Greengirls Helen Yarmoska, Nicole Hvidsten, Martha Buns, Connie Nelson, Kim Palmer and Mary Jane Smetanka are dishin' the dirt from the back-yard garden and beyond. Whether you're a greenthumb or greenhorn, they're eager to learn from your mishaps, mistakes - and most importantly, your sweet successes - all growing season long.

The Cheap Gardener, Part II

Posted by: Mary Jane Smetanka under Books and resources Updated: April 30, 2012 - 10:09 AM

 

 

Last week I wrote about how I put spare change in a Garden Jar year-round so in the spring I can spend money on the garden guilt-free. (Or almost guilt-free.)
There are lots of other ways to save money in the garden. And it doesn't mean you have to cut corners.
One my favorite tips is to use old nylon hose to tie up tomatoes, clematis and even this unruly "Tiger Eyes" sumac. Nylons are strong, soft and stretchy and don't cut into tender branches like twine or other materials. While I usually cut nylons into small pieces for this kind of work, in the case of "Tiger Eyes" I am trying to make the plant grow more upright and pulled the nylon quite tight, leaving the hose leg uncut so the band around the branches is wide and won't damage the branches.
Usually my nylon ties are eventually hidden by foliage, so you don't have to look at this all summer.
For plant labels, I've bought fancy metal labels, wood and plastic. For me, none of them matches the durability and low cost of used mini-blinds. I cut them up into four- or five-inch lengths and write the plant name on the blinds with a magic marker. While the ink eventually fades, it disappears on fancier labels too.
As far as plants go, don't overlook neighborhood sales and plant swaps (the GreenGirls are having one on May 19 in the little park across from the Star Tribune). And don't be afraid to ask friends if they'd be willing to divide a plant for you in the spring. Gardeners tend to be generous with anyone who shares their passion for gardening.
What tips do you have to save money in the garden?

 

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