Handy gardening hacks for beginners

Published May 6, 2021 09:00 a.m. ET
iStock / RuslanDashinsky

Growing weed can be a whole lot of fun, but things can happen along the way, and as a beginner, you probably don’t have all of the fancy tools at your disposal to simplify the process or prevent bad things from happening but don’t let that get you down. Here, we’ve got ten fantastic DIY hacks and gardening tips that can help to make the entire ordeal so much easier while improving your chances of a successful yield.

1. Raised flower beds

Raised flower beds are one of the best tips and tricks on this list because they do a lot of work for a minimal investment. With just a few slabs of wood, you could be keeping away ground pests, avoiding soil compaction, improving drainage, and saving your back from months of bending, and that’s pretty amazing.

2. Pop bottle self-watering system

This is one of the easiest DIY hacks that can be utilized at any stage of growth, and they can help you to avoid the number one mistake that growers make, which is forgetting to water your garden. All you need are some 2L or 4L water bottles with a spout, a coffee filter, and an elastic.

  1. Cut off the top half of the bottle, and then use the elastic to wrap a coffee filter around the spout.

  2. Stick the spout upside down into the soil beside or in between your cannabis plants.

  3. Fill the bottle tops with water.
    This should continuously water your crop for up to 6 whole days.

3. Plant in a pot makes removal easy

Most people will remove their pot plants from the pots before putting them into the ground, but what if we told you that there is a much better way? That’s right! All you need is a second pot and a shovel to build a plant in a pot system, which will allow you to remove your plants at any time during the growing season without any damage. This could be helpful if there’s a sudden frost or flood, and it makes directly watering the roots easy, with a simple lift of a bucket.

  1. Use a shovel to dig a hole that is the same size as your pot.

  2. Put the pot into the ground and ensure that it’s completely level or sticking out as little as possible.

  3. When you’re ready, your cannabis plant that’s inside of another pot can be planted here by just sliding it into the hole.

4. Mini plastic greenhouses

The greenhouse effect is powerful, and even though you might not have the money or time to invest in building a real one, there is a way for you to harness this using household materials. Pop bottles, water jugs, Tupperware, and any other see-through plastic container that’s large enough to set over top of your seedlings or plants can work as a temporary greenhouse. Just cut out the bottoms of the containers, and then slide them over top of each of the plants. It’s that easy, and your crop will be thankful for the change.

5. Germination in cardboard tubes

There is no shortage of germination hacks out there, as it seems that humans have been sticking pot seeds in anything they can for quite some time now, but none are as simple or effective as cardboard tubes, which are found inside paper towel and toilet paper rolls. Germinating in these makes it so that once the seedlings sprout, they can be easily transplanted into a larger pot without disturbing the fragile root system, which could stunt their growth.

  1. Stand a bunch of empty cardboard tubes in a Tupperware container.

  2. Fill all of the tubes with super soil.

  3. Plant one cannabis seed in each tube.

  4. Water, and then wait for the magic to happen.

  5. Once the seedlings sprout and form leaves, all you need to do is dig a small hole in another pot or garden, and then plant the tube whole or unwrap the layers beforehand by peeling them back.

6. Administer fertilizer through PVC pipes

This might be one of the most basic tips and tricks on this list, but it really does help, especially when you’re administering fertilizer that shouldn’t come into direct contact with the leaves or stems and when you’ve got a thick crop that makes accessing a spot close to the roots challenging. All you need is some PVC pipe, and a saw to cut it down to size, and you’ll be good to go.

  1. Cut the PVC pipe down to size, and then trim one end at a 45-degree angle.

  2. Press the angled portion of the PVC pipe near the stem before giving it a gentle shove into the soil.

  3. Pour the fertilizer down the PVC pipe as needed.

7. Plant seedlings on top of sponges for extra hydration

Some people aren’t fond of adding this to their list of gardening tips because the sponge will break down over time, making it less ideal if you’re cultivating outdoors, as leaving it behind can be bad for the environment. However, if you’re growing marijuana indoors or willing to dig it out come the end of the season, this is an excellent way to keep your plants hydrated for longer, stretching how long they can go between watering.

  1. Dig a hole in the pot or garden where you’d like to put a plant.

  2. Drop a sponge into the bottom of the hole.

  3. Plant a cannabis seedling on top of the sponge, filling the cracks and crevices with soil for stability.

  4. Leave the sponges there to work their magic until the end of the season.

8. Coffee filters shrink drainage holes

Whether you’ve got an elevated flower bed, which doesn’t come into direct contact with the ground, or you’re using large plastic pots, chances are pretty good that your containers have massive drainage holes, which can be a serious pain if they start leaking out the soil. Luckily, all you need is a single coffee filter to place between the hole and the dirt to make a giant leak go from a flow down to a trickle.

9. Milk jug watering can

Cannabis plants no matter where they grow, are relatively fragile, and you might be surprised to learn that plain old water can do a whole lot of damage if it’s under too much pressure. That means the backyard hose is off-limits, and even store-bought watering cans can flow too quickly, so your best bet is to make your own using a milk jug or another similarly shaped container.

  1. Wash out the jug with warm water and avoid using any kind of soap which may be toxic.

  2. Use a drill, screw or sharp pair of scissors to make anywhere from 4-8 holes in the cap.

  3. Fill the jug with clean water.

  4. Replace the lid.
    Your DIY watering can is now ready to use.

10. Epsom salts for fertilizer

Salt can be entirely devastating to cannabis plants or any kind of growing thing, and Epsom salts can do that too if they come into direct contact with the fresh, green leaves or stem, but if you add a small amount to the water and then hydrate your crop through the soil, it can provide a really good boost of magnesium that can enhance the health of your pot plants.

  1. Add 1 gallon of water to a jug along with 2 teaspoons of Epsom salts.

  2. Shake the jug vigorously for 30 seconds to combine the ingredients.

  3. Use the content of the jug to water your garden as usual.

Growing cannabis is not the same as cultivating vegetables

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