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Cheap and Free Ways to Grow Your Garden

Cheap and Free Ways to Grow Your Garden

Growing a garden can be very rewarding, providing you with food, flowers, and a beautiful landscape all season long - but buying an instant garden at full retail can be very costly. Fortunately, it's easy to cut your costs if you have patience and keep your eyes open for opportunities. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Buy smaller woody plants. Cut costs on permanent landscaping by starting with smaller trees and shrubs and space them according to their mature size. They will eventually fill the space, but it may take several years to get there. To keep it from looking sparse in the meantime, plant fast growing annuals to fill in the bare spots. 

Buy larger perennial flowers. On the other hand, perennial flowers are often a better deal if you buy larger plants and divide them into multiples. When choosing your plants, slip the plant from the pot and see if there's enough root mass to divide, and compare their size to the smaller plants. Sometimes a larger plant is really not much more than a larger pot and more dirt, so it pays to compare.

Always check out the discount rack. The half-dead plants being sold for a dollar or two can often be brought back to life with some care. Many types of neglected plants will spring back after trimming off the dead stems, loosening up the root mass, and replanting in good soil. Water often until the plants get established.

Start plants from seed. An avid greenhouse hobbiest may spend quite a few dollars to have seed starting gadgets to make the job easier. But all you really need is seeds, soil, water, and light. Use free containers like deli trays, plastic cups, or egg cartons and punch drainage holes in the bottom. Generally, larger seeds grow faster than smaller seeds, so plants like beans, cucumbers, and zinnias will fare better if you plant them directly in the garden.

Beg or barter with gardening friends and neighbors for free divisions. Anyone with an established perennial garden will need to divide their plants every few years for their plants to thrive, and many will end up with more plants than they have room for. Offer to help them with gardening chores for a day in return for some of those divisions. 

Make your own compost. Make free soil amendments and fertilizer by piling up your pulled weeds, food scraps, and fallen leaves and letting nature do the work of breaking it down into rich organic matter that will feed your garden. Don't put meat or grease into your compost to avoid attracting varmints, and avoid adding anything that may contain disease organisms (including pet waste or diseased plants.) Turning the pile and keeping proper moisture levels will make it happen faster and hotter, which will help kill off weed seeds. But even if you just throw material into the pile and forget about it, it will still eventually become a rich soil amendment that will help your garden thrive.


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Monday, 27 May 2024

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