Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? Silver bells and cockle shells are far from the weirdest things to use when gardening, but these unusual tools you already have around the house might just be what you need to improve the health and beauty of your own gorgeous garden.
CDs or DVDs
CDs or DVDs can be hung in the garden to reflect sunlight and deter pests. They'll trick cats and birds in particular from either sitting on your plants or trying to dig up freshly planted seeds looking for tasty snacks.
Cut the top and bottom off a plastic bottle to use it as a protective barier. This helps to keep young plants protected from animals until they're big enough to be properly rooted into the ground.
Put small soap shavings around your plants to deter rabbits. They'll smell the unusual smell or taste the ground and recognize that there's something wrong with the plants, leaving them uneaten.
Put an old sponge in the bottom of your plant pots. This will soak up excess rainwater to make sure that your plants don't end up drowing during a particularly heavy storm.
Put a coffee filter at the bottom of your plant pots to make sure that water can escape without washing away precious soil. The filter will make sure you're not constantly needing to top up your plants with more dirt.
Eggshells can make it harder for slugs to navigate your garden, but they're also excellent for boosting nutrient levels in your soil. Scatter some around your plants to help them grow healthy and strong.
Use old tin cans as unique planters to give your garden a rustic feel. It's a great way to recycle, and it'll save you money on buying fancier pots, meaning you can afford to fill your garden with even more greenery.
If you've had a barbecue or campfire, be sure to save some of the leftover ash and charcoal for use in your garden. Ash is incredibly helpful for plant growth and will enrich your soil will all manner of useful nutrients.
Whether head hair, leg hair, or beard trimmings, small bits of hair that you'll clip away at home can be sprinkled onto a garden to help the plants grow quicker. It'll also keep some pests at bay.
Coffee grounds provide fantastic fertilizer for small plants, helping them to grow well. They have the added bonus of being toxic to some creepy crawlies that might want to mess with your beautiful garden.
Plant plastic forks in the ground, with the prongs facing up in the air. This will keep raccoons from pawing through your garden, making sure that they don't unearth some of your freshly planted flora.
Sprinkle a little cinnamon across your garden to get two benefits. Firstly, cinnamon will keep pests away. More importantly, cinnamon has antifungal qualities, and will prevent mould, mushrooms, or fungus from growing on your plants.
You can use your old toothbrushes to gently clean dirt off small or delicate plants without causing them damage. Those small bristles will also be useful for scrubbing dirt from out between paving slabs or brickwork. Just make sure you don't put the brush back in the bathroom when you're done.
An old potato masher can be given a new lease of life as a tool in the garden. It's great for breaking down large clumps of earth to make your soil better suited to growing healthy plants.
Similarly, an old kitchen sieve can be put to work sifting soil to help make your flowerbeds a nice, cozy environment for growing plants. When not used for this, it can be turned upside down and placed on a plant to keep it safe from opportunistic slugs.
Old towels can be used to line the bottom of pots to prevent water from leaking out. Scraps of fabric can also be used to protect plants from frost.
Clothes hangers can either be repurposed for hanging plant baskets, or can be turned into a DIY trellis for growing plants along the side of a wall.
Take an old pillow into the garden, then put it under your knees while you work. This small extra comfort can help the gardening process feel a lot less strenuous. Make sure you don't bring the pillow back into your bed afterwards.
Firmly press the underside of a muffin tin into freshly churned soil to make twelve perfectly spaced holes in the ground. These can be used to plant flower bulbs so that they grow in neat little rows.
Old paint brushes can be used to apply fertilizer or insecticide to small areas of the plant. They're perfect for reaching difficult places, and will prevent you from harming the plants. If you are using insecticide, be sure to use one that is bee-friendly.
Add fish to your rain barrels to help keep them clear of pests such as mosquito eggs. The fish will gobble up any insect eggs in the water, making sure that your garden doesn't end up with a swarm of blood-sucking monsters.
Another good tip for preventing excess rainwater for drowing your plants: use diapers. Planting these underground will help absorb excess rainwater, as, by design, they are incredibly absorbant. Be sure, though, to only use biodegradable diapers. These will eventually turn into compost, which will give your garden an additional boost, while plastic-based diapers will end up hurting your garden's health.
Glue copper coins such as pennies to the bottom rim of your plant pots, forming a perfect ring around the outside of the pot. The copper will repel slugs, helping to keep your plants safe from unwanted munching.
Poke holes in the side of an empty milk jug and then fill it with water. The jug will make an excellent low-effort watering can. Don't worry too much about cleaning the jug first, as the extra calcium in the milk residue will provide additional nutrients for your plants.
Mix a little cola into your soil, and it will help some plants, such as azaleas, to grow quicker. Only use a small amount, though, as too much could end up hurting your garden in the long term.
If you're not gardening with ladybugs, you really should try it. These pest-killers can be purchased from many farmer's markets, and are an incredible natural insecticide. Simply release a bag of little red ladybugs into your garden and they'll do the hard work for you, eating all the aphids that would otherwise munch on your plants. Don't worry: ladybugs are carnivorous, so won't eat your leaves.
Water your plants by popping ice cubes into their pots. This has the benefit of releasing water slowly over a longer period of time, so you don't accidentally drown your plants when you're trying to give them a drink.
Lemon peels are filled with healthy nutrients for plants, and because of the acid in the fruit, they're good for preventing weeds and supporting the growth of acid-loving plants. Just be sure to check what kinds of plants you have in your garden to see which ones will appreciate lemon peels, and which don't like sour tastes in the soil.
Clump old bamboo sticks together and leave them on their side as a handy home for friendly insects. Bug hotels are particularly desirable for certain types of hiveless bees, such as mason bees, who will help to pollinate your garden.
Cut pantyhose can be used as a cover for young plants to protect them from frost or as a cover to create a mini-greenhouse effect. They'll also helpfully make it harder for pests to chomp on your beloved plant babies.