In my world, a hack is an old hand on a newspaper so it’s just as well Shawna Coronado starts her latest book with an explanation of what it means to her.
Hacks or hacking, she says, are clever ways to solve a problem, preferably while saving cash with the very best being “easy, smart and economical”.
In 101 Organic Gardening Hacks, she applies this philosophy to gardening, outlining ideas for everything from managing weeds to reusing old furniture as planters.
Many of her gardening ‘hacks’ make use of things that would otherwise be thrown away – saving money and saving on landfill.
It’s all part of Coronado’s green living lifestyle: “Ultimately, garden hacks are about wellness: an overall state of well-being not just for you, but for the whole planet,” she tells us.
To those of us who have gardened for many years, some of the gardening hacks are obviously aimed at the newcomer. Most experienced gardeners know about making leaf mould, mulching and using composted manure though she does take it one step further with ‘recipes’ for different mixes, such as one suitable for succulents.
Many of the ideas are things to make; I liked the idea of hollowing out a tree stump to create a planter while putting coloured tape around the handles of garden tools would make it less likely that the secateurs would end up in the compost bin. Organising seed packets into a photo album is a neat idea and far easier to manage than a tin stuffed with packets.
Other suggestions – using old wine bottles and plastic milk cartons as watering devices – are simple but probably better suited to the veg plot than ornamental flower beds.
Not all the gardening hacks involve DIY: many simply outline how to grow plants – planting tomatoes deeply to encourage roots is one idea – or even what to grow, geraniums if you want to attract bees, for example.
She explains a way of testing your soil’s pH without using a kit, how to determine how freely it drains, and how to make sure your garden hose isn’t toxic.
Plenty of pictures, a colourful layout and chatty style make it an easy book to read. While there are ideas an experienced gardener could use, it’s probably best suited to someone just starting out on their growing journey.
• 101 Organic Gardening Hacks: Eco-Friendly Solutions to Improve Any Garden by Shawna Coronado is published by Cool Springs Press, priced £12.99 RRP. Photography © Shawna Coronado. Buy now. (If you buy via the link, I receive a small payment. The price you pay is not affected.)
• Review copy supplied by Cool Springs Press.
• For more book reviews, see here
• Enjoyed this? Do leave me a comment and share this post via Twitter, Facebook or email.