Gardening on a Budget: 10 Low Cost Gardening Tips by Kathy Wilson
Gardening can be an expensive hobby, but it didn't start out that way. Back in our Grandparents time, people enjoyed beautiful gardens even without a Home Depot on the corner. Here are some frugal gardening tips for those of us who want to save some green.
* Soil is the key to a wonderful garden, so boost your soil whenever possible. Low cost ways? Create a compost pile, and add all your organic kitchen waste to it. Using a blender, blend up leftover organic scraps from the kitchen at the end of the day, and add it directly to the soil around heavy feeders, such as roses. Look for free material to add to your compost bin. Neighbors would love to donate bags of leaves in the fall instead of hauling them to the curb, and my neighbor knows he can dump the rabbit manure from his hobby right in my compost pile.
* Grow plants from seed. You don't need a greenhouse to do this. If you are patient, you can plant perennial flower seeds in flats outdoors once the weather warms up, and nurse them into full size plants for fall planting. Not seeding them in late winter means no flowers till next year, but you will also have a much higher success rate with your seeds.
* Grow plants that seed themselves. Some of my favorite plants are only annuals, meaning they die when frost hits, but you never have to replant! This is because they drop many viable seeds during the growing season, called self-seeding or self-sowing. The dropped seeds germinate in spring for a full garden of flowers. Great plants you only have to seed once? Cosmos, sunflowers, alyssum, poppies, lambs ear, black eyed susans and yarrow.
* Use unusual containers for your container gardens, instead of spending big bucks on planters from the home improvement store. Anything that can
hold soil can become a planter. An old cracked chimera, a rusted wheelbarrow, or a pretty basket lined with plastic.
* Line your planters with newspaper before you add soil. It helps retain water and keep the soil temperature more constant, keeping the plants
healthier and saving water. (And watering time!)
* When you rototill or dig up soil for a new garden bed or project, save all the rocks you find along the way in a pile. Later they can be used
as edging. The smaller ones can be used is mosaic projects as well.
* Order roses and other shrubs online in late winter to get a great bare root discount. If you watch the catalog sites such as Jackson and Perkins or Bluestone Perennials, you will often find web specials or huge discounts for multiple purchases. I once bought 6 gorgeous English roses for less than $30. That's $5 a piece for top of the line roses you can't even get at the home improvement store!
* Use old pantyhose as tiebacks for your climbing plants. Cut them into strips and use to tie them to their supports. The hose is soft as to not
damage the plant, and quickly disappears into the foliage.
* Visit building areas and ask if they have a scrap pile you can have lumber from. Scrap wood can yield many projects in the garden, from birdhouses to garden fencing. Always remember to ask permission first.
* In late summer purchase gallon size pots of flowers at a huge discount, but pick the ones you can divide. Many plants can be divided into several smaller plants, planted in the fall and will give you three or four full size plants (or more) for the one you paid for. And you got a discount at that for buying at the right time! Easy plants to divide? Lambs ear, daylilies, groundcovers, ornamental grasses, dianthus, bluebells, coreopsis, coneflower and bee balm.