Saving you time, money and effort

 Photo credit: WVC 2014-11

Opuntia pad in 2 yogurt pots: Outer as water tank, inner with potting mix

Thinking About That Garden? Techniques to Save Time, Money and Effort

By Ron Rothroch


To garden inexpensively some tips include:

  1. Don’t start too early. The last day for frost in central New York is around Memorial Day so planting flowers and vegetables, except for early planting peas, you may lose plants by putting them out too soon, I know I have.
  2. Buy used .Consider buying used garden tools at garage sales; flee markets, craigslist or other places to keep costs down. Sometimes you can even find good resource gardening books.
  3. Buy seeds on sale. Seeds from catalogs can be a bit pricey plus shipping. Check clearance sections at local stores, seeds are still good from last year. Another thing to think about when ordering seeds are… if you are getting seeds from a warm climate, ie Florida or California; ask if they will they do well in New York? Ask where your seeds were grown before buying. Plants grown in a cool area of the US will grow much better in our area of New York.
  4. Free fertilizer. You can make you own fertilizer by making your own compost. You can make a compost bin; I have one made using cement blocks. You don’t have to build a bin you can just pile it up. No room? Just dig a trench in your garden and fill it with plants and table scraps (DO NOTput any meat products or diseased plants in this mix).
  5. Seedlings. If you think you want to start your own seedlings indoors start saving egg cartons, yogurt cups and small plastic containers, they make great seed-starter pots.
  6. Share. Become friends with other gardeners. Most gardeners enjoy sharing plants and seeds, plus shared advice is free and your knowledge will increase and your mistakes less. I recommend joining a garden club for all of these reasons.
  7. Container gardening. If you don’t have the room for a garden, consider growing in pots. You can grow vegetables in containers as well as strawberries and small blueberry bushes in containers. If you grow in large containers fill the pot half way with crumpled plastic bottles before adding the soil, you’ll save weight and soil.

Tip of the day: Use inexpensive popsicle sticks or old blind slats as plant or row markers.

Read the full article: Madison County Courier

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.