Cheap & Organic: Using Household Items and Waste for Better Gardening

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25 April, 2019 By Fernanda C.

When adding up the cost of fertilizers, special planters, and other items, gardening can quickly become a very expensive past time. In many instances, these fancy gadgets are not only unnecessary, but they often don't work near as well as common items found around the home. Household waste, on the other hand, is something everyone has already. It costs nothing and won't add harmful chemicals to the plants.

Organic Gardening

Coffee and Crops


Compost is a must for any organic gardener but adding coffee grounds to this nutrient-rich mix will make it even better. Not only do they add green matter to the compost heap, but coffee grounds promote worm health, too. Simply add grounds and food waste to the bin as soon as the old matter has broken down.


Coffee contains high levels of acid. Normally, composting neutralizes the pH, but when the grounds are mixed with grass or leaves and used as a mulch, they leech their acidity into the soil. This is perfect for putting around plants like hostas, roses, and rhododendrons that love highly acidic soil. Coffee grounds can also be added to the bottom of the hole when planting to help them get a healthy start.


Slugs and snails don't like coffee near as much as humans. In fact, they will avoid coffee grounds like the plague and so will rabbits. To scare away these garden-loving pests, just pour the grounds around the plants every few days to keep them fresh. Slugs and snails don't like eggshells, either. So, grind some of those up and add them to the coffee grounds for some extra slime-fighting power.


Egg Shells and Healthy Garden Ecosystems


Egg shells are rich in calcium carbonate as well as many other vitamins and minerals. This makes them an important ingredient in organic, homemade fertilizer. To feed plants, grind them up and mix the powder into the soil. The eggshell powder can also be added to the bottom of holes when planting new plants. And because it takes so long to breakdown, gardeners won't have to add shell powder more than once a year.


Larger shell halves work great as pots for starting seeds, too. First, sterilize them in boiling water for thirty minutes. Then, make a hole in the bottom of each one and fill them with soil and seeds. To care for them, just put them back into the foam egg carton and water.


Vinegar and Garden Maintenance


Vinegar is an amazing home cleaner, but it works in the garden, too. This natural acid will quickly remove rust from tools, sterilize bird feeders, and give patio furniture new life. Vinegar can also be a highly effective weed killer. Just wait until it gets hot and sunny outside. Then, spray the weeds with pure vinegar and wait. After a few days, they'll dry up and die.


Aluminum Foil and Fuzzy or Feathered Friends


Most animals and birds hate tin foil. For some of them, it's because of the shiny flashes it makes in the sunlight. For other animals, it's because of the sound the tin foil makes when they touch it. Thus, it is the perfect deterrent. Twist lengths of used tin foil around tree or berry branches to scare off birds and keep the fruit safe. Or, add strips of foil to the outside of the garden to scare off deer, cats, and other fuzzy animals.

Coffee, egg shells, vinegar, and tin foil are just a few of the items hanging around the house that gardeners can use to improve their outdoor havens. In truth, almost anything can be useful in the garden with a little creativity and a sense of adventure… and even if it doesn't work, it costs nothing, so why not give it a try?

Written by

Fernanda C.

Fernanda is a WordPress web developer and a web writer from Massachusetts. She writes blogs and is a contributor to web content creation. You can see her works at,, and