Friday, June 01, 2007

Gardening on the CHEAP...Part II

Gardening need not be a budget breaker. As soon as I posted Part I, I knew I had missed some things. I hope these lists will help someone save a few dollars. After all, with todays price of gas, we need to save as much as possible!

21. Nickie reminded me that lots of plants are tossed to the curb. I picked up some free Day Lilies last year from someone who had placed a full cart by the road and marked them as FREE. I only took a few, but the mound shrunk daily as people stopped by and loaded up. So keep an eye on the curb for castoffs!

22. Garage / yard sales! This is another suggestion from Nickie that I have done before also. If you're going to have a sale, might as well pot up a few of those extra or unwanted plants and make a couple bucks on them.

23. Leaf bag snatching! I know it sounds suspicious, but for those of you who don't have lots of trees to make that free mulch, this is one way to do it. When you see all of those bags of leaves sitting by the curb waiting for yard waste pick up, this is the time to get yours. Of course, you could always stop by someone's house and volunteer to rake them up for them...

24. According to, collecting those wild flower seeds on state property may not be illegal after all.

25. allows people to post listings for items they want to get rid of for FREE. There are items from all over, so put in your zip code and see if anyone has plants.

25. has a section for Barter, another section for FREE, and another section devoted to Farm+Garden. You can visit a local craigslist virtually anywhere in the world. You can find plants and shrubs and pond supplies and garden art and rocks and bricks and so on. My husband checks this website daily. Oh yeah, there are a dozen other different categories, you will want to spend some time on here.

26. Recycle those newspapers! Newspapers have several uses. Uses pieces in the bottom of your pots to prevent the dirt from going out the hole. Shred them and use them in the compost. Shred them and use them as mulch. Open them up and put layers of them under your mulch to smother weeds. Many people use plastic or weed mat under their mulch. The problem with this is that neither of those are organic and will not break down. Plastic will last forever and won't allow water through. Weed mat is tough and allows water through, but it isn't adding any nutrients to your soil. Newspapers on the other hand, will allow water through and will break down over time to add nutrients to your soil. Another great things about them-worms love it!

27. Catch that precious rain water! Use a barrel, use a bucket, use a wheel barrel, use anything you can! Not only can you save on your water bill (or keep from draining your well), everyone knows the benefits of using rain water on your gardens. Sometimes I will see food grade plastic 50 gallon drums on Craigslist for free. These can easily be converted to collect rain water. You can add a drain towards the bottom to attach your hose to.

28. Don't water in the middle of the day. Water early or water late. This will allow the best bang for your bucks. Midday temperatures can dry the soil quickly and can literally fry your plants if your foliage is wet on those super hot days (this is especially true for evergreens).

29. Think outside the box when adding a border to your beds. You need not go buy fancy borders, just look around to see what you already have. If you have trees, then you are sure to have a pile of branches or sticks. These can be broken (or cut down) and stuck into the ground close together to make a really cool rustic border. If you have larger branches, just lay them at the edge and use smaller sticks stuck into the ground to hold them in place. If you like radical, try saving those wine bottles and then placing them neck down into the ground around your garden. It will be colorful and add lots of sparkle.

30. Read, read, read. This seems obvious, but many people decide to put in a garden, whether it be flowers or vegetables and have no clue what they are getting into. While this is great, a lot of times things are planted in the wrong place (a shade lover in full sun, a veggy garden under a Walnut tree) and then when things die or don't flourish, they may have wasted a lot of money. So go to the library, or do some internet research, or borrow some books. At the very, very least, read the plant tags!

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