7 inspiring gardening tips from around the world
Travelling is not only an opportunity to discover other cultures but you can also pick up a few gardening tips along the way. Here are our seven clever ideas from around the world.
The perfect English lawn: only cut the tips
When it comes to mowing, the following rule applies: mow often, but only cut the tips. If your lawn is cut too short, it will grow back slowly and could dry out or even die in warm weather. So, only mow every seven to 14 days – or let a robotic lawn mower do the job for you. Ideally, you want to cut the blades of grass down to around 4 cm. If you mow your lawn at least once a week, you can even do away with the grass catcher and simply leave the waste on the lawn. This has the benefit of fertilizing the lawn, without suffocating it. So the grass will grow back thick and evenly, even improving the quality of the soil.
Gardening the Mediterranean way: let in the light
Why do we always return to the Mediterranean? There are so many reasons: the water, the plants, the sun – and the light! And this is also their secret to gardening. Mediterranean plants such as olive and fig trees can also thrive here at home if you make sure they get enough light. To begin with, make sure you put the plants in places that get enough sunlight. And check them every now and again: does a plant look pale, or is it not growing right? Then move it out in the sun! You should also regularly trim bushes and shrubs to ensure the lower branches and any neighbouring plants also get enough light. What’s more, try recreating the hills and mountains of Tuscany using crates and flower stands. Let the sunshine in!
Combat moss with Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola was invented in the US in May 1886 – but did you know it’s also one of the best remedies for moss? That’s because it contains sugar and phosphoric acid, both of which are effective against moss. Never fear: the drink’s acidic content won’t damage the surface or gaps. You don’t even have to worry about discolouration – because the colouring in coke isn’t concentrated enough. In fact, the benefits of using it are clear: unlike commercial products, coke isn’t poisonous, so there are no other restrictions you need to bear in mind when using it. At the same time, it prevents the growth of new moss. However, it must be used undiluted, which means it may not be suitable for use on large areas; a pressure washer might be better in this instance.
DIY water reservoir: no need to water your plants yourself again
Many homes in Israel have water reservoirs on their roofs. Admittedly, this isn’t a gardening tip – it’s more relevant to balconies and patios – but this trick is perfect for keeping your plants hydrated the next time you’re away. After all, not everyone has a neighbour who’s willing to take over watering duties.
To make your own water reservoir, take a plastic bottle, cut the bottom off and make a few very small holes in the lid. Now simply place it upside down in your plant or flower pot and fill it with water. The water will trickle out slowly, keeping your plants hydrated for some time. What’s particularly practical is that you can dictate how much water your plants get – depending on how thirsty they are – by adjusting the number of holes you make in the lid. To prevent your pots from drying out too quickly after watering, the surface of the soil should always be covered with a thin layer of mulch, to protect against evaporation.
Let snails patrol your garden
Let’s look at the good news first: you can keep your wine to yourself, as it's ineffective against slugs! And we’d also advise against trying the popular “beer trap” myth to catch them. As well as attracting slugs to your own garden, it could bring them into your neighbours’ too!
But here is one good gardening tip from Western and Central Europe: the Roman snail eats the eggs of slugs and is therefore an effective, completely natural way to get rid of the pest. Roman snails are endangered due to eutrophication and pesticides – and because they are a popular delicacy in French kitchens. But you can buy Roman snails bred especially for consumption while also giving the wild variety a home in your own garden – ideally on chalky soil and untreated (pesticide-free) greenery.
Urban gardening, made in Manhattan
The activist Adam Purple, who adopted New York City as his home, is widely recognized as the founder of urban gardening. In 1975, he started to plant flowers and vegetables on a vacant plot of land next to his home in Manhattan – entirely by hand and, where possible, in an eco-friendly way. Nowadays, Manhattan is also home to the High Line, a former railroad that serves as an elevated park. What can we learn from it? Well, there is room for nature and greenery anywhere. Even if it is a vertical garden or “guerilla flower beds” on your own doorstep. Let’s be honest – did you ever think that two of our gardening tips would come from the US?!
Bokashi: easy-to-make natural fertilizer from Japan
Organic waste is a valuable raw material that can easily be re-used – and you don’t even need your own garden or compost heap. The solution? A Japanese Bokashi bucket for your kitchen, which can be used to ferment organic waste. Even if you already have a compost heap, a Bokashi system is a sensible addition because the microbes will even break down cooked foods such as meat and fish. This is possible thanks to “effective microorganisms” (EM) – a mix of bacteria and yeasts. You can also use lawn cuttings as fertilizer too. The good thing about this is that you don’t even need a Bokashi bucket; simply tip the cuttings into a large plastic bag and add the EM solution. Tie the bag and leave it for 14 days, away from the light. You can then add the contents directly to the soil or use it to enhance your compost.