I have found many ways of saving money, while still having a lovely garden to provide fresh food and flowers. I have found that plant sales at churches and garden clubs can be a good source for perennials. Another is your friends and neighbors. Offer to swap weeding for plants or for a few bulbs from overgrown areas.
Seeds can be saved from flowering plants and vegetables in the fall to use in the Spring. Put them into a paper envelope with the contents written on it and keep in a cool, dry place. You can grow many kinds of beans by saving a few to plant out of a bag of dried beans (very cheap at the grocery store). Almost any kind are good as green beans, especially black beans, scarlet runner beans, pinto beans, or white beans. They can also be grown to maturity and used as dry beans. Ditto for popcorn - save some unpopped corn , soak in water for a few days, and plant when danger of frost is over.
When I need to fill in a bare spot in the lawn, I weed the flower and vegetable beds, much of which turns out to be - grass! Scratch up the soil a bit, transplant it to the bare spot, and water. It will soon be a patch of free grass.
For mulch, I save my grass clippings and use them as mulch over soil in the garden. It bleaches out to a straw-color in days. It looks good and provides nutrients to the soil. I do not have to pay to dispose of it or buy something to use as mulch.
For a free plant food, I water plants with cooking water left from when I cook vegetables. Just make sure it doesn't have salt in it. A great way to have free compost is to find an area in the yard to put a compost pile. You may make an enclosure with old pallets (skids), cement blocks, stone, or wood. I have used a bottomless garbage can, an old bath tub, and salvaged cement blocks at different times. Put all of your food waste except fats, weeds you have pulled up, soft paper such as napkins, shredded cardboard-in short anything that will biodegrade quickly. I have also put in used kitty-litter, with good results, although some folks might be squeamish about this. Barbecue ashes and wood stove ashes go in there too. Mix it up occasionally and use it when it becomes crumbly and soil-like.
One last thing, not free, but at least it doesn't harm the environment - use vinegar or leftover pickle juice as a weed-killer in stubborn places like between paving stones and sidewalk cracks. Sometimes you just can't get it all out, so pour a little vinegar on it and the weed will die. The acid in the vinegar is what does the job. It also washes harmlessly away, and diluted, in the rain.
By Jennifer from Gilbertsville, NY
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Here in So. Calif. cuttings from succulents are very easy to root & to maintain, (just break off a sprig & stick it into some soil!) Ditto spider plants (just root tiny spider shoots). I put old tea & drinking water into my houseplants, they seem to like it. Never thought about sprouting beans.
I have a few plants, brunnera is one, that self seed, so I let the small ones grow a little during the season then move it in the fall to a more organized location. Lots of free plants that way--I even have enough to give away to friends.
This is a nice article. However, the composting information is dangerously inaccurate.
You never compost the waste from carnivore. The parasites that live in their waste will not be killed through the composting process and will transfer to any plant that comes in contact with them. Also, attempting to compost wood and charcoal ashes will throw off acidic balance of the compost pile. Finally, you can't compost everything "except fats". You cannot compost any dairy and meat, chicken, fish. Most of these will attract rats and other pets.
For more accurate instructions, please look up several of the websites that have more complete information.
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