A garden doesnít have to cost a lot of money. In fact, there are many ways a
garden can save you money. Here are a few suggestions for keeping your garden in
top shape without draining your bank account. Supplement them with your own
Grow from Seed:
It makes good sense, and saves dollars to start easy-to-grow plants from
seed rather than buying started seedlings from a nursery. Here are some
vegetables and flowers than can and should be sown directly in the garden:
Lettuce, arugula, and other salad greens: Sprinkle the seed in wide rows. You
will get at least three cuttings of salad greens, which can sell for upwards of
$6 - $7 a pound at the local supermarket.
All root vegetables like carrots, beets, radishes and turnips are also very
Garden mainstay veggies such as beans, peas, squash, cucumbers and corn all come
easily and quickly from seed as well as long as you wait until temperatures are
warmed up into the 50į range both day and night.
Sunflowers, zinnias, cosmos, marigolds, alyssum, sweet peas, morning glories and
nasturtiums are some of the e beautiful and popular flowers that can be had for
the price of a pack of seeds. If you want to have cut flowers, a pack of seeds
will produce lots and lots of flowering plants so that you can enjoy bouquets
all season long.
See http://www.ezfromseed.org for more
vegetables and flowers that can be sown directly in the garden.
And while youíre at it, consider joining with friends in a seed-starting
cooperative for plants that need a head start indoors (peppers, eggplants and
tomatoes all need to be started indoors in the US except in the warmest areas.)
One person starts eggplants, another tomatoes, and at planting time, just divide
the started plants among the participating members.
Donít give your leaves away! Chop them with your lawnmower and put them in a
pile. Or make a simple compost bin with chicken wire and four stakes. Add
vegetable trimmings, prunings, weeds (but no weed with seeds), and other
Stake with Reused Materials:
Scavenged materials make very serviceable stakes. Political signs stakes
(minus the actual signs) are a good size for propping up peppers or small pea
varieties or vining cucumbers - but wait until after the election before
collecting them! Scrap wood or old broomsticks or rake handles can be fashioned
into tomato supports. An old stepladder can be repurposed as a bean or flower
Fertilize your Vegetable Garden with Living Plants:
Planting a cover crop in your vegetable garden when the weather is not conducive
for growing edible plants is a sure way to improve both the structure and the
fertility of your soil. Winter rye, mustard and clover are widely available good
choices. For more information, consult your Cooperative Extension, or go to:
Get Creative with Weed Barriers:
Laying down 3 to 4 inches of bagged mulch, at considerable expense, has
become almost a rite of spring for many homeowners. There are many materials
that will perform the same function at a fraction of the cost! Newspaper,
cardboard, or shredded paper, topped with straw, pine needles, or chopped
leaves, will make a very effective weed barrier between plants. If you donít
like the look of these alternatives, try using shredded wood mulch in the front
of the garden, and paper or cardboard topped with straw in less visible parts.
Water with Rain:
Use rain, as much as possible, to water your plants. Rain barrels need not
cost a fortune. Check out this EPA instruction sheet for a low cost, DIY
Seed Pots come in all Shapes and Sizes:
Seeds can be started indoors in any container. Orange juice cartons (sliced
in half), yogurt containers, takeout containers - the list is endless. All you
need to do is poke holes in the bottom for drainage to make them useful.
Mark with a Stone:
One attractive way to keep track of whatís where is to mark the names of
your plants with indelible ink on flat stones.