Marveling at your garden may be a feast for the eyes, but it can become a time-consuming and money-eating activity. Depending on what you want in your garden and how you landscape, it can turn into a burden on the wallet pretty quickly. Of course, there are still some chores that you can’t escape, like mowing and pruning, but they are occasional anyway. Gardens don’t have to devour your time and money. There are things you can do that hardly cost anything but will still make your outdoors look great. If you are looking for perfect solutions, here are 15 budget-friendly and time-saving gardening tips that will give you the garden you want.
Some plants are impossible to grow from seeds or will take forever, so you have to use cuttings. The majority of shrubs and vines can propagate in this way and you can do the same with all perennials. So, create a list of what you want in your garden and see if you can take cuttings from friends, family, and neighbors. All you need is a pencil-sized stick that you have to place in moist perlite and wait for the roots to grow in order to plant it. It will usually take a few weeks for this to happen during which some leaves may also show up.
Grow from seeds
Seeds are way cheaper than seedlings. You will pay less for the pack of seeds and gain more potential seedlings than you would, by buying already grown ones from the nursery garden. For some seeds you will have to start indoors and then move the young plants outside when the time is right. Others can grow directly in the ground. You will save a lot of money this way and spend the same amount of time you would have with the bought seedlings. There is also a way to save more money, with a seed swap. Just remember to harvest seeds from your garden in the fall and trade with other gardening enthusiasts.
Opt for DIY planters
New planters cost money and so do arbors, pavers, and other materials you want to use for your garden. But you don’t have to buy new ones at all – just be creative with what is already available. Visit yard sales and flea markets for items that can serve as potential planters like a sink, bathtub or pots, and pans. Most of these will require some additional work but you will have great DIY projects on your hands as a hobby. Even old bed-springs can serve as planters if you let your imagination run free. It will be a great space to grow some veggies high enough to tend to them easily and comfortably.
Turn to organic farming
Opting to use natural methods in your garden will save your budget and time needed for shopping and transport. Not to mention that besides being costly, chemical pesticides, insecticides, and fertilizers are toxic to the environment. You will have to manually remove weeds but with some homemade products, you will keep them under control most of the time without harming your plants. These organic products include things you already have in your kitchen like vinegar, dish soap, lemon juice, and mint, for example. Also, invite birds into your garden to take care of damaging insects like caterpillars by building them houses and providing water.
Make your compost
You can make your own compost from food scraps like a banana peel and dead leaves that you find in the garden. More importantly, you will control what goes in the fertilizer and avoid some toxic ingredients used by manufacturers. Grass clippings, coffee grounds, and eggshells are also some materials to make your compost more nutritional. However, don’t add dairy and animal waste since that will most likely attract rodents and pests. Some towns and regions produce compost from citizen’s green waste which you can buy really cheap or even pick up for free. So keep an eye on that as well.
Pay attention to seasons
Every plant has the most ideal time of year when it grows and thrives bringing you lots of fresh produce and flowers. But if you grow plants outside of this favorable time frame, they will take too long to mature which will have you investing more time and money. So, to avoid this, pay attention to growing seasons as well as the type of plants you are planning to grow. Even among certain plant groups, some varieties grow sooner and are easier to maintain. If there is anything you can do to make your gardening simpler and preserve the quality – do it.
Rely on mulch
Mulch is important for a healthy and lush garden. It is a budget-friendly and time-saving method that reduces the need for weeding, fertilizing, and watering of the plants. It also provides nourishment, keeping your garden in good shape the whole year. This is a valuable addition to your gardening since mulch conserves moisture and insulates the soil. Moreover, the spread layer of mulch will break down over time leaving nutrients behind and reducing the need for amendments. Stop by the tree-cutting companies and ask them to give you some of their mulch since they usually have piles of it and will gladly get rid of it.
Water with tea and coffee
Throwing leftover coffee and tea down the drain is a real shame. Both of these beverages are rich in nitrogen which plants love and will help them grow. Also, these leftovers have a low amount of phosphorous which is commonly found in fertilizers along with nitrogen and potassium. However, don’t use coffee and tea that has milk and sweeteners in them as those are not beneficial for plants.
Plant a row of marigolds
Marigolds are vibrant and fragrant flowers that can make your garden cheerful. But besides the aesthetics, they are also pretty good at chasing away harmful insects. Moreover, these flowers have very strong roots that prevent nematodes to spread. So we can say that, Marigolds also serve as soil purifiers. Although you have to seed a new batch every year, some of them may regrow because of self-seeding. The plus side of Marigolds is that they are edible with a mild citrus taste that is excellent for cakes and salads.
Go for bigger plants
Those who don’t have time to grow plants from seeds may be better off with buying the biggest seedling there is. Mature plants need less time to grow and won’t die easily. You can enjoy apples the very same year you bought the tree if you decide upon a dwarf version. Shrubs and bushes are also better if bought already matured since they need a lot of time to reach their true form. Unfortunately, this will limit the type of plants you can have in your garden since many don’t react well to being replanted.
Get the basic tools
Start with basic garden equipment like spading fork, hose, shears, shovel, gloves and hose. This way you will stop yourself from buying tools you don’t need even though they look cool. Also, don’t forget to wear a hat and apply a sunscreen. When it comes to lawnmower (which can be pricey), see if a neighbor is interested in buying one together and sharing it. Or you can hire someone to mow your lawn which is cheaper than buying one yourself and will save you time.
Be wise with trees and shrubs
There is a way to never have to trim a tree or prune a shrub – choose the ones that don’t need it. There are many varieties of trees that don’t grow too tall and wide, so you hardly need to cut any branches like the Japanese cherry tree and avocado. Starlet Forsythia and Panicle Hydrangea are examples of shrubs that don’t need pruning and still look gorgeous with all the blooms and colors.
Cover your plants
When considering protection for your plants, look for other solutions besides chemical ones. The light cover will stir away pests that tend to reproduce quickly and turn into a catastrophe. If rains and hail are common in your area consider using a protective net over plants. This will keep them safe and unharmed. Screening and fencing methods like willow hurdles and hedges also help with the wind.
Welcome natural pollinators
Growing wildflowers will make your garden beautiful but also attract natural pollinators. Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds are some of the most important players in having a great garden. They are vital for genetic diversity and plant reproduction. Bats eat insects and pollinate plants at the same time, while hoverflies larvae feed on aphids and other pests. Besides wildflowers, natural pollinators love pears, apples, strawberries, carrots, and many other fruits and vegetables that are common in gardens. So you wouldn’t have to spend money on special plants and will also get natural insecticides.
Prevent diseases with spices
Spices are pretty useful in the garden as they are in the kitchen. Cinnamon, clove, and turmeric are perfect anti-fungal remedies that will keep your seedlings healthy. For example, sprinkling cinnamon on the soil before planting or irrigating your plants with spicy water once a week is great for them. Usual chemical products may cause damage to plants and can pose a health risk if ingested. But with spices, you will keep your plants disease-free and won’t spend money on expensive products.
In the end
Before you start using these budget-friendly and time-saving gardening tips, think about what kind of plants you want to grow. This will determine how much time and money you need to spend on gardening. From then on, you can cut down your expenses more easily and adapt to the new methods that will keep both you and your garden healthy and thriving.
About the Author
Sarah Jessica Smith is a young blogger from Sydney. She is in love with life and all the things that can make her daily routine easier. She loves to write about home improvement, lifestyle, and all the small things that make life such a great adventure.