Since we are planning to grow our own food this summer, at least part of it, now is a good time to think about how we can accomplish this with the smallest financial investment. Fruits and vegetables are not our only gardening concern, however. We want to keep our homes looking beautiful and places our family looks forward to coming home to. Here are a few ideas to help you do this on a slim, or no budget.
Craigslist and FreeCyle: This is a great place to get free plants or to trade plants. I did much of my yard getting plants thinned by friends.
Friends: Let your friends you’re interested in adding to your garden and you’d be happy to help them divide thin their plants in exchange for plants.
Nursery: While you wouldn’t typically think about getting free plants at a nursery, they can be an excellent place to get them. This is especially true of the chain stores that have a nursery department, just ask them if any are being tossed. Most of the time they can be revived but look too sad to be sold.
Landscaping Crews: If you see a landscaping crew working on a job where they are replacing or tinning plants ask them what they are doing with the old ones. They are probably just going to throw them away.
Community Garden: Many churches and communities now have a community garden. Sign up for a plot. You can get free advice from others and can usually even score some free seeds that they have left over.
Volunteer Plants: Keep your eyes open as you work in your garden, for plants making their way up on their own. Be careful not to damage them and transplant the seedling to the area you want them.
Save Seeds: This year save the seeds from your flowers and vegetables to use next year. Not all seeds will germinate so save more than you think you need, then you can share too. Heirloom seeds should be used for fruits and vegetables if you are planning to harvest your own for next year.
Cuttings: You can glean your own cuttings from woody stemmed type shrubs.
Divide plants: Flowers like lilies, dahlias, calla lilies, and begonias come from tubers that need to be divided regularly. Divide and create new beds or share.
Seeds: Growing plants from seeds can save you lots of money. Now is the time to purchase seeds and to begin growing them. Growing plants from seeds is fun for the kids and really rewarding for you. Many vegetables can be started indoors and planted outside when the danger of frost has passed. Be sure to start plants at different time so you will have produce all summer long.