Gardening on a Budget


Gardening on a Budget
  • Posted August 13, 2014
water

Pennies from Heaven – Water

Watering - Water is essential to the life of your garden, so be wise in its usage and conservation.

Water in the morning or the evening, and during cooler temperatures, when the water will not evaporate as quickly. Water slowly and deeply, rather than light and frequently. This allows the soil to hold more moisture, and encourages roots to grow deeper and broader.

Rain barrelcollect rainwater from your roof in a large rain barrel. You will then have an instant source for free, fresh water to hydrate your plants with. Rain barrels and rain barrel kits can be found at your local hardware store or online.

mulch

Dirt Cheap – Planting Areas

Reduce the amount of lawn – consider larger beds of flowering trees and shrubs. Reducing the size of the lawn can save time and money, because grass is one of the plants in your yard that requires the most maintenance.

Mulch – Mulch helps your garden by choking out weed seeds, by keeping the soil moist, and by regulating the soil temperature. Create your own mulch by collecting and chopping your fall leaves, and allowing them to compost for the winter before spreading on your beds. Landscaping companies can deliver truckloads of wood chips, shredded bark and stone mulches to your home for those larger projects, rather than purchasing the more expensive individual bags.

“Living Mulch" - Once established, beds of ground-covering plants require very little maintenance, choking out weeds and conserving water.

Naturalized - Consider allowing a portion of your property to become naturalized. Selecting plants that are native to your area not only cuts down on your maintenance, because they have adapted to the climate, pests and diseases in a specific location. Native plants reduce the cost for fertilizer, water and pesticides. A naturalized area also provides a habitat for wildlife and plant pollinators. Your local cooperative extension service and garden associations are great resources to learn about native plants.

perennial bed

The Midas Touch – Plant Selection

Get to know your property by observing factors such as its soil type, and the amount of light and rain it receives. Select plants that will grow under those specific conditions. Local retailers can be a great resource for suggesting plants for different locations. And read the tags that come with the plants: If it says “Full Sun", it will need 6+ hours of direct sunlight to be healthy and flourish. Also look for low maintenance plants – such as those resistant to diseases, pests, deer and other wildlife. Our plant library, your local library and the internet are full of information to identify the plants that will require less maintenance on your part, thus saving money.

clearance plants

From Rags to Riches – Out of Season Plants

Purchase perennial plants and shrubs out of season, when they are done flowering or that have taken a bit of a beating through the summer. They typically will be discounted because of their appearance, but with some loving care and a winter of rest, they should return to their glory the following growing season.

bulbs in bulk

A Dime a Dozen – Buying in Bulk

Consider buying in bulk to lower individual price. For example, bulbs: the price drops per bulb when you purchase a larger bag. Contact the local garden club and see if they already purchase in bulk with their members.

dividing plants

Free and Clear - Divide/ Share/Swap plants with friends

Many clump-forming plants actually perform better if divided every couple of years and allowed to spread out. Free plants makes everyone's day!

Related Pages

Dividing Perennials

Dividing Perennials

Want more and healthier perennials? Check out these guidelines.

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Rain Barrel Basics

Rain Barrel Basics

The use of a rain barrel can help reduce pollution, improve water quality, conserve water, improve plant health and save money.

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Nancy Stebbins
About the Author

Nancy Stebbins is a proud Michigan State University alumna, a landscape designer, and horticulturist at MasterTag – a horticultural printing company.


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Gardening on a Budget

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