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Tightwad top ten: ways to save in the garden

Creating garden can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. Tightwad has compiled the following suggestions to help you spend more time than money when building your garden.

10. Compost: Don't buy bagged soil... start saving your kitchen veggie scraps and let them decompose into a nutrient-rich matter that your garden is craving. Your local municipality most likely stocks composting bins available for residential use. 
9. Reacquaint yourself with the push mower: Forget about wasting electricity or gas to keep a motor running... get your groove on and push a mower around instead (or delegate, of course). 
8. Optimize your watering schedule: The best time of the day to water is in the morning, before the sun burns the water off your beloved plants. Any other time is wasteful, because the water won't go to the roots... it will evaporate on the soil before it gets a chance. 
7. Try not to buy annuals: Okay annuals are pretty and they are also quick fixes to gaping, boring spots in your flower beds, but perennials are the key to a thriving garden; they get bigger and more robust every year. Annuals need to be replaced on a yearly basis. Perennials also make better cuttings for the table. 
6. Share cuttings: Divide and share your perennials with neighbours and friends; this will add to the variety of species in your garden and best of all, it's free! 
5. Double duty: Plant ornamental edibles, such as scarlet runner beans which have a very pretty flower and a nice, scaling habit. 
4. Grow herbs: Some herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, chives, mint and oregano should overwinter well and come back even better the following spring. 
3. Plant according to climate requirements: Don't lose a gorgeous perennial because it wasn't suited for the climate or it was sun loving and it was planted in the shade; make sure you are planting species that are zone appropriate, will like the soil, and the amount of sun/shade offered by the area you choose to plant it. 
2. Stalk thrift stores and Craigslist: Thrift stores are such great places for garden finds, such as tools, planters, or even pavers and patio tables. 
1. Haunt end of season sales: Another place you should stalk if you are looking to augment your perennial collection or garden tools is the end of summer sales. Even if the plant looks a little wonky and sad, planting it in the fall is a perfect time for it to settle in for winter, and it will probably surprise you next year when you see its little leaves popping up in the spring, ready for another season. 
This article was previously published as a guest post at Aunt Bee's Garden on July 18, 2010.


Little House said...

I've wanted to start a small herb container garden. I've heard that not only are growing your own herbs healthy, they can be beautiful plants, too. Thanks for this list of tips! I'll have to start looking around for herb plants near the end of summer.

Jessica said...

Thanks for the tips! With moving into our new house right around the corner, I'm taking all of my free time to soak up ideas for it, especially if they save some money!

Nesty Girl said...

These are great tips! And I was excited to discover that we've actually done a few of them this year. I planted containers of herbs (and squash and tomatoes), we've shared cuttings, tried to be aware of our watering schedule, AND we purchased an awesome push mower from a thrift store! The push mower gets some odd looks, but I'm determined to educate people about how much better they actually are!!

Mrs.Mayhem said...

Thanks for the tips. I will definitely employ these next year. This year I spent money on my garden, and so far I've only gotten two cherry tomatoes, for a cost of approximately $40 each!

April said...

&lso...if you must buy plants, some great online sources are nurseries that guarantee their plants (and often have GREAT sales). I have had 7 of 10 raspberries fail and have had them replaced for free. Of course, one should be ethical about this, but it can be a great help!

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