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!
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1. Toilet paper cardboard inner tubes make great compostable plant pots for seedlings. Place tubes in a container such as a salad box, margarine or ice cream tub, fill tubes with potting/seed compost and plant your seeds. Works well for squashes, beans, peas and 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. You can also purchase a biodegradable plant pot maker for seedlings to make the task easier.
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.
You might be interested in some of the Frugal Gardening Series posts to help you save even more in the garden:
What is your best thrifty tip for the garden? Please let me know in the comments!
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