Money-saving tips for gardeners

Find out how these gardening tips can save you lots of money and give you a greener yard!

Money-saving tips for gardeners

Make your own fertilizer

In mid-February, start to save banana peels and store them in a bag in the freezer. When it's time to plant tomatoes, dig a ditch five centimetres (two inches) deeper than required, lay the peels end to end and cover them with dirt. Then plant the tomatoes as usual. The tomato vines can reach 2.5 to 3 metres (eight to 10 feet), and the fruits are very sweet.

Attract bees with honey

Want more green peppers per penny? When green-pepper plants begin to blossom, put several drops of honey on each plant. This attracts bees, which pollinate the plants. Repeat this several times as the peppers blossom, and grow the biggest and best peppers in the neighbourhood.

Reuse everything

Nothing needs to be wasted in the garden. Spent and critter-damaged vegetables can go into the compost bin. In fall, run stalks, vines and foliage from disease-free plants through the chipper-shredder for mulch. After the holidays, lay branches from your Christmas tree over the garden. By late March, some of the needles will have already broken down into the soil.

Save old newspaper

Use leftover newspaper to make biodegradable planting cups for transplanting seedlings. Cut four thicknesses of newspaper into an 18 centimetre (seven inch) square, fold it in thirds, then turn and fold again to make a nine-square fold. Angle-fold each corner on one side and staple. Repeat on the opposite side. When seedlings are ready to transplant, plant the entire cup. This won't disturb the seedlings' roots, and the containers will break down on their own.

Make your own plant markers

Window-blind slats make great, inexpensive plant identification markers. Simply take an old set of blinds, remove the slats and snip them into 20 centimetre (eight inch) lengths, cutting one end to a point. With a permanent marker, label each plant type or variety. Stick the slat into the soil next to your flowers or vegetables, and you'll always know what you've planted.

Make a garden cart

A child's plastic sled works just as good as an expensive garden cart for transporting flats of plants, heavy bags of soil, pots and other items from the shed or garage out to the garden.

Keep deer away

You don't need commercial products to keep deer away. Just sprinkle your garden with a mixture of crushed garlic, garlic powder and dill pickle juice. Your neighbours might think you're cooking spaghetti, but the deer don't care for the scent.

Use twist ties

Use twist ties from garbage bags, not garden twine, to help train vines to grow up fences or trellises. Be sure to twist the ties loosely to allow plenty of room for the vines to grow.

Keep empty egg cartons

Recycled paper egg cartons work well for starting seeds. Cut the top off and place it under the egg compartments. Then fill the compartments with seed-starting mix and seeds. When watered, the paper carton holds moisture and adds support for handling. Break each section apart when transplanting. You can plant the biodegradable carton with the seedling to reduce transplanting shock.

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