Warm weather means it is time to enjoy the outdoors.
There is no more comfortable and affordable place to experience nature than at home so get the yard and garden into shape.
Growing big, beautiful plants and flowers does not require a big budget.
Learn how to garden to make the neighbors jealous without spending a lot of money. They will think you spent a small fortune to achieve the beautiful results and the plants and flowers will never give up the secret!
Getting Free Advice
Before starting the garden, get some expert advice but do not pay for it. Garden Advice and other websites provide free gardening tips and experts at the Royal Horticultural Society are always willing to help. Local libraries offer free checkout of books, magazines, and instructional videos about gardening.
Employees at local garden centers and friends with green thumbs are always willing to dispense advice. Friends and neighbors can come in handy in additional ways, offering clippings and helping to tend to the garden as it grows.
Create a Plan
Gardening should not be a random process because organization and symmetry create the best results. Develop a master plan before digging into the earth, separating the garden into three areas. A paved section should run the full length of the garden and plants should be incorporate into the center and both sunny and shady areas.
A rectangular-shaped garden becomes more appealing to the eyes when angles and diagonals are incorporated. Multi-level gardens are also attractive and can be created inexpensively with old railway sleepers.
A gardening plan should focus on an affordable theme. Formal gardens feature sharply shaped or clipped plants and informal gardens contain herbs, flowers, and vegetables. Plants with leaves that are large and textured add density and depth. A light atmosphere is created by plants featuring leaves that are fine and delicate.
In terms of color, only a few hues are needed to create visual appeal and tie together the design. Colors are associated with mood so use white and blue to create a cool look, plant bright colors to heat up an area, and add pastel-colored plants to areas with low lighting.
A Low-Cost Growing Approach
The least expensive way to grow plants is to start them from seed. Aldi, Wilkinson, and Lidl offer inexpensive gardening supplies and often run specials on seed packets. Local recycling centres and online classified ads on Freecycle and Gumtree are sources for second-hand gardening tools. eBay is an excellent online source for inexpensive seeds of all varieties.
Sweet Williams, foxgloves, hollyhocks, and other biennial seeds are great choices for budget-conscious gardeners because they provide multiple years of growth.
Prices for plants vary greatly so shop around for the best deals. City garden centres tend to be the most expensive so check out nurseries out of town and visit supermarkets, car boot sales, and jumble sales. When traveling through rural areas, keep an eye out for residents selling plants outside their homes. Review mail order prices in newspapers but evaluate online suppliers critically because they are typically expensive.
When shopping for perennials, purchase smaller, less expensive versions. Once planted, the perennial will grow quickly. Instead, save money to spend on plants that will instantly create focal points in the garden. When shopping, look for reliable plants featuring the Award of Garden Merit symbol. Follow planting instructions carefully, adding each item to the appropriate area of the garden. Rhododendrons, pansies, and lily of the valley grow best in shady spots while catmint, coneflower, and alium thrive in the sun.
As mentioned above, if friends or neighbors are already growing plants that you want, ask them for cuttings. Pelargoniums, fuschia, marguerites, and other tender plants tend to grow easily from cuttings. Trade these for seeds remaining from packages or offer to split the cost of new seeds.
Increase the propagation of climbing plants and shrubs through a process called layering. This involves bending the shoot down to the ground and twisting the stem to wound it. Bury the twisted area in the soil and secure it with some u-shaped brackets created from a clothes hanger. When the shoot roots at the end of the season, it can be detached and planted elsewhere.
If the garden includes bulbs, remove the seed heads once the bulbs are spent, leaving foliage undisturbed. Feed and water throughout the season so they will produce additional flowers next year. Instead of purchasing compost to nourish these and other plants, visit the Recycle Now website to learn how to make it and where to find subsized, low-cost composting bins.
The best compost consists of equal portions of green material like grass cuttings and weeds and brown material like fallen leaves, twigs, and cardboard.
Many gardeners include several containers of plants and flowers to enhance visual appeal. Rather than purchasing expensive terracotta pots, they can buy cheap plastic versions and paint them. Paint consisting of water and natural yoghurt creates a weathered appearance. Buckets, watering cans, and wooden crates with drainage holes also make nice containers. Some gardeners even use old sinks and bathtubs to create a unique look.
Cut one or two-litre plastic bottles in half to make covers that protect the plants on frosty evenings and encourage small, tender plants to grow. Intact, these bottles make perfect watering cans for hanging baskets. Colanders are good pots for plants that need excessive drainage. A painted wheelbarrow filled with potted plants is attractive and forms a portable display.
Feeding and Managing Weeds the Economical Way
Plants, shrubs, and bushes require nourishment but commercial plant food is expensive. Make some by combining vinegar and water in a 1:8 ratio and mixing this with a separate mixture of sugar and water in a 1:8 ratio. Plants will soak up the nutrients, growing big and strong throughout the season.
However, no matter how healthy the garden, weeds will inevitably appear and gardeners can save money by making their weed killer. A full-strength spray of white distilled vinegar kills weeds and should be reapplied until the weed dies.