10 Ways to Save Money in the Garden
1. Fill the bottom one-third of a large container with dead leaves, shredded paper, or packing peanuts (bagged so they don’t fly everywhere when you dump the pot in fall). This lessens how much potting mix you have to buy. You can also line raised beds with dead leaves before backfilling with soil. Then, in fall, top the bed with more leaves to make up for those that decompose below.
2. When buying perennials, look for large specimens that are ready to be divided. You can split off extra plants to use elsewhere in the garden or to trade with gardening buddies. Better yet, divide overgrown perennials in your yard to swap with neighbors.
3 Collect pinecones to use as ornamental toppers for potted plants. They’re also great for starting campfires.
4. Scour garage sales, flea markets, and thrift stores for items that can be used as garden trellises and stakes. It’s much cheaper than buying new, and you get to be creative. For a natural look, make stakes and trellises with branches tied with rot-resistant twine.
5. Save your seeds at the end of the season; it’s cheaper than buying. Heirloom plants grown from saved seed will be true to form, while hybrids sometimes end up as wacky wonders (but that’s part of the fun!).
6. Use a kids’ pool (you can buy them cheap at the end of the season, or patch an old one you find on the curb) as a holding pen for potted plants while on vacation or during drought. The pool will collect excess water and make it available to the potted plants while you’re away.
7. Save fireplace ashes and spread them lightly around the garden to raise pH levels and provide a kick of potassium to plants.
8. For serious savings over potted specimens, buy bare-root plants through the mail. You get a lower price tag and a much bigger selection to choose from. Make sure to keep roots covered and moist until planting.
9. Make a low-cost rain barrel with a plastic garbage can. Cut a slot into the lid to receive the gutter drainpipe. Find step-by- step instructions for creating a rain barrel on the cheap here.
10. Spread self-seeding flowers throughout the garden. They will take up space, add color and height, and can easily be removed where they’re not wanted. You only have to buy seed once, as new generations will continually pop up.
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