Planning and preparation are key to saving money in the garden. Why? Many of the tasks required to make a garden grow can be done weeks or months before you even start planting. You will have an advantage over nature, which will try to destroy your garden as best it can, and you will be able to save some serious money.
These nine skills will allow you to plan, plant and enjoy a healthy garden while saving money.
- Analyze of the Soil
Although you are not expected to be an expert in soil pH, it is a good idea to test the soil before you plant your garden. Either use a DIY soil test or purchase a soil kit from an online retailer. You can test your soil pH to determine if it is acidic, neutral or alkaline.
What type of soil are you using in your garden? Knowing which type of soil you have can help you plan your garden and avoid soil compatibility issues. It can also save you money and time by knowing if your soil is suitable for the plants you plan to sow. The soil type will affect the success of your plants in any given area.
You can always modify soil by adding or removing elements. You can take out too much sand from the soil to make it more suitable for your needs. Then, add silt or clay to the soil to increase water retention and infuse nutrients.
- Composting (or Worm Binning).
You can recycle yard waste, grass clippings and other food items and make compost useful for your garden. Although you can purchase commercially made compost, you might be able to make your own if you have the time and space.
Although composting can smell a little, there are ways to reduce the smell.
It is easy to start composting, and you will have a lot of good soil for your garden. Start your compost bin/pile early in the autumn to prepare for spring planting.
- Sun Exposure Charting
When planning your garden, another important consideration is how much sunlight each area receives daily. My neighbours are recent transplants from Southern California. They planted several shade-loving plants in their front yard. We live in a mossy and rainy area, so they assumed that those plants would thrive. Their front yard gets six hours of direct sun per day during summer. This is something they didn’t realize.
To determine the amount of sun your garden gets, you can either use DIY Sun Exposure Charts or purchase a sun meter for as low as $20 and let it do all the work. You can now plan your plants once your garden’s sun exposure is mapped.
- Seed Germination
Saving money is possible by buying seeds. Seed starts are generally cheaper than buying seedlings or grown plants. However, this all depends on how big your garden is. If it’s small, purchasing grown plants may make more sense. You can also buy seeds to find rare or heirloom varieties and fruits and vegetables that aren’t available in the nursery.
Some plants can be directly sown in your garden soil. Others need to germinate inside and be transplanted after the last frost. To ensure you understand how to plant each type of seed, carefully read the instructions.
- Planter Building
You might consider building raised gardens in your garden. You can always purchase raised garden beds. But, I promise, it’s much more affordable.
- Diligent Pest Control
I am comfortable using chemical sprays and insecticides in my garden. I have never had success with copper tape or traps. Pest control can be a cost-saving investment, regardless of your preference for organic and earth-friendly methods or death to bugs-type methods. Pest control is a smart investment in time and money.
Natural pest control methods are preferred by vegetable gardeners who love to plant flowers such as sweet alyssum, calendula, nasturtiums and calendula in their vegetable gardens. These plants attract pest bugs, such as aphids and tomato hornworms. Ladybugs can be purchased in large quantities online or at garden centres.
You have probably heard of the dramatic decline in bee populations. You will need to attract pollinators such as moths and bees to your garden if you want trees and shrubs to bear fruit. Planting bee-attracting wildflowers in your yard can help attract these beneficial insects.
Using an electric toothbrush to brush the blossoms, you can try this trick to increase the number of pollinating insects you see in your tomatoes. A paltry tomato crop is the most frustrating thing for gardeners.
- Tools Maintenance and Care
Garden tools don’t need to be expensive. However, it would be best to take care of your garden tools to ensure they last a lifetime. I am a lazy gardener and can attest that buying a new shovel every few months is expensive.
Keep your garden tools in top shape by cleaning them, drying them and oiling what you need. You will have a long life with clean and well-stored tools.
- Intelligent Pruning and Harvesting
Knowing how to care for perennials properly is an important part of being a good gardener. Pruning doesn’t mean keeping plants at a manageable size. It’s about learning how to remove unnecessary matter so that the plant can focus its energy on what is most important to you, whether it’s flowers, fruit, or perfect leaves.
You will need to know how to trim your vegetables and harvest fruits to allow the plants to grow. Pruning mint, for example, can encourage more plant growth.