Frugal gardening begins with the realization that it takes major bank to create a beautiful landscape. The cost of containers, soil additives, tools and materials skyrockets long before a single plant hits the dirt. Finding shortcuts to save money requires innovative thinking as well as conservation. Look at all aspects of your gardening activities to find places where you can use repurposed home items or create your own alternatives to save money while gardening.
Mulch is an incredibly versatile product used to beautify the landscape after planting. Different mulches include shredded hardwood, shredded pine bark, chips and nuggets as well as a host of other products. Liberal use of mulch helps retain moisture in garden soil, which in turn promotes the use of less water. A 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch will protect expensive plants from heat and cut down on weed growth. Gardeners also use mulches to fill the bottom portion of large container gardens in place of an excessive amount of expensive potting soil.
Vinegar Weed Killer
Visit the pantry and grab a bottle of white or apple cider vinegar. Vinegar works as a weed/grass killer and limits the purchase of expensive herbicides. Find an empty spray bottle and fill it with full-strength vinegar. Add a few squirts of liquid dish detergent and shake well. The detergent helps the solution stick to leaves to allow the vinegar to work its magic. Spray directly on weeds, making sure to avoid nearby plants and grass.
Break out those old boards lying around the garage and frame out the structure of a small compost bin. Gardeners use compost as a crucial soil additive to improve the quality of plant growing conditions. Purchasing a bag of compost doesn't make a lot of sense when homeowners can make this product at home quite easily and for free. Add leaves, grass clipping, plant debris, uncooked vegetable peels and coffee grounds to the compost bin. This product decomposes down to a highly organic material that provides nutrients to plants when used in the garden.
Many gardeners see their water bills increase by one-third during the warm summer months. Watering expensive plants, washing the car, rinsing off sidewalks and a host of other outdoor chores require a good amount of water. Consider installing a rain barrel water-collection system to capture every possible drop that hits the roof of your home. Rain barrels feature a sealed lid and a spigot for attaching a hose. Gravity creates pressure when the tap opens for use. These systems tap directly into existing gutters to create the perfect way to save money on summertime water expenses.
Starting Seeds Indoors
The demand for annual bedding plants causes the cost of these garden beauties to increase exponentially each year. Start your own bedding plants from seed using regular potting soil, seed packets and small containers repurposed from other parts of your home. Seeds require warmth to germinate so it's quite easy to fill a small tray with seeds for placement on top of the refrigerator. Create a plan to make different trays for particular flowers. Before you know it, you'll have a host of flowers to plant in the garden after the final frost. If you're not convinced yet, consider this: A single packet of seeds costs less that one bedding plant.