Gardening is a great pastime. Digging in the fresh soil tends to be therapeutic. Lush landscaping adds to your home’s value. And you can significantly slice your grocery bill by producing your own produce. By employing these suggestions, you can save on the tools and supplies you’ll need to get started.
Begin with a buck. Those dollar stores we have come to know and love usually stock small gardening items like tools, gloves, and pots. But don’t stop there. Stroll through the aisles and use your imagination. A dishpan could become a tidy, portable potting station; a pair of kitchen shears can prune small shrubbery or deadhead roses; a carton of Epsom Salt makes outstanding organic fertilizer.
Got milk? Plastic gallon milk or water jugs supply a slew of useful garden gadgets. Slice off the bottom three inches and fill with soil for an indoor seed starter or bait with beer to slay slugs. Use the remaining top as a miniature greenhouse for sprouting outdoor plants. Jugs full of water placed throughout the garden will ward off frost. Cut off the base at a slant and you’ve got yourself a handy scoop for soil or fertilizer.
Help yourself to seconds. Scope out yard sales, estate sales, swap meets, and even curbside “spring cleaning” piles. People sometimes get rid of perfectly good stuff when they move to a smaller home, have a death in the family, or simply get newer, fancier tools. You might get lucky and find something you need in good condition for a great price.
Don’t throw that away! The next time you are about to stuff something in the trashcan or recycle bin, look at it. An empty egg carton can be used as an early season seed starter. A garden hose with a leak or two can become a drip irrigation hose. Old pantyhose or strips of a worn t-shirt can be used to tie tomato or cucumber plants to stakes. A slice of a broken mini-blind is converted into a plant stake when labeled with permanent marker. Think outside the flowerbox!
Take care of what you have. Start by keeping your tools clean. Use a wire brush or damp cloth to wipe off dirt before storing. Have any blades sharpened once a year. It’s a good idea to sand any rough spots on wooden handles and wipe them with linseed oil at least every few months. Taking the time to maintain what you already have will save you cash in the long run.
If you find that you absolutely need to purchase a new tool, buy wisely. Pick a tool that serves more than one purpose, if possible. For example, if you need a rake to clear rocks from your garden choose one that will also work for spreading mulch. However, don’t pay more for something with fancy “bells and whistles” you will never utilize when the standard, less expensive version will suit. Moreover, always select a product that will last even if it costs a little more. If you have to replace it next year then you are not really saving.