10 secrets to gardening on a tight budget

Use these helpful tips to save money while caring for your garden this year!

10 secrets to gardening on a tight budget

1. Go nuts!

Place packing peanuts in the bottoms of pots to provide effective drainage (water, not soil, passes through the peanuts). The pots also are easier to move because they weigh less than if they were filled completely with soil. Be sure to allow room for enough soil for plants' root systems to fully develop.

2. Use paper bags to hold onto warmth

Protect vulnerable plants from frost by putting paper bags over them, which traps warmer air and insulates the plant. Place soil or rocks over the edge of the bag to hold it in place. Be sure to remove the bags in the morning to allow the plant to receive warm sunlight and hasten evaporation of any accumulated moisture.

3. Use old utensils as gardening tools

Old utensils are practical for cultivating and repotting. They're tough enough to handle abuse, and sharp enough to do the job without causing damage. Use forks to create rows in flats (use like a weed rake), lift seedlings and tease apart dense rootballs. Knives are great for separating flats, ejecting root-bound plants from their pots (run the knife around the interior to dislodge) and dividing smaller perennials. Spoons easily lift small seedlings from a flat when transplanting.

4. Use recyclable products

Randomly found objects — such as recycled cans, worn boots, old watering cans, vintage teapots and discarded sinks — make great planters for herbs, flowers and houseplants because they contribute a touch of whimsy to a garden scene. If there's no way to make a drainage hole, just nest a plastic pot within the object.

5. Make use of old hosiery

Use old hosiery to tie up floppy plants and anchor vines; they're soft and flexible and won't damage plants, even as they grow. Just cut or tear into slender lengths, and tie with a figure-eight knot (one loop around support, one around stem or branch). If you can, hide it from view behind foliage.

6. Keep animals away with household products

Hang disposable aluminum pie tins from tree branches, trellises or fences to scare away pests. The noise and reflected light should do the trick. Use several at different heights, and move them around to keep pests guessing.

7. Use coffee grounds as fertilizer

Sprinkle coffee grounds at the base of certain plants. Adding this organic matter to the soil helps improve drainage in clay and water-holding capacity in sandy soils. Use it on any plant, especially those that like rich, moist organic soil, like azaleas and blueberries.

8. Hang soap on trees

To keep deer away, break bars of soap into several pieces and hang them from your trees with string, old nylons or net bags. It's believed that the strong scent of deodorant in the soaps may deter deer and other backyard pests. If deer devour your flowers, slice or grate up soap and sprinkle the shavings around the plants.

9. Reuse old newspaper

Use layers of newspaper to snuff out grass and prevent weed germination in new garden beds. Thicker layers are most effective for grass; up to 30 sheets will do. Dampen the paper after it's in place, and anchor the corners with rocks so the pile won't shift or blow away. Lay several centimetres of mulch (compost, straw, shredded leaves or bark chips) on top for extra insurance — it looks better, too!

10. Reuse tin cans

Tin cans make effective collars that thwart destructive cutworms. Remove the top and bottom of a can, press into the soil, then plant seed(s) or seedling(s) within. As extra insurance, sprinkle cornmeal just outside; cutworms will eat it, but cannot digest it.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu