Gardening Wisdom from Grandma: 50+ Tips

Use this time-proven, resource- and money-saving gardening advice to plant and maintain a successful, sustainable garden.

  • Compost is often the only soil amendment we need for healthy, nutrient-rich soil.
    Photo by Fotolia
  • Share cuttings, divided perennials or heirloom seeds with friends to increase everyone’s garden variety with little monetary investment.
    Photo by Fotolia
  • Give kids their own crops or garden area to help them gain gardening confidence.
    Photo by iStock
  • Use long-cherished gardening advice to grow a vibrant, resource-saving garden.
    Photo by iStock
  • Allium plants such as onions and chives are said to protect roses from Japanese beetles.
    Photo by iStock
  • Properly stored, seeds can last for many years.
    Photo by Fotolia
  • Gardening with kids is one of the best ways to share our important connection with nature.
    Photo by iStock
  • Well-tended soil requires less care and watering—for example, mulch can help prevent weeds and also helps soil retain moisture.
    Photo by iStock
  • Old wheelbarrows that can no longer serve duty make charming planters for large plants.
    Photo by iStock
  • Check plants regularly for pests. Killing them before they can lay eggs will save you a lot of headache—and crops.
    Photo by iStock

Do you have memories of the scents and tastes of Grandma’s garden? It was filled with gorgeous blooming plants, always seemed to be green, and the veggies and fruits it produced—whoa—they tasted better than anything!

Whether you are trying to replicate your family garden memories or aspire to make your garden memorable for your own kids and grandkids, turning to the gardening tips of yesteryear—before garden stores stocked 14 types of synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides—might yield the best, most effective advice for gardening organically, efficiently and frugally. We searched high and low to put together the best gardening secrets from all of the grandmas out there. Thanks to all the readers who chipped in with ideas and advice. Hopefully this valuable wisdom will live on for years.

Planting Tips

Success in the garden starts with planting. Use these tips to grow more plants in less space for less money.

MAKE YOUR ROWS CROOKED: Don’t be concerned about making perfect, straight rows in the garden. After all, when they are crooked, you can squeeze in a few more plants here and there. You could also try the square foot gardening method (planting veggies in square-foot plots) to get more in less space.

SOAK SEEDS BEFORE YOU PLANT THEM: If you soak seeds overnight before you plant them in soil, they germinate faster. Go ahead and try—it definitely can’t hurt.

LABEL YOUR PLANTS: It doesn’t matter whether we’re Grandma’s age or as young as a spring chick, it’s easy to forget what we planted where. Plus, you want to make sure to keep track of all the varieties. Make a chart or label plants directly in the garden.

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