You don’t need a great outlay to have a great garden. There are a number of things you can do, from recycling materials to propogating plants from your friends’ gardens. Here are a few frugal tips to get you started.
1. Grow only what you love or what you need. In my own experience I prefer not to waste water on growing a lawn. I’d rather use it on fruits, vegetables, herbs and perennials.
2. It’s pointless planting something just because you know it’s easy to grow, or leaving something you don't particularly like in your garden because it was already there when you bought the house (If you’re renting you don’t have a lot of choice but you can plant in pots.)
3. Having said that, you can still have a beautiful flourishing garden with very little outlay. It’s ok to accept plants or cuttings that are offered, but be selective. Choose them as carefully as you would choose furnishings or ornaments for inside your home. Do you have a favourite kind of flower or even a favourite colour scheme? Let people know about it.
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4. Draw up a plan of how you want your garden to look, and consider which areas are best for which plant e.g. if something requires full sun; make sure it’s in the sunniest part of the garden. In the right conditions your plants should stay healthy.
5. Keep an eye out for give-away soil that would be suitable for landscaping. Use your imagination when it comes to edging. You may find give-away bricks, rocks or pavers that you could include in your design.
6. Know how much water to use. Gardens need 30ml (one inch) of water each week. The best way to gauge this is to Put a container under your sprinkler and see how long it takes for the container to collect 30ml of water.
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7. Cut the bottom off plastic two-litre bottles and bury them neck down around your trees. Fill them and let the water trickle down through the roots. This saves wasted water through run-off or evaporation.
8. You can make a cheap and effective weedkiller by mixing a quarter cup of salt and a generous squirt of dish-washing liquid in a one litre trigger bottle and top up with water.
9. To deter snails and slugs shred some newspaper and spread it around the base of your plants, dampen it and sprinkle with bi-carb soda. The newspaper will attract them and the carb soda will poison them.
10. A sugar substitute is a great way to get rid of ants. They are attracted to the sweetness but it is actually poisonous to them.
11. While cow and chicken poop make great fertiliser, an even better alternative is the mixture of straw and associated muck you get from rabbit cages, so if you know anyone with pet rabbits, offer to rake out their cage in exchange for the free mulch.
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12. It’s easy and cheap to start a vegetable plot. You can grow potatoes, garlic, celery, carrots onions and romaine lettuce from kitchen scraps. Cut off the base and sit it in a bowl of water for a few days. After that time, remove it from the water and plant it in your vegetable plot. You can also save the seeds from tomatoes, green peppers, chilli and pumpkin.