I have several flowers that bend over top heavy. They tend to grow in clumps (think peonies, but not as full). Does anyone have ideas of inexpensive ways I can keep them upright? I can't afford to buy the rings at the garden center. On one, I used an old flowerpot that had lost its bottom. Other ideas?
Hi LauriSinger, how inventive are you then, bottomless flower pot's, Love your style, good for you, most of us gardeners would have either broken the rest of the pot if it was clay, and used the small bits for drainage at the bottom of the larger pots, IF plastic, they make a great collar when placed into the Tomato grow bags some folks have to use, this allows you to put more compost around the root area when the plants start growing taller.
Anyway back to your need for cheep or free plant supports.
My best method for free is to go gather pruning's, dried small branches (don't cut off the spreading little side twigs attached to the larger branch) you remove some bits from the bottom, then as the plants start to get some growth, you place 3-4 of those pruning's around the plants and after a couple of weeks, you don't see these dead branches, they blend into the foliage especially the smaller branches around the main one.
2nd idea is almost free, same ide as the first except you go look for pruning's with a single stem, loads of shrubs / small tree's have that when winter had defoliated them, you stick these into the earth about 3-4 per plant like garden canes, about 6 inches away from main stems that's growing out the ground, then buy a roll of SOFT green garden twine (garden store sells it and cost pennies) tie of the first bit, take twine around the next cane, then 3rd cane and tie off where you started.
IF extra height / support is required, then add another row of twine further up the cane, again in a few weeks, you wont notice the canes or twine, don't pull string too tight or you bruise or damage the foliage spoiling your work.
3rd and last cheep job is to gather those old wire coat hangers we used to get from drycleaners, I used to straighten the hanging hook end, then pull the hanger open to a ring shape or square-ish shape, stick the straightened hook end down into the hollow cane, and place into the soil making sure it is low enough to offer support but also you can stick a taller cane into the ground doing the same with coat-hangers IF the plant gets too tall.
Make sure you get your support in place early in the growing season as IF you leave it too late, you damage the greenery AND like all added supports, when the plants have matured and grown taller, it's not easy to hide the supports.
Winter is best time to gather pruning's as the branches are bare they are firmer, you can easily find the size (wide / taller) and as they are best left a few days to dry out in a cool place like garage or shed, then your able to select the size you need for the type of plant you are tying up.
When you tidy up the dead foliage, make sure you remove the branches as some plants have the nerve to take root and before you know it, you could have a mini forest, things like Willow grows as soon as it touches the soil. Also, IF you know anyone who grows BAMBOO plants, ask them for the old canes when they need to thin their plants out. all for free.
Hope this gives you some food for thought as I know what you mean about the cost of plant rings, tree ties and all the extra little things we need to make the garden stand proud. BUT my personal view is we have became a world of BUY, BUY, BUY and forgotten our parents had the HOME MADE make do and they managed to have wonderful gardens and veg plotsWas he who introduced me to using ladies nylon hose / tights as tree ties as they are soft, they stretch and allow the tree to grow without cutting into the bark like so many plastic things on the market ha, Ha, Ha.
I sometimes though my Dad always set out to embarrass us when he did his home made stuff and now realise, he had other things to spend money on, but hey, I'm a WW11 baby so nothing got wasted believe me, he even made fruit cages out of old tent frames and I was mortified, but the fruit was delicious, as a child we never though "end results" LOL.
Hope you get things sorted out and enjoy your gardening season.
WeeNel mentioned Sticks Growing... Well, yes they do. When planting asparagus roots and gladioli bulbs, I used the long cut-off branches of the chaste tree. They all rooted. I now have 3 new trees.
Snow fence or safety fence can be used, but they are usually bright orange. Check with building site contractors.
Tractor Supply had green plastic fence-fabric I used to make excellent trellis material. I've also used strips as cages for holding up peony and hydrangea branches. Not exactly free, but sure fits the bill for a low cost excellent remedy.
Welcome, I was brought us as a WW1 baby, so in those days, nothing was thrown out, we re-used loads of stuff and sometimes I was so upset by my fathers re-inventions that I'd blush if any friends ask "what the heck is that so and so there for", the answer was always the same, "something my Dad's working on" Lol,
My biggest red face was when I came home from school one day to find the frame of an old army tent already erected, Dad had came across some chicken wire, huge rolls of it, he was covering this tent frame with the wire and this was our new bird proof fruit cage, honest I almost died, but you know what, every year there after we had wonderful crop of all fruits, Then my friend though he was a genus because we were allowed to pick and eat the fruits, OH and boy did we ever eat loads LOL.
Have a great gardening season.