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Dirt Cheap Gardening

Gardening is one of my hobbies. I think of it as not only being therapeutic but something that adds to the value of your property. Having a nice looking garden doesn’t have to break the bank either. Here are some ways I’ve found to stretch my gardening budget-

Free Advice

One way to waste money and kill plants is not knowing what you’re doing or what plants are right for your area. If I ever have a gardening question or weed I can’t identify I always stop by my local extension service for advice. It’s free, they also have brochures and sometimes classes you can take too.

Divide and Conquer

For the last few years I haven’t purchased any new plants. Instead I’ve been diving older ones that have outgrown their area. It’s a great way to extend your garden for free. My number one tip for doing this, don’t attempt it on a hot day, make sure you water the plant well once you replant it and check on it for about a week after it’s been transplanted and keep it watered.

Swap

Another way you can get free plants is to swap with other gardening enthuasists. They might have a plant you want and vice versa or even be willing to take a cutting from a well established plant.

End of Season

Patience is definitely a virtue when you’re a gardener. Not only when waiting for plants and trees to grow but if you can wait till the end of the growing season you can net lots of good buys. I’ve purchased at least 50% of my garden flowers and shrubs this way. Some have only cost a couple of dollars and the best plants in the yard.

Herbs

If you need to fill in a spot in the garden, quickly and cheaply my favorite pick are herbs. They grow fast…some too fast to watch out, they’re always green, inexpensive, no green thumb required. And yes, you can use them in cooking too.

Plants in Distress

Another way you can net a bargain or two is to look for plants in distress. Yes, it’s sad to think some garden centers and nurseries have staff who either don’t know anything about plants or can’t be bothered to look after them, but some plants get abused. I’ve seen some that just need some water and TLC and have asked if I could buy them at a discount. Most of the time the store is more than happy to let you have them. What they don’t know is after a good water and some sun, they look better than the ones still in the store.

Quick Landscape Trick

One of my favorite and inexpensive ways to spruce up the yard after the winter is to put down a new layer of mulch. Sometimes you can buy bags as cheap as $2. You’d be surprised just how good it makes the garden look. Sprinkle it over the old mulch and it goes a long way too.

Free Trees

Today is Arbor Day and check out this site. For just a $10 membership you can get ten free trees.

http://www.arborday.org/shopping/memberships/memberships.cfm?membership=trees

Catalogs to Check Out

And here are two of my favorite catalogs, good prices and lots of gardening info too-

http://www.burpee.com/

http://www.seedsofchange.com/

Check Out the Companies

And this site has lots of information and even a section on how gardening companies rate with other users-

http://davesgarden.com/

Plant Some Food

With food prices on the increase and rumored to stay that way, now’s a good time to plant not only a veggie garden but trees and shrubs that yield food, like apples, pears, blueberries and strawberries, check out http://www.gardeners.com/ for tips and supplies for growing veggies etc.

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