Growing in a cold frame is a great way to extend the growing season. Cold frames allow you to start your plants earlier and keep plants growing later by protecting them from frosts. Find out how to build a cheap cold frame that will save you money each year!
I’ve been starting seeds undercover for the last few years but usually around March. This year I started my seeds on Boxing Day (26th December) to get a head start on the growing season for my tender plants which have long growing needs and now, in mid-January I’m sowing even more!
Yup, I’ve gone a little bonkers in getting a head start this year because I messed up so badly with my seeds last year and lost a bunch to late storms which decimated the garden.
You can start seeds right now for larger plants which will have a better start in your garden come spring or you can start seeds for indoor herbs and salads.
Fall is here! The leaves are turning gold, russet, coral and burgundy and dropping in the slightest of breezes. The ground is slick with leaves in the rain which turn to a glittering wonderland in the early morning frost.
It would be lovely to just leave them where they fall, but like so many gardeners, suburban and urban homesteaders across the country; there are city ordinances which need abiding by and one must keep up appearances for the good of the neighborhood. So rather than listening to the chatter of birds as they feed before winter, out come the leaf blowers to fill the warmer autumnal days with noise.
I own a leaf blower, I have no idea how to use it and I don’t want to use it and add to the fossil fuel burning but my family use it when I’m away.
I tackle the gardens with a lawn rake to gather the leaves. I rather enjoy the cardio exercise I get from raking the leaves and a sense of satisfaction at how many large piles of leaves I can create in the backyard alone!
This post is to answer that annual question “What do I do with all of these leaves?” and how you can turn all those leaves into something useful in the garden rather than filling the trash can with them.
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Today I want to show you a cheap and easy way to make garden beds using cardboard. This raised bed tutorial is a no dig gardening method which anyone can do and I will take you through how I used materials I had lying around to make it. Read More
In this post I would like to take you step by step through the new addition to the garden: a composter built from old wooden pallets.
We needed to build something to hold the completed compost from the tumbling barrel composter since we are starting to churn out more green waste and generating more compost. Read More
I talked about not wanting to spend any money on the garden at my house because I’m moving in with my other half in a couple of month’s time.
I’m all for being frugal and re-using, re-purposing wherever I can because that’s how I was raised back in Ol’ Blighty.
In this post, I would like to share some thrifty tips for the garden to help save some pennies for other frugal gardeners around the world and do a bit of recycling whilst we’re at it! We’d love to hear your thrifty tips for the garden in the comments.
1. Toilet paper card inner tubes make create compostable plant pots for seedlings. Place tubes in a container such as a margarine or ice cream tub, fill tubes with potting/seed compost and plant your seeds. Works well for squashes, beans, peas, carrots.
2. Make your own compostable plant pots from newspaper. Roll paper around a glass tumbler or can then fold in at the bottom. Place in a tray and fill with compost and seeds.
3. Yogurt pots make sturdy containers for your seedlings too, Be sure to poke some drainage holes in the bottom first.
4. Large tubs of salad can be used as mini seed propagators/greenhouse. Rinse out the clear plastic container and remove label. Place over seedlings in the light.
5. A piece of sturdy cardboard covered in foil acts as a reflector to help reduce spindly seedlings when growing on a windowsill inside.
6. Take hardwood and/or softwood cuttings of blackberry, raspberry, salmonberry, loganberry canes, grape vines and fruit bushes such as blackcurrant, redcurrant and elderberry to increase the numbers of plants for free.
7. Plastic bottles make great individual plant cloches when the bottom is cut off and the lid removed. Also reduces slug and snail damage to seedlings.
8. Use grey water (e.g. collected bath water) to water plants. Some cities require permits to save rainwater run-off, check with your local city to find out if you can collect rainwater to use in the garden and cut down on sprinkler use.
9. Banana skins around your roses will help perk them up a bit as the skins decompose.
10. Grow comfrey to make your own comfrey leaf liquid fertilizer. Other leaves can also be used such as strawberry, bracken, clover, stinging nettles, borage, chicory, yarrow, parsley and even washed seaweed. Weeds such as plantain, dock and dandelions can be used to make liquid fertilizers or teas. Heads up – they smell terrible but the plants love them!
11. If you happen to have left over beer in cans and bottles (an unlikely event in our house; we love beer), you can use this to bait traps for slugs. Bury a container so the top is level with the soil and fill with some beer. Cover the top with something to keep it dark to don’t close off the trap completely so the slugs can’t get in. I prop a flat rock on top of another rock to leave a gap. Check the traps and you should find them full of slugs.
12. If growing in containers, broken up styrofoam (polystyrene) packaging can be used at the bottom for drainage.
13. Plant labels can be made from cutting up plastic milk jugs. Use a permanent marker or Sharpie to write on them. Make sure you rinse the carton out well beforehand!
14. Dried crushed eggshells around your tender leafy plants or fruits may help deter slugs.
15. Copper wire around pots/containers will stop slugs crawling up to eat your plants.
16. Old net curtains can be used to cover plants susceptible to pests such as birds or flies (whitefly, blackfly, carrot fly or onion fly). May also help reduce caterpillar damage by preventing butterflies from getting to your cabbages.
17. Coffee grinds are rumored to prevent slugs and when mixed with compost, act as a slow release fertilizer.
18. Use cardboard egg boxes to start off seedlings. Plant the whole thing or break each pod and plant that when ready. The cardboard will decompose over time.
19. Poke plastic bottles with the bottom removed (mouth end down) into the soil near the roots of water loving plants. Water by hand into the bottle to make sure the water goes to the roots.
20. Deter birds and deer from your plot by suspending old CDs with string or fishing line. The movement in the wind and flashing in the light helps to deter animals from the plot. Read More