, even if you think it won’t frost anymore.

Start a journal and learn the correct timing for your plants. You want to put the least amount of stress possible on the plant. A huge tomato or pepper plant started in a small container is not always a good thing!

103. Use garlic spray to deter pests and disease

See a great article from Epic Gardening on how to make a garlic spray.

104. Use floating row covers to protect from harsh spring weather

In some areas, like here in Ohio, spring weather can be rough! One day it can be in the 40s and the next day it can be in the 80s. The temperatures fluctuate a lot and we get a lot of high winds. This can stress out your plants.

One way to comfort your plants is to use floating row covers. They enable sunlight, water, and air to pass through. They give some protection to frost, wind, and unusually hot days so your cool weather crops don’t bolt too early.

It can also be called garden fabric at the store/nursery and is usually white. Be sure to remove the row covers once plants start to flower that need to be pollinated.

105. Watering in the sun during the hottest part of the day will not scorch your plants

While this isn’t the ideal time to water, it’s not going to scorch your plants and cause burning. If this were true, nature wouldn’t survive very long. A passing thunderstorm during hot days is very common and plants don’t suffer from it. Nature knows what it is doing!

106. You don’t need to use Epson salts in your garden

I know I know, there may be many of you that don’t like this tip, but using Epsom salts in the garden isn’t really necessary and can do more harm than good if used too much.

Epsom salt can give a quick green boost to plants but that’s about it. If used too much it can harm the plant and surrounding soil life.

107. Make or purchase a rain barrel to collect water from your roof

I made my own from a large trash can with a lid.

That’s it for now! I will be adding to this list in the future so please subscribe to our email list below to receive updates!

Also, when you subscribe, you’ll receive an Excel file link to this same list that is categorized for easier sorting and filtering so you can find the tips you are interested in faster!


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Corey Leichty

Hi, I’m Corey and I love using gardening as a way to provide food for my family, learn life lessons alongside my wife, Andrea, and teach life lessons to my two sons. Do you have gardening questions? Not finding what you are looking for? Please feel free to Ask a Question (Click Here!) and I will get back with you as soon as I can!

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