Save some “green” this year

Even before the Global Recession, I learned to become a frugal gardener.  Here are a few money-saving tips that will help you garden inexpensively:

Grow your own plants from seeds, divisions or cuttings. Share or trade open-pollinated heirloom plants with friends and acquaintances. Layering is a simple, foolproof way of propagating these “pass-along” plants.

Create seed-starting “pots” from foam coffee cups, paper cups, cottage cheese tubs, yogurt containers, margarine containers, and cut-off milk cartons by poking holes in the bottom for drainage. The clam shells with clear lids at salad bars make ready-to-use mini-greenhouses for seed-starting or rooting cuttings.

When shopping for perennials, look for potted plants that contain several divisions or offsets that can be easily teased apart at planting. For the price of one pot, you can acquire several plants.

Mulch your plantings.  A shallow, 2- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch conserves moisture, suppresses weeds, and supplies nutrients as it decomposes. Covering bare soil with mulch reduces erosion.  Fallen leaves make an attractive fine-textured mulch when they’re shredded with a lawn mower or leaf shredder.

Harvest rainwater to irrigate your landscape and garden this spring and summer. Attractive rain barrels, clay urns with spigots at the bottom, or makeshift pickle barrels make excellent vessels for capturing and using rainwater.

Compost. Recycle organic yard trimmings and kitchen wastes and return them back into the landscape or vegetable garden as a soil conditioner or mulch.

These are just a few economical “green” techniques that will save you some “green” this upcoming gardening season.

Bob Polomski (C) 2015

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