Thrifty Money Saving Gardening Tips, Tricks and Ideas
Gardening is the perfect canvas for you to use your frugal creativity to recycle other household items to another functional use! (After all, isn't that also what composting really is?)
Note: Finding other uses for otherwise "used" items is exciting, fun and challenging. However, it is also wise to consider any possible health-risks to your project ideas, before implementing them. In particular, be cautious when considering the re-use of containers that previously held any type of ingredient that you would not wish to eat!
Please send in your favorite thrifty gardening tips, we would love to share them with our readers! Send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are just a few money saving gardening tips and ideas to get you started
(in no particular order):
- Check with your local nursery for discarded planting trays, used disposable pots, etc. - recycle them by using them in your own gardening efforts!
- When you buy produce in little baskets (like berries, cherry tomatoes, etc.), save the baskets & use them for organizing around the house or garden, or even for seed starting planters.
- Grow your own plant supports for tomatoes and climbing vegetables and flowers. Chances are there's a variety of bamboo that will grow well in your area!
Gardening Tip: Bamboo can be invasive, so be careful where you plant it. It does make nice privacy screens around the edge of your property though.
- Use small laundry baskets for harvesting your produce. Poke a few small drain holes in the bottom of the basket, and you can even hose off the produce outside. Let them drain in the baskets, and save yourself from having to do the clean-up in the kitchen!
- Check with your local produce grocer for wooden crates (they usually dismantle and throw away). They can be used for organizing, for winter storage of your crops in your cellar, or as planters!
Gardening Tip: Revisit the old custom of taking a gift with you... for example, take a jar of home-made preserves or a plate of freshly baked cookies when you stop in to talk with the produce manager. Give it to him/her with an open heart, and you may just be surprised by the result! Even if they can't accommodate your request, it is still a nice thing to do and you'll have helped bring happiness to someone that may have especially needed it that day.
- Have plants that need extra irrigation? Save your milk jugs. Poke drainage holes in it, and burry it near a plant (or between plants) that need extra watering. When making your watering rounds, fill the container with water. The water will slowly leak out directly into the soil at the level of the roots. Using this method, you don’t lose so much water to evaporation, as if you were watering on the ground surface level.
Gardening Tip: just remember to remove the jugs from the ground before you till for the fall!
- Old garden hoses can be cut into pieces to resemble the size of snakes. Distribute them in strategic areas around your garden to discourage pests (rodents, some birds, etc.) from your garden. (Position them to look like snakes.) Take it one step further, if you choose, and paint them with markings that resemble snakes in your area.
Gardening Tip: This is a great project to do with kids! They'll have a ball, and you can also use it as an educational tool to teach them about snakes (the harmless, and the ones to be wary of) in your area.
- “Wall of waters” are a great product (my Dad swears by them!), but if you’re looking for an inexpensive alternative… save your glass bottles. Fill them with water and surround your tender plants with them. (Use only in cooler spring or fall temperatures, or you’ll risk burning your plants.)
- Have access to a pond? Use the algae growing on top as a wonderful rich fertilizer for your garden and yard plants!
- If you have plants that aren’t in a spot that provides enough sunlight, try putting an aluminum foil covered board angled toward the sun, so that the light reflects onto the plant nearby.
- Likewise, you can attach aluminum foil to a fence or wall behind heat loving plants (like tomatoes or peppers) to increase light and heat. The reflection from the foil is also reputed to confuse and distract birds and insects who'd like to make a meal of your plants!
Gardening Tip: Be a little judicious, and don't go too crazy with aluminum foil. You don't want to scorch your plants!
- Keep your melons from rotting as they ripen by placing a flat stone (or concrete) beneath the fruit.
- Water your seedlings less with a homemade irrigation system. Simply stretch out a layer of plastic (like a plastic garbage bag) and place layers of newspaper on top. Then set your seedling pots on top. Excess water seeps out of the pots into the newspaper, going no further than the plastic. As the soil dries, the moisture is whisked back up into the planters. When done, reuse the newspapers in your compost pile or worm farm.
- Recycle egg cartons as seedling starter flats! When its time to plant, just separate the sections with a knife or scissors and plant directly into the soil. (The cardboard will decompose into your garden.)
- The little paper pleated cups used at the water cooler also can be used as seed starting pots. If you blow into them with a hefty gust, they’ll expand in size to nearly double. Then fill will seed starter mix and plant your seeds!
- Save that old empty parmesan cheese shaker – and fill it with a mixture of fine seeds and sand. Then simply shake to spread the seeds as you’re planting.
- An "old farmer’s tale" suggests putting match sticks (tip out) in the ground around your carrots to protect them from rabbits. (I guess they don't like the smell of sulfur)
- Protect your plants from cutworms with this interesting recycling technique. Save your tin or aluminum cans, wash them, remove the top and bottom, remove the labels. Burry 1” (no deeper, or you'll interfere with the plant's root system) of the can in the soil with your seedling planted in the center of the can. It helps keep cutworms from your tender plants.
Hi - this certainly worked for me. Scrunch up a few squares of white kitchen paper towel & place around the broccoli/cabbage. The white cabbage moth thinks the territory is already owned by another moth and won't lay eggs. You can also use white eggshell halves instead of the kitchen paper. Happy gardening. .... Maggie
Note: the advice and information contained herein is based upon our experience and study. As with any advice, please apply at your own discretion.