5 money-saving gardening tips - WDAM.COM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

5 money-saving gardening tips

Using compost rather than store-bought soil amendments is better for your plants. © iStockphoto.com Using compost rather than store-bought soil amendments is better for your plants. © iStockphoto.com
  • Most ReadMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 6-year-old found home alone after calling 911

    6-year-old found home alone after calling 911

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 6:10 PM EDT2014-07-22 22:10:35 GMT
    (WMC) - Horn Lake, Miss. police say 26-year-old Stephanie Scott was given a summons to appear before a judge after her 6-year-old daughter was found home alone. Police say the little girl called 911 becauseMore >>
    Horn Lake, Miss. police say 26-year-old Stephanie Scott was given a summons to appear before a judge after her 6-year-old daughter was found home alone.
    More >>
  • Update: Rescued dog undergoes surgery (Warning:Graphic Images)

    Update: Rescued dog undergoes surgery (Warning:Graphic Images)

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 8:32 AM EDT2014-07-23 12:32:08 GMT
    Source: Facebook/Brookhaven Animal Rescue LeagueSource: Facebook/Brookhaven Animal Rescue League
    The severely injured dog rescued in Copiah County underwent surgery this afternoon. The six-month-old mixed breed was found with part of her leg missing last Friday on the side of the road.The dog wasMore >>
    A severely injured dog rescued by a woman in Copiah County underwent surgery Tuesday afternoon.
    More >>
  • Social Seduction: Man lured to house by woman, carjacked, police say

    Social Seduction: Man lured to house by woman, carjacked, police say

    Police say that the victim met a woman, known as "Ali W" through a social media site, known as "Tagged," and arranged to meet her in person. That is when he was allegedly carjacked.
    More >>
    Police say that the victim met a woman, known as "Ali W" through a social media site, known as "Tagged," and arranged to meet her in person. That is when he was allegedly carjacked.
    More >>


By Nancy Kalish

 

If you're looking to save money on gardening this season, you're not alone. The good news is, a beautiful garden doesn't have to cost big bucks, says Catriona Tudor Erler, author of The Frugal Gardener and Design Ideas for Home Landscaping. "You can often get better results with cheaper -- or even free -- materials and put in less effort as well." Here, Erler's tips for creating a gorgeous garden that only looks expensive.

1. Create instant compost.

Using compost rather than store-bought soil amendments is better for your plants, according to Erler. Best of all, it's free and you can forget all the rules you've heard about the need to layer green and brown plant materials.

"I just throw everything from kitchen scraps to leaves in an out-of-the-way spot in the garden, and it works out wonderfully," says Erler. "I'll even pour on milk that's gone sour."

But it takes a year until compost is ready to use. If you don't have that much time, you can speed up the process by simply digging a hole, throwing in some kitchen scraps and then planting on top of it. "The worms will turn the materials into compost for you." Any kind of leftover food will work -- except meat. Fish and coffee grounds (along with the paper filters) are especially good.

2. Make your own plant food.

Soak some compost or aged manure (often available for free at stables) in a bucket of water for a few days, then use it to water your plants, including the leaves. When the water turns a mucky color, it's ready. "This mixture has none of the harsh salts or petrochemicals of store-bought plant foods, and your plants will soak up more nutrients," says Erler.

3. Don't buy as much mulch.

If you've got a weedy patch around a shrub or tree, place a thick layer of newspaper over the area first, and then add a little mulch on top. This cuts down on the amount you need. Mulch is also cheaper to buy in bulk. Ask a neighbor to split it, which will halve the cost for the both of you.

4. Purchase smaller plants.


Nurseries charge more for larger plants. But it doesn't take that long for small ones to catch up once they're planted in your garden. Smaller plants also establish more quickly and tend to be healthier, says Erler, so you ultimately get more bang for your gardening buck.

5. Save with self-seeders.

Many beautiful perennials drop their seeds after they flower, spreading themselves and blooming the following year, says Erler. This means that you don't have to pay for additional plants (or put in extra planting work). These flowers also prevent weeds from springing up in the same area. Self-seeders include cosmos, marigolds, impatiens, California poppies, asters, black-eyed Susans, columbines and hollyhock. In addition, some plants grow in clumps that can be easily divided and replanted. These include iris, daffodils and hostas. Save even more by trading these for other plants with a pal who also has a garden.

 

Copyright (c) 2010 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.

Nancy Kalish has written for many publications, including Parenting, Parents, Real Simple, Reader's Digest, More, Health, Prevention, Self and Fitness. She is the co-author of The Case Against Homework: How Homework Is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.