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Thursday, March 23, 2017

My Frugal Garden

Posted by Tim Stobbs on May 21, 2008

I like gardening.  Some days I’m not sure why.  After all my current yard when I bought this house was in a complete mess.  The weeds in the bed by the driveway were as tall as my oldest boy.  Sad but true.  Now two years later I’m making progress on mess, but it will take time to clean up.  Perhaps the thing that makes me the most happy about my yard is most of the work has been just labour rather than money to clean it up.

You see we’ve lucked out that under the weeds there were lots of perennials and several different bushes and trees in the yard.  Then we’ve managed to get our hands a several free perennials from my family.  Some from in town due to a patio renovation and another load from the family cabin.  My wife passed on flowers for mother’s day and instead took a load of annuals this last weekend instead.  I like her logic, why have flowers which last only a week or two in vase when for the same price she can have flowers all summer long?

We also took advantage of the City of Regina’s Tinsel Mulch program to get a pickup truck of of mulch for a $5 donation to charity to provide some ground cover to keep the weeds down.  Then some use of cornmeal, which I keep in the house anyways, has nicely reduced the ant population in my yard to a reasonable level.

The vegetable patch is now been planted which cost use one pack of seeds this year which cost us $2.  We still have lots of seeds leftover from last year so this year’s garden is going to be mostly free other than the water and a little bit of fertilizer to assist in getting the plants growing.  In future years I want to start using our own compost to provide the extra boost to our garden rather than commercial fertilizer.

My latest frugal project is to get my hands on some used patio stones to replace my aging deck.  I currently have a lead from a co-worker I need to follow up on where I might be able to get patios stones for free or damn cheap.

Overall it is possible to have a nice yard for dirt cheap.  The trick is to do it slowly and reuse or recycle as many things from your local supports as possible.  The major part of this is to always discuss your gardening plans with your friends.  You might be surprised what people have sitting in the yard that they want someone to take away for free or nearly free.

Comments

4 Responses to “My Frugal Garden”
  1. Sarlock says:

    I love to garden. It has taken me 4 years to bring the soil in my vegetable garden up to a level that produces a really good crop.

    All winter long, all of my kitchen compost gets thrown in to the snow sitting on the vegetable garden, then with the spring thaw (I live in Edmonton, we “enjoy” the same long winter climate), I go out with a shovel, chop it up and turn it in to the soil for the summer’s crop a few weeks later. Works like a charm!

    I have some grow lights set up in the house to start my seedlings for later transplantation. My tomatoes are about 3 inches high now; I was originally planning to put them out this weekend, but the cold and wet weather is making me think twice. Perhaps the weekend after!

    I find gardening is a great way to save money and is also a wonderful hobby. My daughter is also starting to reach the age where she enjoys planting things, so it’s great quality time, too. Total cost: 4 grow lights = $20 + $20 in seeds. (Plus a bit of water-no fertilizer needed anymore!)

  2. telly says:

    We’ve got a composter that is full and thus we’re no longer composting. :( The compost dirt is good to go but with a tiny yard and and low maintenance stone bed, we don’t have a lot of use for the soil (although we’re planning to use some to cover bare patches of grass, we just haven’t gotten around to it).

    Too bad we’re at nearly opposite ends of the country as free compost could have brought your low costs down even more. :)

  3. Sarlock says:

    Adding a half inch of rich compost to the top of your whole lawn in spring (like right now) is a great way to re-invigorate an older lawn. I did it a couple of years ago and it did wonders for it. It requires less fertilizer and water as a result. Let the lawn grow to about an inch or so long, then spread a half inch of compost over the whole thing and rake it in. In about 3-4 weeks, you’ll barely even see the soil and the grass will be happy and green.

  4. Telly says:

    Thanks so much Sarlock! We were thinking about doing this (our lawn is many, many decades old I’m guessing) so it’s good to hear from someone who has and had good results. We don’t much use the yard so a soil covered lawn (at least the back) shouldn’t be an issue.

    Thanks again!

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