The right garden tools are essential for nurturing beautiful flowers and scrumptious vegetables. It’s easy to spend a fortune on fancy garden tools, but sometimes the perfect tool for the job is already right under your nose. Read on to find out how to make several super-handy garden tools for little or no cost and very little effort, and keep lots of green in your wallet as well as in your garden!
Re-purposed Garden Tools
A lot of things you might otherwise throw away can transform into handy garden tools with little or no alterations needed. Turning household trash into gardening treasure is not only beneficial for the environment—it also gives your budget a boost when you don’t spend those dollars on gardening tools. Here are some helpful garden tools you may have been overlooking:
The Mighty-Mighty Milk Jug
Plastic milk jugs have a surprising number of gardening uses, and most families have an endless supply of these potential tools. With their built-in handles and waterproof material, milk jugs are perfect tools-in-waiting. Here are some ways to put them to use in your garden:
- A Multi-purpose scoop. This scoop is just right for adding fertilizer and potting soil, and the flexible plastic makes it easy to maneuver the scoop in small spaces. To make this scoop, start at the handle of the milk jug and make a horizontal cut up each side from the handle. Then make forward-slanting diagonal cuts in the two other sides, until you’ve removed the bottom half of the jug. Leave the cap on, and you’ve got a scoop!
- Seed flats. Growing flowers or vegetables from seed is a good way to save money in your garden, but it’s easy to lose those savings on growing materials. You can spend money on seed flats, or just rinse and save milk jugs and use those. To make a seed flat, cut off the bottom three inches of the milk jug and poke a few holes in the bottom. Add potting soil, and make furrows to divide the soil into sections. Now you’re ready to plant your seeds!
- Individual greenhouses. Spring can be a risky time for new seedlings, and a late frost can spell disaster for your garden. If you keep some milk jugs at the ready, they just might save the day if Jack Frost makes a late call. Cut the bottoms off of the milk jugs and place them over the seedlings, and they will act as tiny greenhouses to keep your seedlings warm and protected. And, unlike covering plants with bedsheets, this method won’t crush delicate seedlings. Just be sure to remove the milk jugs before it gets too warm and sunny, so your plants won’t get too toasty.
More Re-purposed Garden Tools
- Yogurt container cutworm protector. Keep these nocturnal destroyers off your delicate seedlings with something you were going to throw away. Rinse out a yogurt container, cut the bottom out, place it around the seedling, and bury the sides about an inch deep to keep the worms from crawling underneath.
- Egg carton germination tray. If you grow your garden from seed, you’ve probably seen the specialized plastic germination trays with small individual compartments. They look a lot like an egg carton, and a Styrofoam egg carton will work just as well. Clean and rinse the egg cartons, and then just follow the germination instructions on the seed packets.
- Cardboard weed barrier. We all love the simplicity of online shopping, but you end up with boxes you don’t need. Why not use those boxes to save yourself some backaches? Break boxes down and lay them flat in the empty spaces in your flower beds, then put mulch on top. The boxes will act as a barrier to the sun’s rays and help prevent weed growth, so you won’t have to spend so much time bending and pulling weeds.
Homemade Garden Tools
If you don’t mind doing a little tinkering, you can make your own garden tools from scratch using raw materials, or turn old tools into new, multi-purpose ones. Here are some easy-to-make DIY garden tools:
- Plywood seed sower. If you direct-sow seeds into your garden, this easy-to-make plywood seed sower can save you a lot of time and energy. All you need is a drill, some plywood, some molding, and some wood glue.
- Multi-purpose tool. This DIY garden tool is five tools in one. It functions as a rake, a hoe, a stake driver, a furrow maker, and a seed-hole maker.
It’s not just the right tools; it’s also how you use them. Check out our 5 garden hacks to save you time and enjoy a beautiful, bountiful garden for less effort. And maximize your garden’s bounty with our tips for preserving your summer harvest.
Happy gardening! Stop by our website to learn more about our easy solutions to everyday problems, so you can spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying your summer.