Sunday, April 8, 2012

Ways to Garden for Free

You can have fun in the garden without spending any money! There is a certain satisfaction that comes from being outside and working with mother nature, and here are some ideas on how to enjoy this adventure without it costing you anything.

Save seeds - you can start most anything from seeds if you are patient. Try avocados, tomatoes or peppers. I have a massive garden of cherry tomatoes at work grown from some random tossed tomato.

Mulch with Clippings - You can hold back weed growth by mulching unplanted areas of your garden with grass clipping. Do a weekly light layer to build the mulch up rather than a thick layer that  won't allow water in.  In the fall, turn the mulch over into the ground and prepare for next spring.

Use Found Objects as Planters - What better way to spruce up your yard and add your own creative touch than to use found objects? How about planting succulents in old boots or using old tea cups as bird feeders? Who hasn't seen someone use sinks or toilet pieces in their yard to add some humor and diversity? Old tires make great raised planters and an old birdcage looks great tucked among your plants.

Use the LIbrary - your public library is a great resource for learning new techniques and for brushing up on weeds, insects, fertilizers or garden design. The internet is also a great tool for searching out very specific questions within the comforts of your home.

Propagate - This is a basic skill used to create new plants from your current ones. Some of the techniques are very easy. Learn which techniques work best with which kind of plants by using the library or internet. I have grown pots of geraniums just by cutting them and placing them in rich soil.

Fertilize and treat with founds items - Did you know that many items around your house can be used as fertilizer or insecticides?  Recycle from the home to the garden can give your garden and wallet a boost. Here are some ideas:

  • Pour out unfinished sodas onto your potted plants. Soil microbes love sugar. This goes for  beer as well!
  • Kill slugs with a 50/50 mixture of household ammonia and water in a spray bottle.
  • Create your own compost from plant-based food waste such as eggs shells and coffee grounds.
  • Make a mixture of slightly soapy water and a drop of olive oil to kill aphids.
  • Use boiling water to kill weeds. Boil up that teapot and take it into the garden!
  • One part rubbing alcohol to 3 parts water is great to kills pest on household plants.
  • Use newspaper under mulch to block weeds. 
  • Use eggs boxes from purchased eggs as seed pots to start your plants.
And the ultimate way to garden for free! Volunteer at your local community garden or co-op and share fun and knowledge with new friends!

Ta ta for money!