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Frugal Gardening Tips

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You don't have to spend a lot of money to have a beautiful and bountiful garden. This is a guide about frugal gardening tips.


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By 8 found this helpful
August 31, 2011

I use a flat bottom sled for garden waste. I find it very easy to pull all year round, and it holds tools as well as garden weeds. I put an old dog leash on the sled by using hooks through each end to put through the holes on each side of the sled. Then I just drag it along over my neck and shoulder as I garden.

I have bamboo, so that means I need something that will allow long stems. I have roses and this keeps the thorns contained, until I get my recycling bags ready. It is good for taking plants from the car to the garden as well. It is great for pulling out your recycling bins. All around my most useful garden invention.

By Barbara W. from Ewing, NJ

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By 8 found this helpful
June 28, 2010

If you normally use a wheelbarrow to move mulch, dirt, compost or weeds, try an old bed sheet instead. Lay the sheet open on the ground and rake or throw the mulch, dirt or weeds onto it then grab three corners and drag the whole bundle to its new location. Lift up one side of the sheet at the new location and pour out the contents.


By Robin from Durango, CO

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By 5 found this helpful
June 9, 2011

I had just moved in at the beginning of summer last year and found a fabulous deal on flowers! There wasn't a flower bed on my acre! So right over my grass, I laid Eco Friendly roofing paper. Then flat bags of inexpensive top soil here and there. With a razor knife, I carefully cut the top off the bag, then took a screw driver and a hammer and punctured drainage holes in several places. Right in the bags, I planted the flowers, then mulched with pine straw over the roofing paper, around the bags, and carefully between flowers. Voila - a beautiful bed! No one could see the paper or bags! I added bushes and trees and just slit an X in the roof paper!

This spring, I carefully cut the bags and pulled them out. The bed is still beautiful! The easiest garden bed I've ever done! (I couldn't resist adding a picture of my vegetable garden, before everything bloomed this spring. I salvaged old school bleachers to do my beds.)


By Mammio from AL

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By 3 found this helpful
September 13, 2010

For those of you that love flowers and have a friend or acquaintance that loves fishing, ask them to save the "dirt" that their bait comes in. This can be added to your potting soil to boost its enrichment. You can put it directly into flower pots to revive that worn out soil, with out going to the expense of new potting soil.


Source: I read an article in our local newspaper about someone that raises worms just for the soil they leave behind. It was sold as "black gold". Having a husband that loves to fish encouraged me to do this on my own.

By Sally Cramer from Bedford, IN

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Ness - Lakeview, NY1 found this helpful
March 25, 2005


I have been a gardener since I was a little girl, taught by my dad, and it's always fun to learn new thrifty and creative ways to enhance my gardening skills. Over the years, I have picked up many great ideas from several friends and relatives, and also just by experimenting. I hope you find these tips interesting.


Seeds don't always expire by the date printed on the package, so don't toss them automatically if you think they are expired. The seeds can often last for many years and still be viable. I have used tomato seeds that are 5 years old, and most germinated. Just plant the seeds a little thicker than usual. You can also pre-soak the seeds overnight in a little water to give them a head-start. This won't work for all seeds, but it's worth a try before tossing "old" seeds.


You should also consider saving your own seeds from any open-pollinated (NOT hybrid) plants from year to year. I have been saving pole bean seeds and tomato seeds for many years this way. That way, you have free seeds to grow the next season, and you can share them with your friends, too.

Seed starting: use the cardboard egg cartons with a little seed starter mix in each cup to start seedlings indoors. You can also use the bottoms of egg shells to start seeds.

An inexpensive shop-light (flourescent) works well instead of a more expensive grow-light to start seedlings. Just put it a few inches over the emerging seedlings, and raise it as they grow.

Once your seedlings are growing, use an old cookie tray or a plastic serving-tray to put your seedling containers on, and then water from the bottom, using the tray to hold the water. (Burger King plastic trays work great. My mom went in to one of their stores and asked to buy an old tray, and they gave her one for free.)

Don't forget to harden off your seedlings before planting them outside. You can transport them on your trays outside for a few hours a day, lengthening the time till they are sturdy and stocky and ready to go into your garden.

Enriching the soil:

I am an advocate of composting whenever possible. We keep a compost pile in the corner of our yard. Into this we put vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, leaves, grass, etc. Once a year, in the spring, we empty the pile into our garden and rototill it all into the ground. Then we start a new compost pile. It's a great way to enrich the soil, it's a way to recycle, and it's free.

Sometimes we also go to a local stable and cart away some free rotted horse manure. That also goes into the garden to be tilled under. It's an excellent free fertilizer.

I often save grass clippings and use them to mulch the garden once the plants are established. It's good for pathways and the edges of the vegetable garden. Since it generates heat while decomposing, don't put it too close to the plants. In the fall, till it into the garden. It adds necessary nitrogen to the soil.

Consider growing a "green manure" crop like alfalfa or buckwheat. Till these into the soil and let them decompose, and they also add nitrogen to the garden.

I have also collected buckets of rotted leaves and well-rotted wood chips (never use fresh wood chips) from the town's collection site to add to the compost or the garden. Fresh wood chips (free from the town or from some tree removal companies) can be used to make mulched pathways in the garden, but they must be very well rotted before you can add them to the growing area, as they will rob the soil of the nitrogen that the plants need. There are so many things you can add to enrich your soil, and many good books on this subject are available at the library.

Staking plants:

I use trash-scavenged broomsticks (and the like) as tomato stakes. Recycle old pantyhose and tights and cut them into strips to tie the tomatoes to the sticks.


You can also use layers of newspaper as mulcg. Wet the paper with a hose after you place it around the plants. Put grass clippings, peat moss, or rotted wood chips on top to hold the paper down. This can all be turned under after the growing season.

Using, saving and sharing the harvest:

Enjoy your fresh garden produce while it's producing. Look for new recipes to use up what you have grown. (Check out the world wide web, as well as your local library for ideas.) Also, you can can, freeze, or dry the extra. Your local cooperative extension has booklets on how to do this. Lastly, share the bounty (whether veggies or flowers) with family, friends and neighbors. As my father always says, "You can make a lot of friends by giving away a little produce." The best benefit of all is how great you will feel by sharing with others! Enjoy!

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By 3 found this helpful
March 15, 2010

I use all of my neighbors and my grass clippings to mulch my vegetable garden. I have few weeds, great organic vegetables, save money and time weeding.

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October 26, 20040 found this helpful

Plastic food storage bags make great shoe covers when you're working in the muddy garden. Slip 2 bags over each shoe and secure them with rubber bands around your ankles.

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May 7, 20040 found this helpful

Here in France we buy our croissants, pastries, etc. in lidded "cellophane" boxes. They come in all shapes and sizes, but all are deep and ideal as mini-propagators for seeds and/or cuttings.

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May 16, 2006

If you love gardening, but don't want to spend all your savings on keeping everything blooming, this is the book for you. It will tell you everything you need to know about gardening and landscaping beautifully on the cheap.

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September 13, 2013

I took this picture along with a close up and sent both to my county agricultural agent.

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