Saturday, September 3, 2011

Frugal gardening in small spaces

I received this great guest post from LueChaKin Naturals and would love you all to read it and check out her page! Growing your own produce is a great way to save money so you can have it for the fun stuff!!!

Over the years I continue to learn new ways to save money while enjoying my love for gardening. Since most of my past ten years were spent in apartments or small houses with a small yard, I also learned a few ways to enjoy my hobby in small - and even smaller - spaces.

Two basic money savers may seem obvious, but then I've been told I'm good at stating the obvious. First, always grow from seeds rather than purchasing seedlings. Second, always compost. Even if you live in an apartment, you can set up a small composting system or even worm-composting system inside or on a balcony. Use that compost in your potted plants, or make compost “tea” to fertilize even hydroponic plants.

Six of my favorite money and space saving tips:

1. Egg cartons plus old oven pans make excellent seedling trays. Cut the egg cartons in half, remove any flaps if desires, and fill each groove with potting soil. Plant a seed to the recommended depth and water from below (a.k.a. fill the tray with water). The egg cartons readily soak up the water. By the time your plants are ready to go in a larger pot or the soil, the egg cartons will easily pull apart from sitting moist for a while, and what remains with each individual plant can simply go in the ground to disintegrate.

2. Make your own fertilizers and pesticides. Everything your plants need to thrive and be bug-free can be made from regular household items.

3. If you want a lot of house plants or larger ones, look for those that grow fast and easily divide or give cuttings. Jade plants can roots easily. New home-grown houseplants also make great gifts.

4. Grow your own kitchen herbs. Fresh herbs taste better, and you'll save lots compared to the cost of buying fresh or dried herbs. Focus on the ones you use most often. If you have enough room outside to grow extra, dry or freeze fresh herbs for winter time use.

5. Grow veggies and other plants with a high value. If yellow onions sell at the grocery store for $0.49/lb, grow those $2.99/lb organic kohlrabi instead.

6. Save time by learning to mulch your garden beds. Maintain healthy soil, suppress weeds, and save water with free to cheap materials like cardboard and straw. Rich, healthy soil means that you can grow significantly more in a small area than with traditional rows. The so-called "square foot gardening" method is a great place to start. I typically grow full-sized, happy plants only a couple inches apart thanks to rich soil.

Lastly, if you have at least a small yard and you live in an area that allows them, keep a couple chickens. Not only are they great at keeping pesky bugs out of your yard, they'll also provide you with delicious eggs. Once you've had your own, home-grown eggs, you'll never look at store bought again. As an additional plus, the straw used for their bedding and the bird droppings make an excellent addition to your mulches and compost. I found my chickens to be my easiest animals to take care of – and that includes my fiancee.

Of course endless other ways save money and time in the garden. For more gardening information, please check out my blog at or share your tips right here!

Additional resources:

Make your own fertilizers

Square Foot Gardening

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