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Frugal Gardening Tips?

Posted by on Jun. 13, 2012 at 3:54 PM
  • 9 Replies

 I would like to start gardening, but getting set up to do it can be so expensive with getting the tools, fertalizers, pest control, etc.

If you garden, what are some of your favorite tips for keeping the costs down?

by on Jun. 13, 2012 at 3:54 PM
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by Silver Member on Jun. 13, 2012 at 6:24 PM
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i start most of my plants from seeds. This yr it might be a little late for that..... but if you get a good haul this yr you can even dry your own seeds.

check craigslist for free, aged manure. We have alot of horses, chickens and cattle in my area and people are always giving that stuff away mix some into the soil a wk or so BEFORE planting. You don't want to burn any of the plants.  If its well aged you shouldn't have to worry about that though.

pest control.... i very rarely have to deal with this, but if you google it you will find all sorts of homemade, cheap mixtures and tips for nearly everything that you can think of.

good tools are worth the investment if you are planning on gardening every yr. Some of them that i use are 30 yrs old and in good condition.

we also got a large water container that we put under a gutter. The rain fills it and i use that to water my garden. I rarely need to turn on the hose

by Silver Member on Jun. 13, 2012 at 6:28 PM
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this yr we actually invested in some chickens.  They are great composters and their poo is fantastic for the gardens.  They also help with bug control, I'll get some eggs and down the road we'll get some meat as well. The start up was quite a bit (about $900) but that is only because my dh insisted on buying the coop and run instead of making them. If we had made them it probably would have cost around 150.   The chicks i got were 2.50 - 3.50 each, food is about $16 for a 50 lb bag, which lasts at least a month, more when the free range.

If you are allowed to have chickens where you live and have the space to do so, i would reccommend it if you garden.

by Jen on Jun. 13, 2012 at 7:05 PM
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This is my first yr doing a veggie garden. I get my plants at a discount thru my sisters work, we filled half the bed with compost from our backyard (leaves and grass clippings from the last few yes broken down), we didnt use manure bc the dirt dh bought had some but i used a coupon for it. Pest control ive heard gettinf basil and mint helps, and my sis said for slubs put a shallow bowl of beer by the bed and the slugs will drown in it.
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by on Jun. 14, 2012 at 2:50 PM
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You can buy used tools at garage sales or thrift stores.  You really only need a hoe and garden rake once your soil is worked up.  If you know another gardener, you could offer to pay them to till your garden instead of you buying a tiller yourself.

Typical backyard soil is not enough to grow a great garden.  Most soils are deficient in lime and nutrients.  Pelleted lime is fairly cheap and is necessary for the plants to use the nutrients in the soil.  The best fertilizer is compost:  lawn clippings, wood ashes, sawdust, leaves, kitchen scraps except dairy or meat, shredded newspaper, etc.  You CAN use manure, but be sure it's aged or it'll burn your can probably get it free if you can find a small farmer near you.  I am thrilled when other people ask for our horse manure...keeps me from having to worry about it.  Keep in mind that manure is also usually higher in nitrogen than any other nutrient, so you'll need to supplement manure with other things, and that's where the compost will help.

Pest control:  basil among tomatoes keeps the ugly green hornworms away.  Chives or mint are said to keep cabbage worms away.  Petunias repel bean beetles.  Marigolds keep several other pests away.  You can start these things indoors from seed and plant when you plant seeds.  Birds LOVE my strawberries, but if I can find loose netting, lace or sheer curtains at thrift stores, I'll cover the berries with it.  The sun can get through but the birds can't.

I am using heirloom seeds.  I can save seeds from a few of the fruits/veggies and not have to keep buying them every year.

by on Jun. 15, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Starting your own plants from seed is ultimately the cheapes way to go with plants.  Like Rhonda said, there really aren't all that many necessay tools.  The only one I'd add to her small list is a hand trowel.  I use it a lot for planting my seedlings.  I also like my claw for grabing any weed that dares to pop in for a visit.

I like letting my plants provide me with next year's seeds.  When I harvest, I will leave some veggies on the plant to go to seed.  For instance, I'll let several okra pods stay on the plant till they are ready to seed and then use the dried seeds for next year's crop.  Towards the end of harvest, I will let several of my green bean pods go to seed, lt them dry out well and add them to my collection for next year.  I collect seeds from my tomatoes and peppers to dry and save.  When my squash is pretty much done for the season, I will let each of them grow one last one and let it grow big enough to produce good seeds to dry.

There are things in my garden from which I don't reap the seeds.  Such as my salad items...radishes, carrots, spinach, etc.  I find those too tedious.  LOL.  I just buy those seeds.  But, it's a very minimal cost.

I live in the southern most part of central TX.  I am more south than central.  The soil here sucks.  So, I had garden soil hauled in from a place.  I don't recommend it to most.  It is quite spendy.  But, it was what I had to do if I was going to do ANY gardening.  Any other state I've gardened in, I could simply add what I needed to the soil to make it a nice fertile garden.  Texas clay was a whole different issue.

I have always composted.  Anything from the kitchen, other than meat or dairy products, goes into my compost.  This ages and gets worked into the soil every spring.  It helps boost the soil in the garden.

If you do find someone who has manure, make sure it is aged.  Fresh manure is too hot and will burn your plants.  Cow and horse manure are great.  If it is dry and breaks up, it's ready to go in the garden.  Chicken manure on the other hand is an extrememly hot manure.  It has to age way longer in order to be put into a garden.  There can't be ANY moisture left in it whatsoever.

As far as pest control, I net my tomatoes.  The grackles here in TX can destroy a crop in no time flat.  Everything else is pretty much safe from them.  For the bugs, I do a lot of companion planting.  And, as an added mesaure (because there is always some pest that just doesn't give up), I boil some water with cayenne pepper.  I use powder if I don't have an actual pepper.  If I use powder, I strain it through a cloth before putting it in  my spray bottle.  I add about a tsp of dish soap as well.  This spray seems to work well for me.  Seems the bugs don't like the pepper oils.  If you have slugs...just set out some jar lids with a little beer in them.  Set them out in the evening, they will be full of slugs in the morning.  Them slugs love a good kegger.  LOL.  

by on Jun. 15, 2012 at 12:02 PM

We seed save, use our hands a lot or garage sale or pawn shop tools, use rain barrels, DE for pest control and companion planting, make our own soil and fertilizer (but healthy plants and soil doesn't need any more nutrients), old carpets and rugs for weed much really.

Just take and think about what you would need for your gardenin' situation and then figure out how to do it green and wise. And ask lots of questions when they come up:)

GL and have fun!!!

O-the are great magazines out there to help with frugal ideas, like Countryside and Mothers Earth News and more!!

"I'd rather be hated for who I am, then loved for who I'm not"-Montgomery Gentry

Life and Times of a Redneck Woman 

Do you swag:O)

by Member on Jun. 15, 2012 at 7:34 PM

 Dollar general has really cheap gardening tools

by on Jun. 15, 2012 at 8:04 PM
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Here's a wacky & wonderful article called Gardening After Dinner.  Check it out.  It's saved me hundreds of dollars already, & I actually have a Green Thumb!  *wink*

Get your start up gardening hand tools at a dollar store or yard sales. is also a great resource for frugal gardeners.

  "Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful." ~ Sophia Loren (1934 ~ present)
by on Jun. 15, 2012 at 8:51 PM
Dollar stores I think are a great place to start.
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