With the multitude of gardening advice out there, it probably comes as no surprise that there are some strange-but-true tips you haven’t come across yet. From fish heads to old cotton socks (yes, we said socks!), here are 10 new gardening tips and tricks that will help your plants and flowers thrive.

Sweet Cucumbers

Make your cucumbers sweeter than ever before by planting them near sunflowers. Both plants require similar soil for optimum health, and as the sunflowers reach for the sky, they provide cucumbers with the perfect climbing structure. It’s a win-win!

Sunflowers

Strange Things You Can Compost

Use shredded paper in compost

Did you know you can compost a lot more than just food items? Coffee grounds and eggshells are just the beginning! Add shredded newspapers, stale fish food, old cotton socks, junk mail, moldy cheese, cat fur and paper towel rolls to your next composting project. You can free up some space in the recycling bin AND help the environment.

Crocus Protection

Birds love the smell of lavender, but as you probably know, they also love flowers … particularly crocuses. Every spring they can wreak havoc on new little buds, but the solution is simple. Just plants some lavender near your crocuses to divert the birds’ attention. It keeps them from pecking away at your beloved flowers.

Cooking Water Redux

Ever wonder if there’s something you can do with all that leftover water you use to cook pasta or veggies? Pour it into your watering can, and sprinkle it over your plants. They’ll benefit from the good nutrients left behind after cooking … just let the water cool first – you don’t want to cook your plants!

Fish Head Fertilizer

Admittedly, this one is a little gross, but it really works. Stick fish heads in the soil before planting. Raw fish rots rapidly in the dirt, giving off calcium, phosphorus, nitrogen and other beneficial chemicals that your plants need to thrive.

Wide Awake

Old coffee grounds provide your garden soil with nutrients, fatty acids and mineral oils, and they also improve drainage and soil quality. Besides, what else were you planning to do with them?

Iron It Out

Speaking of adding needed vitamins to plants, here is a unique way to give them iron. Soak some old, rusty nails in a container, and water your plants with the rusty water. The plants get doused with lots of iron, and you find a use for those old nails lying around.

Eggshells on Tomatoes

If you’ve noticed that you’re tomatoes are rotting on the bottom before they’re ripe, blossom end rot is probably the culprit. It happens when tomato plants lack calcium, so pulverize some eggshells and spread them in the soil before planting.

Mini Blind Plant Markers

If you’ve taken down mini blinds from around your house, you can recycle the blinds into plant markers. Cut the strips into smaller segments, and use a marker to create labels. You can make the new markers as tall or as short as you need to, and they’ll always stay upright and easy to read.

Tea Time

Chamomile tea

After enjoying your post-gardening chamomile tea time, take the pot and distribute the leftover leaves and flowers over your garden. It has calcium and potassium that make the whole garden healthier.

Try these tips and you’ll save money, take advantage of smart recycling, and get better plants, fruits and vegetables in the process.