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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Gardening tips on a budget

Matt planting our $5 tree. It's 3 years old now and is gorgeous!!!

A variety of basil panted in a container.

Our lovely calendula. This is a family favorite grown from seed.

Cherry tomatoes.


Another variety of basil. That was just a bit of what I grew a couple years ago.

Bean plant.

Lovely lavender!

Many times I've wanted to plant a massive garden or have several plants I could simply not afford. Not just that but other things such as mulch, weed blankets and more. I hope you find the tips below as helpful as we have. Please feel free to add your own gardening tips.

1. Purchase trees at the end of the season. We've gotten a few trees for $5 and $10 at the end of the season. We planted them and they've done just fine! Talk about a huge savings! You can also do this with bulbs and other plants. :)

2. Use newspaper for weed barrier protection instead of the weed blankets. You'll want to do this fairly thick; anywhere from 5-10 sheets if you can. Top that with mulch or stones/rocks.

3. Check craigslist! You can find free bricks, landscaping stones, mulch, compost, manure, and top soil if you're willing to do some work to load it up and take it home.

4. Ask friends for divisions of their plants. Every spring, many plants can be divided up and given away. Why spend $10's of dollars on plants at a nursery when you can get a free division or start from a friend?

5. Save seeds. You can find out online how to save your own seeds year to year. Seed Savers Exchange is a great place to start! Thanks Beka for the tip!

6. Like little Jon did below, find items you can use to make your own greenhouses. You can even use the tops of plastic containers (dome shaped ones) and more. People discard those every day.

7. Compost! Your garden will love you for it and so will your wallet. You can purchase a compost bin for as little as $35 at Sams Club (this is what we do), or make your own compostable area. There's tons of information on how to do this online. YOu can also make compost tea which is great plant fertilizers.

8. Capture rain water. A rain barrel would be ideal if you can find one cheap enough to make yourself. If not, when it rains, set up a couple buckets with a rock on the bottom so it doesn't blow over. Collect your rain and use it to water your plants. Nothing could be simpler. We all know that plants grow much better and larger with rain water than they do with our city water. Plus, if you live in the city, you don't have to pay for the water you're using to water your plants. :) You can capture a lot of water very fast under the downspout.

9. For starting plants, the easiest way I've found is to purchase a box of pellet refills instead of the whole seed starting kit. Then use whatever you can to cover it (plastic) for a greenhouse. We got 36 pellets at WalMart for under $3. No mess and no fuss.

10. I have yet to try this one but it looks like a great idea! Save and dry orange peels. Sprinkle them around plants. This is great for insect repellant.

11. Grow in your garden what your soil prefers. While we'd like to plant some things that just won't grow in our soil, we generally don't. It's much easier and cheaper working with our soil and growing what it likes. Herbs are definitely the easiest for us to grow. Plus, most of them grow back each year - perennials. They don't require much care, grow like mad and give us a nice supply year after year. There is one area nothing grows in. This is where I put stepping stones, a bird bath and other lovely items. Working with your soil is always much easier and cheaper than trying to change it.

Remember your plants essentials:

Three very basic things to help your plants not just survive but thrive.

Want to have even more fun? Start a plant exchange with your friends. Last year our homeschooling group hosted our first ever plant exchange. We're doing it again this year because of the fun we had last year. We not only exchange plants but seeds, garden supplies, decor, etc...


Jamie said...

Awesome tips!! We are going to start composting too, and I know our local trash collection sells old trash cans with holes drilled out of them to use as composting containers, and they are only about $5 each! Great deal!

Amanda Kaake said...

Oh Jamie, that is awesome! I will say this, it takes forever to build up a good pile with all the stuff you put in. lol! I've read it's key to keep it moist but not wet and turn it every so often. I sometimes add in hay or straw and dirt here and there from old pots. Other than that we put in anything we can think of compostable. Coffee grinds, certain papers, food scraps (no protein and rinse your egg s hells if you can), drier lint, etc.... Have fun!