Book review & Giveaway: 101 Organic Gardening Hacks

It’s spring (well, not quite officially, but almost…) and my mind is turning to gardening again. I had lots of plans for garden projects over the autumn and winter period, but unfortunately have managed to proceed with only one of them (to get a hotbin composting system up and running). So I definitely needed motivation to get out in the garden and feel enthusiastic rather than feeling like I am already behind! The sunny weather we had earlier in the week definitely helped, but browsing through 101 Organic Gardening Hacks – Eco-friendly Solutions to Improve any Garden by Shawna Coronado (published by Cool Springs Press at £12.99) has given me a much needed burst of enthusiasm, and also a reminder that there are lots of economical and simple ideas to put into practice whilst you save up for the more ambitious stuff!

In the introduction – Coronado describes her gardening motivation:

Hacking is the concept of breaking traditional rules to discover a creative way to accomplish something – a clever trick that saves cash for the thrifty or solves a problem elegantly. Whether the hack is for gardening, computing, cooking, or anything in between, ‘hacking’ your way through your daily challenges is fast becoming a new lifestyle choice because the best hacks are easy, smart and economical.


It all sounds very modern and zeitgeisty, but actually, there’s plenty of knowledge here that would be very familiar to an older gardening generation. Hacking is definitely an evolution of the Make Do and Mend philosophy, and interestingly, Coronado says that, when it comes to gardening, her grandmothers are her biggest influence.

So the book is a great mix of old-fashioned garden wisdom and thriftiness and fun, sometimes quirky, new ideas, and considering there’s 101 hacks, I didn’t find the ideas at all repetitive.

Practical and quirky – the sign says “Emergency Tools for Zombie Apocalypse”.


As with all kinds of hacking, there’s an open-minded approach to problem-solving. So we get veggie growing in the front garden for people who really want to max out on food growing, or don’t have the right conditions in their back gardens:

Then there’s growing a living wall for colour, insects and edible plants, making the most of the very small gardening spaces which many people are limited to:

And for those of us with a bit more space – how about growing a ground cover patio – this has got to be my favourite project in the whole book, it’s so beautiful:


There are ideas for veggie growing and for growing ornamental plants (not mutually exclusive obviously!) and also for supporting wildlife in your garden, there’s loads about saving water, gardening for the benefit of the community and gardening economically and ethically. There are tips for beginners (there’s lots about composting and also growing from seed etc.) but there’s also lots here for people who have been gardening for years who would appreciate some fresh ideas.

A reminder of the importance of planting spring flowering perennials to support insects early in the growing season.

Some hacks are quick and easy, others are more complex and involve some DIY skills, but all the projects seem to be clearly outlined with lists of the equipment that you need. I love this idea for making sure you can keep your seed packets organised. I can see how this can be adapted in all sorts of ways as a basis for a gardening diary:

I should say, if you are based outside the USA, a tiny proportion of the hacks won’t necessarily be relevant to you (I won’t be bothering to plant to attract hummingbirds to my garden, for example), but – I can count these on the fingers of one hand, pretty much, so don’t let that put you off, there is so much good stuff here.


If you’d like to win a copy of this book, please leave a comment on this blog post before 10pm (GMT) tomorrow to be in with a chance of winning. As always, happy with a ‘pick me’ or you can tell me what you have been up to in your garden this weekend (I did some MUCH needed tidying up and weeding). Happy to post overseas!


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25 thoughts on “Book review & Giveaway: 101 Organic Gardening Hacks

  1. Looks like a great book. I’ve been cleaning out the greenhouse that we were lucky enough to buy with our house and pruning hedges & trees this weekend. Lots of reaching over my head, leading to aching arms today!

  2. Looks like a really useful book! I’ve been doing a bit of weeding and a lot of wandering round encouraging the plants to get going. I also did an impromptu patrol with my trowel and salty pot of doom and found fifty-two slugs and snails one night after a bit of rain. Fifty-two!!!

  3. Ooo fab! Yesterday I repotted 72 lavender plugs ready for a lavender framed driveway (significantly smaller than I was expecting :’) ) relaid lots of big stones to frame the front garden bed and cut some purple broccoli for tea!

  4. This is a wonderful looking book, I have a very large but rather wild garden in a Natural Park, so many ideas here for different small spaces, I think this would give me some inspiration throughout the Gardening Year.Thanks Ali for a great find,would love the giveaway if not I may even consider having to buy it!x

  5. Hi, this looks like an interesting book, my Dad was a great old fashioned gardner and gave me lots of gardening tips. Sadly he is no longer with us but I still remember with fondness some of his frugal gardening ways.

  6. Would love this book for my sister in law who is looking after my ill mother in law in Devon as her brother (my hubby) and I live in Australia. We are in almost daily contact at the moment. She hasn’t been able to spend as much time in her garden or allotment at the moment as a result. This would be a real “pick me up” for her!!

  7. I’d love this book with all its ideas. We are rearranging our garden and each weekend there are lots of jobs. Could do with the inspiration this book would give. Thanks for considering me. X

  8. love the book.Been pruning a huge carpet rose this weekend. Had our garden for 43 years so looking for new ideas, and the book looks full of wonderful ideas . Lindsey x

  9. Wow, this book looks really different. Would love to have a good look through it and share with my family. My sister has a huge garden and this could be really useful for getting ideas.

  10. Love to read your posts Ali. DH is busy renovating my greenhouse and I now need lots of new ideas for my garden. Looks like this book might fuel that inspiration.
    Toni xx

  11. I too am so behind in my garden here in France, the weather is so changeable at the moment, one day 23 ° and the next only 9°. This lovely book would .certainly give me the encouragement I need !!

  12. This would be ideal for my son and girlfriend who’s next project is the garden, they’re just finishing renovating their first house so ‘hacks’ are a great idea with not much left in the kitty!

  13. Looking forward to some spring like weather and getting out into the garden again. This book would be a great bonus.

  14. Please enter me, we need all the advice possible when it comes to gardening. I’ve barely ventured out this year even though I’m dreaming about a greenhouse full f seedlings… xx

  15. I just moved to a house for the first time in my life, and I have a garden to go with it! I’d love some help with making it pretty and useful, so this book would be excellent… Sorry, everyone else, but I’m going to keep my fingers crossed and hope I get this one 😀 Thanks for doing these amazing giveaways, Ali!

  16. Ooh looks lovely! I’m always looking for eco friendly ways to improve my garden! Have spent today planting nasturtiums and tidying up, is there anything in there about keeping slugs at bay?? We were ambushed last year and the little buggers ate all my lettuces!! Have digging!

  17. It has been great to be in the garden this week. I have removed the last (well almost) of the autumn leaves, tidied my strawberries, done some much needed weeding and cutting back and cleaned the greenhouse. So looking forward to getting out more.

  18. I would love to win this book. I’m recently retired and finding living on a pension more challenging than I expected. I am always looking for ways to save money and to share ideas with others that are equally challenged. Love your blog. Regards Georgina

  19. Hi Ali as always I look forward to your posts on a Sunday evening, always cheers me up. I have a very small garden and my Son is helping me look after it as he adores gardening. Winning this lovely book would be a treat for us both.
    Have a great week Ali and your wonderful bunch of followers.
    Dorothy xx

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