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The Frugal Gardener

By Karen Jones (karri_sueJanuary 30, 2012

I call it frugal gardening; my daughter calls it just plain embarrassing. What seems reasonable to the gardener can seem quite strange to the onlooker. But why pay for something when we can get it for free?

Gardening picture

(Editor's Note: This article was originally published on February 22, 2008. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to respond to questions or comments.)

For example, when I stop to admire a flower, I can't help it if some of the seeds fall out into my hand.  They would have just fallen onto the sidewalk or been eaten by a bird.  Once, while in a restaurant, I noticed a lovely bouquet of some wild columbines that I had never seen before.  While admiring the bouquet, some seeds fell out of a ripe seedhead.  Now, I enjoy that plant growing in my garden, while my family can't believe I kept the seeds.  What should I have done, left them as a tip?  Now, when I stop to admire flowers growing in a public place, my family starts to walk away real fast and act as though they don't know me.

Now, what is so embarrassing about manure?  Embarassed  I consider it to be a valuable addition to my compost pile and I'm not about to buy bags of it when I can go and scoop it up for free.  Anyone would appreciate your help in cleaning out the corral, right?  They just think I'm crazy because there are much better things to do than going around scooping up poop.

And who wouldn't ask for those leaves that your neighbor is bagging up?  I'm concerned about the landfills just like everyone else.  The fact that they help to make that black gold has very little to do with it.  I am also helping out by bringing large boxes home from work to lay under my lasagna beds.  Is it strange that I put dibs on any container at a party that would work for winter sowing?  Or that my tupperware now has a "better" use?


     Leaves and cardboard by the compost bin                                         Winter sowing containers I  "scored"

One of my favorite coffee shops packs their used grounds into large trash bags that are just too heavy for me to carry.  Apparently it's embarrassing to my daughter when I have the young man carry it out to her truck for me, so now I have to go to the coffee shop when I go to town alone.  She sure doesn't complain in July when she's biting into a big juicy tomato!

I used to go to the post office twice a week.  But now that I participate in round robins and seed trades on Dave's Garden, I'm there every day!  The postmaster is a long-time friend and she just smiles when I send off my SASE like a child sending a letter to Santa. I think joining Dave's Garden is probably the most frugal thing I have done.  Where else can you end up with hundreds of seeds for nothing but the cost of postage?   Gardeners love to share their extra plants with "newbies" and you can save by getting in on co-ops with other members.  It's a place where I feel right at home in spite of my "embarrassing" habits!  Yep, I'm convinced that Dave's Garden is the best resource for the frugal gardener.Laughing 

  About Karen Jones  
I live in the mountains of San Diego county in a tiny rural town. I inherited a love for gardening from my mother and use herbs and flowers from my garden to make bath products.

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Discussion about this article:
SubjectTopic StarterRepliesViewsLast Post
The Frugal Gardener tulsajudoka 12 84 Feb 20, 2012 7:11 PM
Strawberry plants from "trash" Mwilson211 2 31 Feb 6, 2012 4:47 PM
Scrounging radiobushbaby 0 10 Feb 2, 2012 9:33 AM
"gorilla Gardeners" gogators81 1 45 Jan 31, 2012 7:39 AM
Pinching succulents bajamavourneen 1 23 Jan 30, 2012 7:50 PM
plants, seeds, butterflies Sheila_FW 0 8 Jan 30, 2012 4:27 PM
frugal gal Dyegirl 0 21 Jan 30, 2012 9:51 AM
What a great articlethanks for sharing ducks4you 1 10 Jan 30, 2012 8:39 AM
Gardeners and quiltmakers fairfaxbloomer 1 17 Jan 30, 2012 8:33 AM
on containers treesmoocher 1 29 Jan 30, 2012 8:29 AM
I agree with you LindainNC 1 17 Jan 30, 2012 7:18 AM
I feel the same way. minpin3165 0 13 Jan 30, 2012 6:14 AM
I chase the wood-chipper trucks lfunnyfarm 0 31 Jan 30, 2012 4:21 AM
Frugal also DriftingDude 17 249 Oct 11, 2010 1:18 PM
Frugal plant troughs Poppa39 1 108 Mar 1, 2010 7:04 AM
Love Your Humor CouchHogs 0 8 Mar 1, 2010 6:44 AM
loved your article EFGeorgia1 3 19 Nov 28, 2009 12:14 AM
Thank you for the comments! karri_sue 1 9 Nov 27, 2009 5:20 PM
coffee grounds cheviothunter 4 195 Sep 24, 2009 4:57 PM
Anyone have seeds to trade or give away? graced54 3 129 Sep 16, 2009 2:16 PM
Collect and Spread cando1 0 27 Sep 15, 2009 2:03 AM
Loved the article cmsjjdr 0 11 Sep 15, 2009 12:42 AM
Frugal Gardening keazybee 0 20 Sep 15, 2009 12:13 AM
Frugality and Hollyhocks napewastewin 0 50 Sep 14, 2009 2:03 PM
That is the way for COLLECTORS Noturf 0 39 Sep 14, 2009 1:46 PM
Frugal or Smart?? marti001 0 35 Sep 14, 2009 10:32 AM
Wouldn't mind being "frugal" EdsB 2 73 Sep 9, 2009 9:01 PM
You're among friends Hemophobic 0 37 Sep 9, 2009 5:31 PM
Yes! to the "seed snatching" bmuller 0 90 Mar 6, 2008 7:18 PM
Guess that makes me a Frugal gal too !! Polyacre 1 56 Feb 29, 2008 2:29 AM
Loved it! doccat5 3 67 Feb 28, 2008 2:59 AM
Manure question/Tea Grounds Pamgarden 3 169 Feb 26, 2008 6:05 PM
Thanks for all the comments! karri_sue 0 23 Feb 26, 2008 3:06 AM
You are not the only one kymw 1 61 Feb 26, 2008 1:04 AM
Love the article hlssunny 0 22 Feb 25, 2008 11:26 PM
Saffron Seeds Gardener_in_OR 0 58 Feb 25, 2008 10:34 PM
Me and Weezingreens ceeadsalaskazone3 0 64 Feb 23, 2008 5:26 AM
Frugality pirtlekb 0 75 Feb 22, 2008 3:38 PM
I am in there with you. frostweed 0 69 Feb 22, 2008 1:40 PM
very nice Dutchlady1 0 63 Feb 22, 2008 11:00 AM
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