Title: Gardening Hacks
Author: Jon VanZile
Genre: Non Fiction, Gardening
First published: April 6th 2021
Publisher: Adams Media
Finished reading: February 10th 2021
Pages: 256

“There’s no single ‘right’ way to do anything. This book is all about trying new things while making gardening easier, less expensive, and less strenuous, no matter how you do it.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Adams Media in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***


I’ve always enjoyed gardening and with our countryside plot hopefully ready to start planting next Spring, I couldn’t resist browsing Gardening Hacks to see if I would discover any new useful tricks along the way. There are definitely a lot of DIY projects as well as nifty advice on offer along the way, both suited to more seasoned gardeners and newbies. The book is divided into five different chapters, each focusing on a different aspect of gardening for easy browsing. You can also find an index in the back to hunt down those relevant gardening tips and projects faster. Very useful! Below what stood out for me in each chapter.

Chapter 1: Seeds, Seedlings, And Cuttings This chapter gives a lot of advice to help your seeds grow faster and more successful as well as offering quite a few DIY projects. I will most definitely try making those papier-mache cups in the future, although I also liked the idea of using lemon rinds as biological seed starters. I also didn’t know soaking seeds during 24 hours before planting speeds up the growing process, as it softens the seed and breaks the tougher outer shell… And I’m definitely going to try and use honey to promote root growth in cuttings. I wish there would have been more information about how to grow cuttings successfully though, but that is just a personal thing I guess. The mention of growing your own popcorn made me remember I was planning to do exactly that next Spring!

Chapter 2: Container Gardening There were quite a few tricks to learn here… I like the idea of using old sponges in the bottom of a plant pot so you have to water it less as it absorbs and distributes excess water. And as I recently planted one of my lemon saplings in a big plant pot, the mention of making a dwarf fruit tree by aggressive pruning was useful! I also really like the idea of making a mini garden in a fallen tree trunk; I will definitely create one of those in the future. The mention of using egg shells as a cheap calcium supplement was also useful.

Chapter 3: Outdoor Gardening I somehow didn’t find that many new tricks in this chapter, but what I didn’t know was that you have to prune tomatoes aggresively to  get bigger tomatoes. Guess who is going to try that next season!

Chapter 4: Indoor Gardening I don’t have that much natural light indoors so this chapter wasn’t as relevant for me… But I’m definitely going to plant a pineapple top to see if the plant will grow, and I hadn’t heard of mayonnaise as plant polish before. I though milk did the trick, and I still wonder if the eggs in the mayonaisse would turn bad after a few days on those leaves…

Chapter 5: Tools, Pests, And Harvesting This chapter was particular interesting for me as somehow I’ve been having a lot of pests this year… I learned I can use baking soda to prevent fungal diseases, and cinnamon can be used both to prevent fungus as well as stimulating root grow. The natural insecticide with garlic I’m not too sure about; I made one before and the smell was so bad that it repelled insects AND humans. xD I was interesting to learn you can scatter eggshells to prevent slugs or even kill them with beer! Although I’m not sure if the hubby is going to be happy with me using beer that way. 😉 This chapter also reminded me I really need to get an aloe vera plant.

In short, Gardening Hacks turned out to be an interesting book filled with nifty gardening advice as well as DIY projects that are (mostly) easy to put together in less than a day. Perfect for new and seasoned gardeners alike!

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