At the base of each arch, I plant seeds for vining vegetables like beans or summer squash. In between each arch, I plant things like herbs and lettuces that won't mind shady spots once the vines grow. The vines will grow up the arches and then cover the whole sides and tops, creating a leafy arbor that is really very attractive. The vegetables (I've done several varieties of green beans, and Italian zucchini) hang down into the tunnel. Growing up off the ground like this, they stay very clean, and never get soggy after heavy rain. They also seem to stay pest free, since I never have problems with bug bites. And, in really hot summers, the vegetables never get sun-burned.
At harvest time, I take garden scissors, a step-stool, and a large basket with me. I get great harvests with this method. The vegetables hanging down are easy to see, just waiting there to be taken, and it's nice and cool in the shade. An added bonus is that I can harvest lettuce later in the summer than usual (lettuces don't usually like the sun and heat). This method saves space, is very attractive, and seems to produce the best harvests.
By schyresti from North Royalton, OH
By Teresa from Ypsilanti, MI
Using sawdust in the garden is not without its problems. Like other wood products, as sawdust breaks down and decays it locks up important nutrients in the soil - namely nitrogen. Spreading raw or "green" sawdust in the garden can lead to a nitrogen deficiency resulting in the malnutrition of your plants. Fortunately, there are a couple of ways around this:
Walnut, cedar, and chemically treated wood should never be used on garden plants, but may be suitable for soaking up spills or creating garden paths. To source sawdust in your area, check with local lumberyards and tree removal companies. Many will offer sawdust for free (or at least very inexpensively), especially if you're willing to pick it up and haul it home yourself.
By Ellen Brown
With sufficient lighting, various types of ivy and ferns will thrive indoors. You can grow a beautiful herb garden at a well-lit kitchen window or on a kitchen island or counter. Some ornamental grass can survive a mild winter outdoors. Late blooming summer plants can remain attractive well into late autumn or early winter in some areas. Summer annuals can be potted and placed in decorative containers to liven up your indoor decor for quite some time.
A little TLC and creativity is all you need to make these deeply discounted plants a beautiful part of your indoor or outdoor design.
By VeronicaHB from Asheboro NC
I have done this with rubber gloves several times, but this is the first year I have used a wrong side out garden glove. This summer, I found it to be very comfortable and much cooler than having the cotton on the inside.
It's yard work time! Let's also work together to get our roadsides cleaned up for the winter months. Get a pair of garden gloves. They are much better for picking up litter than rubber gloves. They protect your hands from sharp objects where rubber gloves don't and you will find that they are very comfortable.
By Litter Gitter from NC
Most of us shop for garden plants in the spring. This usually results in a garden filled with lots of early to mid-season flowering perennials and shrubs-the kind of plants in bloom when we go shopping. Pots filled with fall-flowering plants are slower to emerge, so we often overlook them in favor of the plants in bloom (especially after a long winter). Unfortunately, once autumn arrives our flower beds start to look dull and the color gaps become painfully obvious.
Fall plant sales are a good way to fill in these color gaps in your beds and borders. One solution is to use frost tolerant annuals like marigolds, which naturally bloom in classic autumn colors. Because you'll be buying them at greatly reduced prices, even if they don't last more than a few weeks, your investment will have been minimal.
Late season sales are also a good time to save money on perennials. The plants growing in pots this late in the season are usually overgrown. This means you can gain even more savings (and more plants) by dividing the clumps into two or three sections before planting them. Although it is tempting to buy fall-blooming perennials to fill in this year's color gaps, you are better off protecting next year's display by pinching off the blooms immediately after planting them. This will shift the majority of the plant's energy into establishing roots and increase the likelihood that they survive the winter.
By Ellen Brown
I have a large yard with a lot of trees that requires a lot of work. I am always having to pick up limbs , spread mulch, etc. Then I came up with the idea to use my 30 gallon large garbage can on wheels that I had purchased from a discount store. I can roll it like a wheelbarrow or pull it. It holds more. It has a lid and a handle on the side that is easy to pull or push around the yard.
By E L
Gain a collection of plants that are simple propagators; for example Sedum. You can break a piece of this off of the mother plant and just plunge it into the ground and it will stay green and thrive, and the following year will bring you a hardy new plant with multiple stalks to fill out more and more with each year.
I also like to buy hardy plants that can be safely split, like day-lilies already bloomed (these often get discounted after the flowers are gone so if you don't mind guessing the color) Take it home and slice it in half and plant it you will have two fuller plants the following year, and it may re-bloom late summer.
Forsythia will bud roots in water in a few weeks so take your neighbors clippings that they have to take off and sprout the roots and replant! Also if you take clippings in the house in winter you will force bloom them and they will be that beautiful spring yellow early. It brightens the wintry day.
Rose of Sharon produces tons of offshoots. Ask others for some and they will grow like crazy up to 6 feet in poor soil.
You can buy one marigold flower plant and as the heads die and dry pull them off, roll it in your hands these are the seeds and they are very hardy, spread them where you need low lying flowers they will sprout the same year and probably next year too, and since its seeds the color may be different and unpredictable, and dead heading the plant will help more flower heads to come.
If you have the patience, seed saving can be very fun. Seeing something come up that you dropped seeds for is amazingly gratifying. You could find info about where to find the seeds of a plant by googling "where are the seeds on (flower name)" some may not have viable seeds but if they do not, then you could propagate by clippings or by root cuttings.
Last but never least are bulbs; they are beautiful, they are typically cheap, you get multiple bulbs that will create multiple plants for a small price. There are bulbs for each season so you can plan out something new coming up all year long. If you wait until just before the season for planting (Spring and Fall) you can get these at a discount at the home stores. As long as they are not so dry they break in your hand, they are still good. They should also not have an odor, take these home and get them in the ground immediately and next year you will have new colorful flowers. Don't forget to look for the word perennial here so you do not have to buy every year.
Basically you can save a lot of money by asking for clippings, buds, or seeds from friends and family or by purchasing one plant and having some patience if possible.
By Gina from Collegeville PA
By Ida from Toledo, Ohio
Editor's Note: Visit ThriftyFun's online seed swap. Share your seeds and find some new ones for your garden.
ThriftyFun's Seed Swap
By spending a little extra time looking, I was able to buy packs with as many as 9 plants in them rather than the 4 which are usually in the ones which come from the big box garden centers who get them from huge greenhouse operations. I saved money; I kept the profit to the merchant in our community; and I got very healthy plants that hadn't gone through several days of shipping and stocking.
By Sandy from Elon, NC
Spring is right around the corner. Here are some tips for saving money on gardening. Post your own ideas here.