Gardening on a budget

There’s no need to let a lack of dollars cramp your gardening style.

Gardening is great fun, keeps you active, and the end results can be very rewarding. It also need not cost the earth. Take an integrated approach following commonsense guidelines, add a little imagination and creativity, and your garden can be the envy of your family and friends.

Start by making the most of what you already have around the home. Fallen leaves, especially in autumn, make excellent mulch. Small leaves can be put straight onto garden beds, while large, thick leaves are best shredded by running the lawn mower over them. The leaf cover suppresses weed growth, helps with moisture retention and, over time, breaks down to provide added nutrients for your garden. Leaf litter is also a great addition to compost. Making compost at home is easy, economical and environmentally friendly. Less waste ends up in landfill, and your garden soil is enriched for little monetary cost. Compost can be spread on top of garden beds as a mulch layer, or dug in to improve your soil before planting.

The best compost is made from a balanced mix of ingredients including egg shells, vegetable and fruit scraps from the kitchen, shredded newspaper, lawn clippings, autumn leaves and garden prunings. There is a range of compost bins available including some suitable for small gardens. Alternatively, you can use a worm farm to compost kitchen scraps if space is limited. Worm castings make fabulous fertiliser for the garden or can be diluted in water to make liquid fertiliser. As well, in some areas councils manage green waste disposal in such a way that they can offer residents cheap mulch or compost for sale.

Click NEXT to learn how to save water (and money) when you garden

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    11th May 2012
    Keep your seeds viable for longer - store them in the 'fridge. Never store in plastic, as seeds can sweat, which will kill them.

    If you can get hold of alpaca 'poo, it's the second-best poo for gardens and doesn't pong or burn as the more traditional poos do.

    If you want to use your grey water from washing machines, there is some debate about the advisability of same for the sake of the soil, even with using eco-friendly detergents and only going for the second wash cycle. If you really want to do it on the cheap, and not have to pay out for hose or pipes, try and catch your machine as it's disgorging its second/final rinse cycle. Use a couple of strong plastic buckets. Great for building up biceps, too!

    Whenever you rinse your veggies/fruit, do it in a container that you can transport to your garden easily.

    Be a bit careful about the seed you buy. Some of the cheaper brands aren't always hugely viable.
    11th May 2012
    I find the cheaper seeds are just as good if you don't keep them for too long, there is less in the packets but people often don't use them all anyway. I have had as many failures with the expensive seeds as the cheaper ones.
    11th May 2012
    Thankyou for that feeback, Bluebell. I am constantly surprised, though, at what does come up with the cheaper seeds. Perhaps the travel from the supplier does not do them a lot of good.

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