Starting a Garden on a Budget

Question:

I am looking for ideas on how to inexpensively start a flower, grass, and shrub garden. I have a very small budget for this and am new to the area so I don't have the resources for cuttings and other transfer plants.

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Hardiness Zone: 5b

Thank you,
Teacherandmom from Redmond, OR

Answer:

Dear Teacherandmom,

For starting a perennial garden, your most economical option is to start from seed. Since you're a teacher, I would start by letting other faculty at your school know that you're looking for plants and shrubs to start a small garden. A lot of perennials get planted and divided this time of the year. Most gardeners would rather give away any extra seeds and plants they don't have room for, rather than see them go to waste. Since you're new to the area, this might be a good opportunity to meet some of your neighbors. Do you bake or make some kind of crafts? Maybe you could introduce yourself, offer a small gesture of good will (plate of cookies, bars, etc.) and mention how much you admire their garden. Before you go, make sure to let them know if they have extra plants or cuttings, you would be more than willing to spread the beauty of their garden into your yard.

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Also make sure to take advantage of the free resources in your area. Oregon State University Extension Service, Deschutes County has a website with some good gardening resources for Central Oregon. The site also features a calendar, which might be helpful for upcoming gardening events, including plant sales. http://extension.oregonstate.edu/deschutes/Horticulture/index.php.

Another great listing is the garden events page of All-Oregon's website http://www.all-oregon.com/garden_events.htm. How about joining the Redmond Garden Club, or calling them to see if they have any upcoming plant sales? (425-881-5103). Like others on this site, I am also a big fan of Freecycle. There are amazing amounts of people out there who are eager to share their resources with others. Here is a Freecycle link for central Oregon where you may be able to get free plants, seeds, tools and raised bed materials and pass along some of your own used stuff for others http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Freecycle-OR-Bend/.

Finally, check out these books at your public library, "Dirt Cheap Gardening," by Rhonda Massingham Hart, and "The Budget Gardener," by Maureen Gilmer. Both of these books contain wonderful tips on how to save money on equipment, plants, etc. Happy gardening!

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Ellen

About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

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April 24, 20060 found this helpful

I don.t know if Oregon has such a program, but in New York, my county has a program where you can purchase bare root shrubs and trees very inexpensively. my husband and I just planted blueberry, elderberry, lilac, butterfly and sassafras bushes, 34 of them for $40. One lilac bush is $20 at the local nursery. The sale was through the Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District. Check with your local county government.

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April 24, 20060 found this helpful

I havean idea that might get you started. First, put an ad in the paper requestng plants right from shrubs to floral trees. If it is off season, buy lots of seeds as although you might be told they are not good for more than a year, they definately are! You can ask for bricks, wood or cement.Some plants like roses,mock orange and others can be pushed into the soil and develop their own root system.Hedging cedars can be planted the same way. Good Luck and relax! It works!

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April 25, 20060 found this helpful

You might be surprised at the generosity of seed savers/sharers. Look at the "SeedS Seeds Seeds" link near the bottom of this news letter. Post a note asking for seeds to get you started for postage. Send me your address I'll send you some seeds too.Then after you have seeds to share, be sure to help and pass along to other new gardeners .Check out www.gardenweb.com they also have seed/plant exchanges.Happy Gardening Great granny Vi

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April 25, 20060 found this helpful

Just hang up some notices on community bulletin boards. Gardeners love to share!

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April 28, 20060 found this helpful

Seeds will be your friend. Try Ebay or ask friends. This year I got 10 pkts for $1 at our local $ store. Also, Here are some links you may want to try.

http://www.freetreesandplants.com/

http://www.myjungle.com/gardeningfreebies/

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May 2, 20060 found this helpful

If your area has a local freecycle group you can post a wanted ad and people who are wanting their plants divided will invite you to divide them or they may do it for you! I haven't asked for any plants because a friend of mine gave me some divisions of hers but another friend of mine just received some (I saw her post!). You can look up your group on yahoo groups. This is a another great site for thrifty people!

JoAnn in Elkhart

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