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You can’t miss the headlines, with the stockmarket crashing and the economy shaking like few of us have ever seen it. In the midst of this, gardens remain a sanctuary of peace, a connection with nature. They reassure us that we are passing through phases of existence and survival older than our short memories can recollect.
Our own gardens are our refuge, and even when we no longer have our own private ones… the public parks and gardens provide welcome places to observe nature and meditate on its soothing beauty and dependability. The sun that rises also sets, and comes ’round again. And each new day holds hope.
Gardening is one of those paradoxical pastimes that can be both restful and exhausting, cheap and expensive, depending on how it is managed. Today, I want to consider the more frugal ways to garden… in step with the times.
The blessing of plants is that they tend to reproduce on their own, or with a little help from us. If we learn to propagate and divide our plants we can have more! If we generously share the “pass-along” spirit of sharing plants with one another, we can further enrich each others gardens and lives.
Now, that isn’t going to help the professional nurseryman, but it will keep alive our gardens and enthusiasm until better times. I do think we should support our good local nurseries when we have the wherewithal to purchase plants. But if you don’t have two nickels to rub together, dividing the plants you have makes sense 🙂
All this may sound grim, but it isn’t meant to… changing times just mean flexible readjustment, and the gardener can be frugal and just as happy as when spending freely.
One thing that I would invest in right away is “black gold” and I don’t mean oil. I mean compost. Good garden practices of improving the soil make a plant look like a million dollars. You can feel luxurious surrounded by lush plants that look good and smell good. It is a matter of finding the joie de vivre in the simple abundance around you.
- Estate sales, etc. for tools. Martha Stewart tells you how to keep them in apple pie order.
- reuse large white buckets from supplies, (such as restaurants supply); reuse old tea pots, baskets, etc. for innovative plant containers. Even and old chair with a broken seat has been used to hold a container of plants!
- start your seeds in empty egg cartons or Mr. Brownthumb-style paper pots. Paper pots video.
- If you have pine needles around, they make cheap mulch.
- Horse, cow, or chicken manure can be composted for fertilizer. You can also make manure tea (smelly, but here’s the recipe- and more!) Doug’s garden recommends compost tea, instead. Martha’s method for compost tea.
- Save all your grass clippings, deadheaded flowers, wood ashes, leaves, food peelings (no meat or such foods), tea and coffee grounds, and compost them.
- crush eggshells and keep for around roses and other plants to keep slugs at bay.
How about you? What is your favorite way to save money in your garden?
Tags: frugal, gardener