budget talk

The Budget Smart Girl’s Guide to Gardening

Looks like spring has finally sprung and our thoughts turn to the yard and garden. The cost of getting and keeping a beautiful yard can be pricey, so this and next week’s Budget Smart Girl’s Guide is devoted to, excuse the pun here, dirt cheap gardening.

A Garden on the Cheap
This week I’d like to welcome a guest expert. Lance Walheim, gardening expert and writer at www.bayeradvanced.com. Walheim offers the following eight tips on how to have a great garden for $50 or less.
1. Consider a standout area of your yard to make the flower garden.
Placement is key. It’s easy to end up with flowerbeds in tucked away corners that feel like distant yard borders or aren’t visible to guests or passers-by. Design a bed rectangular shaped or circle shaped to be destined as a standout in the front yard.
2. Sketch your garden on paper long before you dig. When you see it set out on paper you can avoid pitfalls and make the final shape much more professional. When you do decide to dig, mark the area with colorful yarn and stake the yarn in the ground with vegetable plant stakes. It makes digging feel like coloring by numbers.
3. Plan a garden that will bloom through the early season and into the next – and the next. Daisies and buttercups bloom in spring, while daylilies like summer and zinnias enjoy late summer and mums do well in autumn.
4. Don’t overreach in the plants you want. A Japanese maple, Bradford pear or standout palmetto are each very beautiful, but they aren’t vital in designing a lovely bed, where blooms get the attention. That one nugget of knowledge can save you hundreds of dollars.
5. Go for greenery to balance the bloomers. A sea of tulips is pretty, but not practical. Monkey grass, ferns and other yard greenery that grows in your climate zone work well.
6. Select flowers that are native to your area or that grow well in your area. Planting exotics in an area that can’t handle the weather is like flushing away money.
7. Timing for buying and planting is important. Ask your local nursery, garden center or county extension agent what time is best to put out certain flowering plants in your climate zone. Most will have to wait to be planted until after any chance of late season frost expires. Dead plants equal money lost.
8. Make sure to care for the plants you purchase. Most flowers demand to be placed in full sun, but check to make sure before buying. And, make sure the greenery you choose can stand up to the same rigors. Water as often as the flowers’ plastic information sticks tell you. And, care for the flowers, with flower care products such as Bayer Advanced All-in-One Rose & Flower Care, which contains an insecticide, fertilizer and fungicide. There’s no spraying — just mix and pour around the base of the plant — and enjoy your pest-free flowers for six weeks.

They’re Free…well, almost
I’ve never ordered any plants from this site, but it’s worth checking out- www.freetreesandplants.com. The plants are free, but they do charge a shipping and processing charge of $7.95 per unit. The plants do come with a guarantee and refund should you not be happy with them.

Learn About Flowers and Plants
If you don’t have a green thumb, check out these two sites www.learn2grow.com and www.burpee.com.

Go Organic
I hate spraying toxic chemicals and other nasty stuff on the lawn and flowers, but I’ve found this site that sells natural products www.planetnatural.com.

Keep The Critters Away
If you’ve ever had deer and rabbit nibble away at your prize flowers or something you’ve just planted, despair no more. A few years ago I found a great product called Liquid Fence www.liquidfence.com, and it’s been a lifesaver… and not to mention a money saver too. I’ll warn you that it stinks, so don’t spray it on a windy day, or when the windows are wide open. That’s the downside, the plus side; it definitely works and keeps all the critters away from your favorite blo

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