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The Budget Smart Girl’s Guide to More Dirt Cheap Gardening

While it doesn’t feel like gardening weather where I live, hopefully, in a few weeks or so everyone will be heading outside to tackle this year’s outdoor projects. Here are some more tips for getting a beautiful garden without breaking the bank.

Start with Seeds
One great way to get beautiful blooms at bargain prices is to start them from seed. One trick I was told to successful seed growing is bottom heat. And a good spot is the top of your refrigerator. Make sure you keep them watered too, especially when you first plant them. Sometimes I’ve forgotten to water them for a day or two and the seeds didn’t germinate.
If you like to plant window boxes and hanging baskets with annuals, going the seed route makes a lot more sense. I love to see all the colors and blooms, but I hate the idea of paying a couple of hundred dollars just for three or four month’s viewing, and which in my opinion isn’t that budget smart.
And I found this site… yes, it’s actually called cheap seeds. They offer free shipping on all their products, and check out their free gardening advice section. The thing I like about this one is you can post your very own questions and not have to scan through a bunch of already posted topics. www.cheapseeds.com.

Nature as a Budget Buddy
One way you can double the amount of plants you have…and not to mention let the plants do all the work for you, is to pick plants that self-seed. A couple of years ago I planted some hollyhocks and now have so many of them, they’re ready to be transferred into another area of the garden. One word of warning through, pick a plant you’ll enjoy seeing more of…you don’t want to see your garden full of plants you hate.

Divide, Conquer and Exchange
Another way to stretch your gardening budget is to divide plants you already have in the yard. This year I’m going to start dividing the hostas and stonecrop and create a whole new garden area for free. And another idea is to get together with some gardening buddies and exchange plants that you’re thinking about dividing or even eliminating.

Free Gardening Advice
One of the quickest ways to lose money in the garden is through lack of gardening know-how. If you don’t know what to plant where and when, you end up with plants and yes, trees and sod, that just die on you. One resource I always fall back on is my local extension service. One year I had strange looking plants invade the flowerbeds and took a clump of them to the extension service. They couldn’t figure out what they were but sent a photo of the flower to universities in the area and finally came up with an answer. And they even told me the best way to get rid of them. Best of all it’s entirely free. Some will even have a master gardener who can stop by your yard to check out problem lawns and trees for you.

Drought Tolerant Plants
In the area where I live we have a permanent watering ban now in place. That’s got me thinking that I really need to switch the way I garden. Maybe plant more ground cover and less sod, which equals less watering. And I’m even thinking of selecting only plants that are labeled drought tolerant.

Keep Those Receipts
And remember one rule of being a Budget Smart Girl is to keep your receipts whenever you buy something. And when it comes to plants it’s a must. Most gardening stores, including places like Home Depot, will guarantee their plants for at least a year, if you keep the receipt. I photocopy the tag on the plant and staple the receipt to it so I know what goes with what, should they start to wilt or die within that time frame.

A Great Site
And here’s a site I recently stumbled upon and thought I’d share it with you. Even if you’re not in the mood for buying gardening supplies, it’s a fun site to take a ‘stroll’ through www.gardeners.com.

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