Free Gardening Ideas

Gardening can be expensive. However, with a few phone calls and a change in routine, your landscape can be beautiful without costing a dime. Take advantage of the free resources that are not advertised in any home-improvement store, put on your gloves, and save your hard-earned money for a backyard barbecue.

Eggshells

Work eggshells into the vegetable bed to give plants a dose of calcium, suggests Planet Green. The extra calcium prevents blossom-end rot in tomatoes and boosts plant health. Toss crushed eggshells around the base of vulnerable plants to dissuade cutworms and slugs from munching the leaves; soft-bodied pests dislike the shells' sharp edges.

Granite Remnants

When a contractor installs granite countertops, the supplier often discards the remainder of the slab. Ask local companies for their remnants. These pieces can be formed into stepping stones, intermingled as walkways or patios and used in outdoor furniture like potting shelves. Many of these remnants are polished, so be careful when using them for walking surfaces in wet areas.

Compost

Toss kitchen leftovers, yard trimmings and fallen leaves into a bin to make your own compost. If making your own doesn't appeal, contact the city or public works department. Many municipalities participate in a composting program and give compost free to citizens. Other departments have free composting workshops and provide bins for residents. If the department does have a fee, it is usually minimal or at cost. Don't use the city's compost in fruit or vegetable gardens, however, since the compost may contain pesticides.

Used Coffee Grounds

Many coffee shops, including large chain stores, save their used coffee grounds for local gardeners. These grounds boost the nitrogen in the soil and break down into a natural fertilizer. Ask the manager at your favorite coffee house to save the grounds for you or check back often. Be quick; coffee grounds are given on a first-come first-served basis.

Mulch

Power or utility companies maintain overhead lines and must trim or remove obstructing trees. These trees are mulched, and the companies give the mulch free to customers. Many companies will deliver it directly to your yard, but beware: you might be required to take the whole load. Split it with neighbors and have plenty of cool drinks on hand.

Gardening Societies

Join an active gardening society. Local garden societies have seasonal seed and plant exchanges, where plants are traded from one member to another. As a bonus, members know the area and have knowledge about the soil and climate that can save you from costly mistakes. Don't hesitate to ask questions; most members love sharing tips and, more often than not, sharing extra plants. Learn the guidelines and don't expect handouts; bring something to exchange, even if it's a piece of homemade garden art.

Keywords: free gardening ideas, landscape budget garden, save money yard

About this Author

Kimberly Fuller has been a writer for 15 years, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Utah. She has written successful grants for local schools as well as articles for Demand Studios, Constant Content and other online sites.