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Gardening on a Budget

May 9, 2011

The plants are planted, the seeds are in the soil, and now it’s time to wait to see what will and won’t survive. I felt a sense of urgency this year because I knew if I didn’t plant now, I felt I might be too big to bend, dig and plant vegetables. So I opted to do it a little earlier this year and had to spend a lot of time keeping the plants covered since we’ve had late snowfalls this spring. Now that spring has finally decided to come around in our part of the world, I just wanted to get out and plant.

This year, like years past I’ve had to really stick to a budget. In addition to the two planters in the picture, I also have two other planters on the side yard as well as a planter off on the side yard. We have spaghetti squash, cooking pumpkins and jack o’ lanterns planted in our side yard “pumpkin patch.”

(Please forgive the weeds and grass growing around the rock edges. Grrr!! All the rain has made weed control next to impossible!)

TIP #1:

The side yard planter used to hold some nasty bushes that attracted lot’s of bumblebees, wasps, and provided a wonderful snack for the dogs. I’m not sure what it was, but we ended up pulling it out. Then my husband and I argued over exactly what to put in it. Flowers? A tree? I finally got tired of him not deciding so it turned into our corn patch last year. This year the kids and I decided to turn it into our pumpkin patch. So Tip #1: if it’s not being used, it could be a great addition to your garden. Empty dirt patches, place where grass refuses to grow along your fence line, etc are all great places to throw a planter box.

TIP #2:

Last year in my laziness I failed to lay out my squares in my planter boxes. I went with my “eye balling” method which proved to be disasterous. This year, I actually know what is growing where by doing a “budget” square foot garden. We used curling ribbon tied to nails since that was all I had on hand to divide the rows. Then I laid out my plans from there. We decided on bell peppers, tomatoes, peas, potatoes, carrots, corn, green beans, onion, watermelon, lettuce and more. Kid friendly vegetables. And some strawberries to satisfy my sweet tooth. I received planter box material from leftover home projects we did, as well as a few neighbors who were getting rid of lumber. All of my lumber may not match, but at least it was free!

TIP #3

By shopping the sale ads I was able to get new garden soil for really inexpensively. Organic seed packets were also $1 or less. We also took advantage of IFA’s sale ads that were offering free tomato and strawberry plants. The total for the entire garden including new soil for the planter boxes and seed, plant starters and garden covers? $60. Not too bad for a garden. Do you have any budget gardening tips you’d like to share? Post a comment. I’m a novice gardener and can use all the help I can get!

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