Money saving garden tips posted here

Jenison, MI(Zone 6b)

I think this would be a great place for both experienced and inexperinced gardeners to share their tips on how to cut costs or corners.

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Trenton, MI(Zone 5b)

I posted this over on the bulb forum, but I'll let you guys in on my moneysaver too. :o)

I had some hyacinth bulbs I wanted to force just using the water method. Didn't want to spend the big money on the nice glass containers you can buy at the store, so looking around I found some unused glad plastic containers. Cut holes in the bottom the size of the root bunch, filled some mugs and a wine glass with water up to the basal root. The lip of the glad containers fit over each of these glasses. I think I like them more than the one forcing vase I have. ;o)
Got a couple of pics for you.

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Trenton, MI(Zone 5b)

Here is another pic.

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Trenton, MI(Zone 5b)

Last picture of bulb and container with hole cut in it.
By the way, someone on the bulb forum let me know to put these in the dark. They are doing well.

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Jenison, MI(Zone 6b)


Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

That is a really great idea.

Patriot, is that Mr. Ed in your picture?

Dearborn, MI

When I pot up my seedlings like tomatoes, I can't be buying those 4 inch deep pots, so I go to the $1 store and buy plastic 16 oz glasses, 16 for $1, drill a drainage hole and, voila, nice deep sterile tomato pot. Nancy

Jenison, MI(Zone 6b)

My parents went to Playa del something in Mexico for their wedding anniversary and that is a photo my father sent me. I think its a great eye catcher and would love to have the veggie/fruit carving talent. But, I think its the Hee Haw donkey :) I loved that show when I was a kid. All I ever saw was reruns(I'm 36).

Great idea Nancy! I might have to rename this "Where the Dutch go to play"...

Macomb, MI(Zone 5b)

whats up with the pics not working or showing up?

Dearborn, MI

Now lets keep this politically correct.
But those Mexican resorts do some awesome carvings and table presentations, don't they?
PS That's Playa Del Carmen and it's very lovely. Nancy

Macomb, MI(Zone 5b)

ok now they work ^_^

I loved the carving Kris...and that's an excellent idea for the bulbs, I have some of those
glad containers ;)


Gladwin, MI(Zone 5a)

My daughter got married in Rivera Maya (south of Can Cun) last Nov. This is one of several watermelons on the breakfast buffet at one restaurant. They were different every day.

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Macomb, MI(Zone 5b)

Thats a beauty to....they are so talented...

Jenison, MI(Zone 6b)

Any ideas on cheap ways to mark my seeds in my seed trays?

Dearborn, MI

If you have old vinyl window blinds, they can be cut up to make plant labels. I also recycle the plant tags on annuals I buy if the backs are blank. Nancy

AuGres, MI(Zone 5b)

I use popcicle sticks to mark things with. I buy them for my little granddaughter and just save them.

I also use the white styrofoam cups to pot up seedlings into. I start them in the peat pellets. I poke a hole in the bottom of the styrofoam coffee cups first. Works great and they're sterile and cheap if you buy them at the dollar general store.

Recycle everything you can. Use unusual items to plant things into. I have a galvanized double wash tub I got off freecycle to plant veggies into. I keep it right by the house so it's handy to snip lettuce or pull an onion out of for supper. You can plant flowers into old boots or whatever you have around. Let your imagination be your guide. Saves on buying pricey containters. Just make sure it has good drainage. I'm thinking of recycling my granddaughter's potty chair to a planter when she's done using it. It is wood and well made by the Amish and I think would be a sweet reminder of her filled with pretty flowers.

You can use an old ladder as a trellis for growing pole beans on or beautiful morning glories. Sometimes you can find them in the garbage. People just throw them away. I'm using an old wood ladder now as a roost for my hens. They love it. The rounded rungs are just right for their feet.

Look around at yard sales for anything you can make use of in gardening. I was able to collect about 20 galvanized watering cans over the years that way. Got them for a buck or two. They come in handy for me now to water things too far from the house hose. I load them all up in the back of my RTV and fill them with the hose then drive around watering everything. You can paint them up cute and use them for garden art and fill them with water too and save yourself dragging the hose out all the time. Keep some fertilizer on board and add a bit before you water.

Take an old 5 gallon bucket and fill with course sand. Add some old motor oil to it. When you are finished using your shovel or hoe or shears, dip them up and down into the oily sand and it will sharpen your tools and keep them from rusting. You can even leave a shovel in there if you want. It's a good way to recycle old oil. Invest in good tools and take good care of them.

If you wife wears nylon hose you can talk old hose and cut it into strips and use it for plant ties. Works great and it's gentle on the stems and stretches as the plants need it to.

If you have an old stump and don't have the money to have it ground up use it to stage a bird feeder or use it for a plant stand.

Recycle old pieces of carpet or rugs into the garden. You can lay them in the pathways or wherever you want to smother vegetation. I keep an old wood picnic table by the gate of my vegetable garden. I keep an old piece of carpet under it to keep the weeds and grass down and save me from having to try to mow under it. We use that old table for everything. Makes a good spot to sit and rest and a good work station for various chores we're doing out in the garden. It came in so handy we put another table out there last year.

Old bushel baskets come in handy for when you're weeding or pruning or gathering veggies. I have about 5 of them and would be lost without them. They are lite and yet study with handles. Old buckets work good for the heavy gathering like apples.

Don't be shy in asking friends, neighbors or strangers even for a cutting or division of something you spot at their house you like. Most gardeners are more than happy to share and it's a great way to get free flowers. As a young bride in my first new home I had neighbors come over and bring me a piece of this or that for a garden. They are all dead now and I still have some divisions of things they gave me decades ago and think of them fondly when I come across their gifts in the garden. Visit garden clubs annual plant sales. You can get great plants cheap there.

You can make a sturdy fence cheap. It's hard work though. My neighbor took some trees out of his woods and used them for poles which he sunk deep in the ground. Then he attached good wire fencing to the poles all around. Keeps the deer and rabbits out. It's 8 foot high. Around here you have to fence or you won't get anything to eat. The animals will rob you.

Well, that's all that comes to mind this morning. I'm sure I'll think of more later. Oh, some folks start seeds inside egg cartons. I've never done it though.

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Allen Park, MI(Zone 6a)


You could plant "pooptunias" in you potty chair planter. :)


Lachine, MI

OMGosh- I loved seeing all the wonderful edible food carvings! Just too cute! alot of wonderful ideas here!
I go to garage/tag sales and pick up old headboards and footboards form beds and use them as garden fences and gates.
I plant everything using soil moist- containers plants, veggie plants- saves on watering-
Fishing line keeps deer at bay- they can't see it- so they don't cross it.
Even laying down bird netting around special plants stop deer from intruding.
Most seeds really do need sunlight to germinate... so i take winter cooled seeds, throw them down where i want them to grow and just using the toe of my shoe lightly stamp the seed into the soil. Works great on lupines!
Larger stones work well as plant labels. Using painter pens write the name or better yet color a pic of the flower- spray seal it and place under plant.
Garden Hugs,

Jenison, MI(Zone 6b)

I was waiting for you Brenda...I knew you had a lot to offer!

So far, this is great!

AuGres, MI(Zone 5b)

I saw a good idea over in my poultry forum. The man raises pigs and he puts the pigs into a fenced in area that he wants to turn into a garden. The pigs root around and turn over all the soil. They eat all the grubs and slugs and grass. They leave behind some great fertilizer too. You don't even need a rototiller. Talk about work free gardening! I may have to borrow the neighbor's pigs to try it out. I've been wanting to have a big patch just to grow pumpkins and squash in. You should see the video of those pigs. They are so cute. :)

I'm glad we have the chickens now. I put tons of leaves in their outdoor run for winter. Come spring, I'll rake them all out and put them on the garden. You can't get better fertilizer than chicken manure. It's hot though so I'll have to let it mellow out a while after I till it in.

If you like bulbs many garden centers will mark them down drastically after they are through blooming. These are the potted bulbs like you see around Easter. Years ago I got a whole slew of them for .50 a pot. Watch for markdowns on leftover seeds too.

Recycle old milk jugs. Use them for mixing fertilizer and water in to water your plants. Or, you can cut off the bottoms and have them on hand to cover your newly planted seedlings when a late frost surprises you. I've had to use mine the last two years in a row. Thankfully, I saved them so all we had to do was haul out the old garbage can I stored them in and set them over the plants.

Paul, I like the idea of planting Pee-tunias in the old potty chair. :) I love petunias anyway. Talk about a drought tolerant and care free plant. I love them.

AuGres, MI(Zone 5b)

I don't know about saving money but this sure would save on your back.

Jenison, MI(Zone 6b)

Ok Brenda, thats a cool video!

AuGres, MI(Zone 5b)

Here is another money saving tip. Buy desired plants at the end of the season. I fell in love with the Knockout roses. My first dozen I was able to score in a sale here on Daves from Nancy Lindley when she was going out of business at her nursery. I loved what I got. I wanted more. My local nursery wanted almost $40 for a good size rose. That's too much when you're wanting to buy ten of them. I looked around online and found them at Home Depot for home delivery. Who knew that Home Depot delivers? I got them at end of season and the price was a little over $5 each. They were smaller but very healthy. The canes were waxed and they must have been kept in cold storage. I planted them and watered them in good and they began to leaf out right away. This was almost a third of what I paid for them in the sale here at Dave's. The roses were smaller though. Small is OK. Plants will grow and often will settle in better if they are small verses trying to transplant a larger specimen. They go through the transplant shock better.

Back in the old days when my 94 year old mom was a young bride they learned to "make do" and yet still had beautiful flowers around their homes. Mom could take a cutting of a rose and stick it in the ground and plop a glass canning jar over it and start a new rose bush. She had a green thumb. She never bought rooting hormones or any fancy chemicals. She had all the old tried and true easy to grow perennials. You can't go wrong with iris, lilacs, daylilies, daisys, phlox etc. People would divide their plants and share and pass them along. I love the pass along plants.

My next door neighbor years ago would save her marigold seed from year to year. She'd work the soil and spread it out nice and smooth. She would take her finger and draw a bullseye........round and round. She would then plant the marigold seed in that bullseye formation and when they came up it made the prettiest marigold bush. Didn't cost her a dime.

Our growing season seems so short now that I will spend very little on annuals. It just doesn't seem like a good investment. I'll probably buy two flats and that's it. I have started saving my geraniums by bringing them indoors for the winter. I divide them in the spring and put them in new soil and they're good for the season. This winter I brought in my pentisedum rubrum. I paid $10 for each clump and was not about to let it die. They are sitting on my steps by the back door where they get sun through the west facing window all day. So far they are still alive. I love that plant but not enough to buy it over again. I'll try to keep it going from year to year.

Trenton, MI(Zone 5b)

If you are still working, look around at what gets tossed into the garbage.

When I was growing daylily seeds, I needed a container that was taller. So each lunch I would save my tall drinking cup. I still save them starting in March, so I can bring my extra plants to work and not worry about not getting my pot back. Oh, yea, they are free, since you can have a cup of water free.

I save small ziplock bags that would othersize get thrown away for seeds ... 1"x3".
I use wooden sticks also for my seedlings, these come in kits we use at work, they are the extras that don't get used.

For my winter sowing, I use a great 3 liter jug from work. Just contained a buffer, nothing toxic. Wash it out well and it is good to go. I've convinced several people to start using these.

We drink instant coffee at my home, so I've been taking the coffee grounds from our little area (one coffee pot). After about a year, someone wanted me to share the grounds with her ... well, that did not happen!

Also, I try and take walks on the night before garbage pickup. I've found a decent amount of the square 4" pots that way. Also, people at work have given them to me. I now have more than I probably will ever need.

I built a path out of stones someone was throwing away.
Here is a pic. of that. See the path behind the Hosta garden, it leads to the wood pile behind the Garden shed.

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Trenton, MI(Zone 5b)

Found an old picture of my Daylily seedlings in the Pepsi cups from work. These are the 16 oz. cups. The cups will last for about 4 months before getting to yucky to use. So starting seeds in Feb. worked fine.

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Trenton, MI(Zone 5b)

This particular savings? happened when the plant decided it needed something more to climb on.
The wrought Iron chair was on the deck. The Clematis was supposed to grow on the trellis you just see to the right. Well, it did grow there, but also found the chair (which was broken a little bit, and hubby never did fix it). I thought hubby would have a fit, but you know he liked it so much (cause he doesn't have to fix it now?), that he agreed I could just move the chair off the deck into the garden. That is what you see in this picture. I'm working on breaking the other 3 chairs ... lol.

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AuGres, MI(Zone 5b)

I like your stone path you made. Very cool.

I had a friend who made a walk path from the house to the garage. He called it a "Po man's walk". It was made from recycled concrete. You can get all you want from companies who do cement. They might even bring it to you. Just dig out the sod, lay down sand and arrange the broken concrete into the pathway. Fill the cracks in with more sand. The nice thing is all the concrete is the same size in thickness so it makes it easier to work with.

Trenton, MI(Zone 5b)

Loon, I've seen the piles of broken cement at the curb side and have often thought of using them to continue my garden path into the woods behind our house. But it is not our property (belongs to the school), so I hesitate to do it. So your saying I should contact one of those companies that replace sidewalks, driveways and ask them?

this path ends at the start of the woods. I've cleared out an area behind this garden thinking to make it into one of those outdoor rooms. But yikes, the mosquitoes prohibit any type of outdoor room and there is some type of vine that just takes over everything. I have a heck of a time keeping it out of my garden.

This path was a Mothers Day present one year.

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