Check out any garden center in the spring and you'll discover all the newest tools of the season. Gardening companies seem to put out new variations on old tools every year, and a gardener could soon fill an entire shed with gadgets and gizmos. Frugal gardeners know that many tools can be created with materials at hand, recycling what might otherwise be thrown away into useful and often free yard tools.
Most vegetables in your garden require at least 1 inch of water per week, and the only way to make sure that your plants are getting that is to measure the rain that falls each week. Rain gauges are made in many attractive designs, but you can do the exact same job with an empty can. Mark the outside of the can with permanent marker in 1/2-inch increments and set it outside near your garden where it won't be disturbed. Check the water level once a week and water your garden accordingly.
Many plants like tomatoes and roses need to be tied to stakes or cages in order for them to grow upright. Don't use zip ties or floral wire to secure your plants. Cut strips of used pantyhose or old t-shirts and use them as soft ties that won't damage tender plant stems.
Mulch helps to keep moisture in the ground and discourages weeds from growing between vegetable plants. Skip the expensive bags of mulch and lay down pages of black-and-white newspaper. The paper will do everything that the commercial mulch will do, it will biodegrade into your soil and it's free.
Many plants benefit from the use of a soaker hose, which gives a steady and small supply of water for many hours at a time. Make your own free soaker hose out of that leaky hose that you have sitting in the back of your shed. Pound nails into an old hose at regular intervals to make a series of small holes. Hook up the hose and lay the length between your plants. Turn the water on at a slow level so that the water will seep out the holes in the side of the hose.
Container Garden Tools
Container gardening is always a favorite with many people, and garden centers offer entire collections of smaller tools especially designed for these small gardens. Rather than waste money on special small tools, recycle bent serving spoons and forks from your kitchen drawer. They will do the exact same job as the fancy small tools, and add a fun look to your gardening supply container.