Gardening can be a simple way to beautify your yard, relieve stress and save money on your grocery bill, but like any hobby, you can get carried away buying necessary equipment.
Fun, frugal and environmentally friendly, these tricks can help you create a cost-effective garden:
1. Use a yardstick and permanent marker to mark inches and feet on the handle of your rake, shovel or hoe. The next time you plant, simply lay the marked handle along the row to create perfectly spaced holes for seeds.
2. Line the bottom of a clay pot with a coffee filter to keep soil from leaking out the bottom.
3. Use empty plastic water bottles or clear milk jugs to fill the bottom of large pots. They reduce the weight of the pot and require less soil to fill.
4. To test your seeds to see if they’re still viable for this planting season, place a wet paper towel inside a zip-top bag, drop in 3-4 seeds and wait a week to see if anything grows.
5. One way to help prevent weeds is lining your garden with a layer of newspaper. Just top two or three sheets of newsprint with a layer of pine needles, grass clippings or dried leaves for an eco-friendly and inexpensive weed barrier.
6. Keep gardening twine handy. Nail a funnel to your potting bench with the spout pointing downward, feed the twine through and your string will never go missing. For a more portable solution, place a ball of twine inside a canning jar, make a hole in the lid and feed the end of the twine through the hole. Now, you can take twine anywhere, tangle-free.
7. There is no need to buy expensive potting systems for starting seedlings. Place several cardboard toilet paper rolls inside a clean plastic clamshell, like those used for premade salads. Fill each cardboard tube with potting soil and plant. Once your seedlings grow too tall for the clamshell, simply tear off the top lid.