The first thing that people know about me is that I am a city girl. It’s not that I do not have an

appreciation for country living, it’s just not something I could do on a daily basis. So, it should come to no surprise that when it comes to gardening I am quite the novice.

Last year was the first time I took a serious crack at it, under the guidance of my grandmother who has about 70 years of experience. Unlike myself who was born and raised in the city (Toronto), she grew up in the small town of Villach, Austria. Farming was the way of life back then and as she lived her teenage years on the farm, she picked up a few gardening hacks.

For her, using household products as a fertilizer was commonplace. For example, if you were looking to plant crops with high acidity, such as tomatoes or blueberries, using leftover coffee grinds would be dispersed in the soil. Another way to use coffee as a form  or fertilizer would be to soak the coffee grinds in water for three days and then use it to saturate the soil. For a ratio, six cups of coffee grinds to 22 litres of water should do the trick.

Till this day my grandmother will use coffee grinds as fertilizer for her tomato plants. I’ve had quite a few of those tomatoes and they always taste awesome.

A homemade way to ensure your plants get enough calcium is to grind eggshells and sprinkle in the soil. Why is calcium important? You could say it is the backbone of your crop. Having enough calcium will ensure that your crops grow strong, straight and tall. Calcium also helps with the flow of minerals throughout the plant.

In addition to calcium, you need potassium. Potassium is good for many things in the gardening world. It helps keep your plants strong, prevents diseases, provides strong proteins and can even help with water absorption. Giving your garden an extra kick of potassium is simple: toss a few banana peels on top of the soil. They will decompose and release a happy, healthy dose of potassium to whatever is growing in your garden – this goes for flowers, too.

Another idea to try for fertilizing your garden is something you may already have: weeds. Believe it or not, weeds are an excellent way to give your garden nutrients it needs. Weeds are like a grand slam of fertilizers because they have high amounts of potassium, calcium and nitrates. You can pull weeds, and dry them, then sprinkle them in the soil, or you can collect them, add them to about 15 litres of water, and let them soak for a few days and create your own mulch. Be sure to open the lid of the container and stir daily to allow the mulch to absorb oxygen.