Six Tips to a Great Garden on a Budget
May 10, 2011
By: Clarky Davis
The longer days and warmer weather are enough to entice the most dedicated couch potato to get outside and complete some much needed yard work. I enjoy sprucing up my garden, but flowers, gardening tools and supplies can be expensive. Here are six great tips to you’re your wallet and garden green this spring.
1. Forget Fancy Fertilizers: The best time to fertilize your lawn is during the spring, as the grass is starting to sprout. Do not splurge on commercial fertilizer, just head to your local drugstore and pick up some Epsom salt, which is the primary ingredient in most fertilizers. Epsom salt is the perfect all-natural grass fertilizer because it contains magnesium, which helps seeds sprout and plants to produce chlorophyll, and sulphur, which plants need. Use a fertilizer spreader to spread them on your lawn, or dissolve them in water and spray on.
2. Be Wise with Your Water: Your plants only need moisture for 15 centimetres into the ground, so to see if you’re overwatering, stick a ruler into the soil and see how many centimetres are wet when you pull it out. If you like to set your soaker hose or sprinkler and forget it, invest in a shut-off timer, which can be as low as $10. The best time to water is at dusk because waster won’t evaporate as quickly!
3. Plant Perennials: Perennials are plants that will bloom year after year with the proper care, and include such popular flowers as day lilies, hostas, peonies, and tulips. If you live in a colder climate, you may have to dig up your perennials before the frost and replant them, but you won’t have to buy new seeds!
4. Stay Away From Seedlings: It may be tempting when you’re at the garden store (or even the supermarket), but try not to buy a lot of seedlings. Instead, use toilet paper and paper towel tubes to start your own! Cut them into two to five centimetre tubes, then place on a tray and fill with soil. Add seeds and cover with a thin layer of soil, then keep in a warm area and keep moist until you’re ready to plant! (Until the seeds sprout, you don’t even need sun!)
5. Pull Out Those Planters: Plant flowers and plants in planters rather than in a flower bed to save on the cost of having to buy plants. Just plant a few in each pot, and evenly space them along your fence, deck, or home. This way, you’ll spread them out and not have to buy as many plants to fill the space!
6. Don’t Curb Creativity: Planters don’t have to be pots from the garden store. Take a look around your home and see what other containers you might have that would make good planters. A bowl, old wagon or wheelbarrow, watering can or boot can all make artful planters. Just add some rocks or packing peanuts to the bottom to allow for proper drainage.