Dirt Cheap Gardening

dirt cheap gardening
Dirt Cheap Gardening

dirt-cheap-gardening
The saying used to be “Dirt Cheap” but anyone who gardens knows that Dirt Cheap isn’t so truthful these days. On a recent visit to the home and garden center of our local Home & Garden store I discovered, much to my dismay, that a bag of “dirt” was quite expensive! Here are a few of our favorite gardening tips to bring you back to the days when having your own garden truly was “Dirt Cheap”!
Free Fertilizer– Fertilizers can be quite expensive to purchase and are often laden with chemicals to “enhance” your garden or landscaping. What you may not realize is that you can often get free fertilizer from nearby farms. I recommend visiting craigslist.com and clicking on the farm and garden section in your area. Many families raise pigs, chickens, cows or turkeys are are more than willing to allow you to shovel all you want into your truck.

If you have a fisherman in your family, you can cut up fish and incorporate them into the soil. As a child I watched my grandfather and dad till an entire bucket of perch into my grandmothers flower gardens. That lady had the most beautiful flowers in town and she didn’t spend a dime on packaged fertilizers.

Cheap Weed Control– the easiest, cheapest and most effective weed control is Vinegar. Simply spray it on the offending plant full strength. This is very effective between paver stones and bricks as well.

Pest Control – Companion Planting is very effective for natural, chemical free, inexpensive pest control that works simply by planting certain plants together.See Companion Planting Chart
Here is a very long list of homemade pest control remedies for flowers, fruit trees, gardens and household use.

Seeds/Seedlings: Dollar stores often have seeds on sale for as little as .10 per packet. Start your seeds indoors in homemade biodegradable seedling pots. We recommend organizing a seedling swap with some friends, it makes a great spring party. Cardboard egg cartons make lovely seed starting pots as well.
If you have a green thumb, you can save the seeds from your purchased produce. Keep in mind that store bought produce if often from hybrid varieties and may be more difficult to cultivate.

Gardening Glove Secrets
– Here on the east Coast, Poison Ivy,oak and sumac are rampant and gardening gloves are a requirement. Here’s a tip to extend the life of your gloves. When you first get them, immediately turn them inside out. Line the fingertip of each glove with duct tape. Then turn them right side out. This will not only extend the life of your gloves, but will help prevent the urishol oils of poison ivy/oak from seeping into them and ending up all over your hands.

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About Liss 4190 Articles
Melissa Burnell, known to her friends and fans as "Liss," grew up in Southern Maine, now residing in sunny South Carolina. As a busy Wife, Mother of two sons, an avid photographer, and self-employed entrepreneur, Liss understands the value of both time and money.

7 Comments

  1. if you have old pantyhose, don’t throw them out. cut them into 1″ strips and use them to tie up tomato plants. They will stretch as your plants grow and won’t damage the stems. Also, at the end of the season I take these used strips and set them in a pile next to my birdbath …

    the birds pick them up in the spring and use then in thier nest-building efforts.

  2. i practice square foot gardening and grow organically. i found one of the best investments i have made is in raising a dozen chickens. i gather the eggs, and the manure from chickens can be added right into garden without composting.

    the chickens are great at pest control, and help keep the soil turned.

  3. we have gotten large quanities of chipped tree branches and leaves free from the tree trimmers that are working in our neighborhood. we let it sit from spring to spring in order for it to break down. leaves actually take 2 years to compost in our area but it makes wonderful mulch in the mean time.

    If I want faster compost I put some in black garbage bags and keep it damp with weekly turnings and will have compost in about 3 months.

  4. i wish i could do the “free fertilizer” trick. my husband and i are both disabled and not allowed to drive due to seizures (sheesh, who would have thought back when we were in our 30s this would happen?). So we can’t take fertilizer on a bus!

    Plus, it is in our lease we cannot compost (landlord wouldn’t care but apparently in the past there was some problem with smell, which means they weren’t doing it right!). We are really trying to figure out how to do this without killing ourselves or breaking our lease! (Sssh, he thinks our new dog is our old dog who was “grandfathered in” under our lease, lol).

    we’ve lived here almost nine years so we don’t want to move! in fact, when we became disabled, he moved us from the third floor to the first in the same building (he owns several) when the apartment became available. that’s why we can even garden, it’s the only apartment with “dirt” lol.

    if anyone can come up with cheap ways to get our expensive dirt suitable for growing, we’d appreciate it!

    • I wish I could do the “free fertilizer” trick. My husband and I are both disabled and not allowed to drive due to seizures (sheesh, who would have thought back when we were in our 30s this would happen?). So we can’t take fertilizer on a bus!

      Plus, it is in our lease we cannot compost (landlord wouldn’t care but apparently in the past there was some problem with smell, which means they weren’t doing it right!). We are really trying to figure out how to do this without killing ourselves or breaking our lease! (Sssh, he thinks our new dog is our old dog who was “grandfathered in” under our lease, lol).

      we’ve lived here almost nine years so we don’t want to move! in fact, when we became disabled, he moved us from the third floor to the first in the same building (he owns several) when the apartment became available. that’s why we can even garden, it’s the only apartment with “dirt” lol.

      if anyone can come up with cheap ways to get our expensive dirt suitable for growing, we’d appreciate it!

      i have found that saving and using the cooled water from boiling eggs for my husband and watering my fruits and veggies with that does wonders for them! i am sure if you like your eggs scrambled or fried that boiling the cracked shells and using that water would help also, just make sure the water is cooled before using. i hope this works for you as great as it does for us!

      • There are more ways to skin a cat than you can imagine!!! There are many plants that you can easily grow as natural soil improvers. you could grow peas or beans that do not require especially rich soil to trive and they naturally add nitrogen to the soil.

        when they are done growing, instead of just pulling them out dig them back into the soil and they will add organic matter and nitrogen. comfrey is another plant that can be grown and cut low when it gets tall and dig into the soil but be warned! do not dig up or pull comfrey or you will have a spreading nightmare on your hands.

        it only takes a small piece of the root for a new plant to grow, but comfrey adds a lot of organic matter and ( i think it’s calcium but i’m not sure anymore). look online for natural soil building plants and use them to slowly improve your soil. you can also compost in place.

        simply pick a spot that you don’t plan on using lay down the plant material you want to compost in a “sheet” instead of a pile and cover it with weed barrier fabric. noone will know you are composting. well good luck and happy gardening.hope my spelling was ok

  5. i use a wormbin in the kitchen for all of my veg/fruit garbage. they are easy to make from plastic totes and cost less than $10. for the supplies.

    Just add the cost of worms and go! There are plans all over the internet for them.
    Worm tea made from the castings is awesome for the soil!

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