Money- and Time-Saving Gardening Tips

Keeping a flower or vegetable garden can make a lot of demands on your time and your wallet. However, there are some things you can do to lighten the budget and free up your gardening schedule. Here are some money-saving gardening tips:

  • It might sound a little funny, but beer can be the downfall of thirsty slugs. They love beer so much that they can become trapped in deep saucers of it. Bury an empty margarine tub in the garden soil. The top rim should be level with the soil surface. Fill the tub with beer. Any kind will do, but the more aroma it has, the better. Leave it overnight, and the slugs will crawl in and drown. Empty the tub every day or two and refill with beer until the tub makes it through the night empty.

    You can save money by reusing labels when growing plants from seeds or cuttings.
    You can save money by reusing labels when growing plants
    from seeds or cuttings. See more pictures of garden ideas.

  • If you grow a lot of plants from seeds and cuttings, you go through a lot of labels. You can buy plastic labels in bulk from greenhouse supply places and some mail-order seed companies. You can also create your own by cutting plastic milk jugs or yogurt cups into strips. But one of the best ways to get labels is to clean up the old ones. A quick scrub with steel wool and soapy water will rub writing or even commercial printing off any plastic label in a jiffy.

  • Removing an unsightly old tree stump from your yard can be expensive. An alternative is to make it into a planter. In nature, old stumps slowly begin to decay and provide fertile places for ferns and other interesting small plants to grow. You could plant flora native to your area or fill the opening with brightly colored annual flowers and vines.

    Follow nature's lead, and you will get several benefits: You won't have to pay to have the stump ground out; you can grow plants that need good drainage or special soil mixes right in the trunk; and you can create an interesting, sculpturelike structure.

    Chip some wood out of the top of the stump to create rooting space. Fill with a soil mix that's appropriate for the plants you intend to grow.

    After planting, water as necessary to keep the soil moist. If the stump is too solid to chip away, you can use it as a pedestal for a container filled with trailing or flowering plants.

  • Keep a piece of the holidays year-round by planting your live Christmas tree outside. Prepare the hole well before the ground freezes. Amend the loose soil as you dig so it will be ready for planting, and store the soil where it will not freeze. Choose a tree with a tight, solid root ball, and wrap the ball in plastic to keep it moist while it is in the house. Keep it indoors in a cool room for no more than a week. Plant the tree as soon as possible, then water it well and mulch it.

On the next page, learn about time-saving tips that keep your garden from taking over your schedule.

Want more gardening tips? Try visiting these links:

  • Gardening Tips: Learn great helpful hints for all of your gardening needs.
  • Annuals: Plant these beauties in your garden.
  • Perennials: Choose great plants that will return year after year.
  • Gardening: Discover how to garden.

Time-Saving Gardening Tips

These time-saving tips can help you keep your gardening time commitment to a manageable level:

  • You can improve your soil inexpensively by composting. Compost is the single best soil booster. However, creating and nurturing your own compost pile can be time consuming. If you don't want to start your own compost pile, you probably can get it from your city or town hall service department. Made from leaves and grass clippings, the compost may be free or at least reasonably priced for local residents.

  • When looking for low-maintenance annuals, choose plants that do not require deadheading or very much irrigation. Some annuals drop their flowers naturally, whereas others put energy into seed production. Those seed capsules must be removed for continual bloom. Ageratum, alyssum, begonia, dusty miller, impatiens, and vinca are self-cleaning annuals; ageratum, marigold, ornamental peppers, portulaca, melampodium, and vinca are among the most drought-tolerant species. Prepare your soil well, using lots of compost, to increase the intervals between waterings and save on maintenance time.

    Drought-tolerant marigolds don't require much irrigation, saving you maintenance time.
    Drought-tolerant marigolds don't require much
    irrigation, saving you maintenance time.

  • Save time next spring by preparing your garden before winter hits. When this year's plants have died from frost, cut them to the ground and, to prevent this year's pests from overwintering, remove all debris from the area. Have your soil tested now. Add lime if necessary, but wait until spring to fertilize. Cultivate organic matter into the soil and apply a fresh layer of mulch to prevent winter weeds from germinating. Your bed should be ready for spring planting.

  • When looking for perennials that are easy to grow from seed, first ask yourself whether you want to sow the seeds indoors or out. You probably would like to grow perennials that will bloom in summer from an indoor planting in winter or at least bloom the following year. Seed size is often an indication of easiness to grow, because a large seed is easier to handle and has more food stored for the emerging plant. Some of the quickest and easiest perennials to sow are rudbeckia, columbine, butterfly weed, purple coneflower, chives, coreopsis, Shasta daisies, foxglove, yarrow, hollyhock, and sage. Daylilies, hosta, and iris also grow easily from seed but take a few years to reach flowering size.

Want more gardening tips? Try visiting these links:

  • Gardening Tips: Learn great helpful hints for all of your gardening needs.
  • Annuals: Plant these beauties in your garden.
  • Perennials: Choose great plants that will return year after year.
  • Gardening: Discover how to garden.