Reinventing ‘Dirt Cheap’

Photo May 17, 1 17 39 PM

I’m not made of money, obviously.  I do temp work, so clearly I don’t have much to spend on hobbies. In order to keep my obsession with all things green afloat during lean times, I’ve found a lot of ways to save money while still being able to grow what I want to grow.

Here are some ways to cut corners without losing out this year:

1. Save on dirt. Does anyone else think it is absolutely ridiculous that we buy dirt? We literally purchase dirt for gardens and containers. Seriously???

This spring, our local dollar stores had 8lb. bags of dirt for a dollar.  I obviously went crazy with this and bought, oh, about 100 lbs of dirt total.  I don’t own any land, so this was the most obvious choice for me, since my apartment complex’s manager probably frowns upon me frequently making holes in the property to obtain dirt. If you have your own property, though, all you need to do is nourish what you have to best suit what you’re trying to grow. Here’s a good link to start you in the right direction in this regard.

2. Improvise containers. I have a bunch of containers that I bought at the dollar store.  Yes, that’s pretty much a waste since they are plastic and awful (I have a love for clay pots that will never die) and pretty horrible for the environment. But since I don’t have a cat anymore, and consequently don’t buy giant tubs of litter, it was the simplest solution for me.

But you can get really creative if you like growing smaller herbs and such. The previous homes of cool whip, old mason jars, and pretty much any container that can hold liquid can also hold your plants. Don’t be afraid to cut the tops from milk jugs or soda bottles, either.

3. Seeds go on clearance when they ‘expire’. What expiration technically means is that the seeds are less viable. Expect lower rates of sprouts to appear, but some might still work up to years later.This article explains how one blogger tested her seeds before planting them.

4. Shamelessly steal plants.* Just not from your neighbors. If you can’t resist something in their yard, ask if you can take a cutting to reproduce it. What I am really getting at here is that there are seeds literally everywhere. Buy organic lemons at the grocery and harvest those seeds. Take them from your friends ridiculously delicious tomatoes that you had at their cookout. Rip dandelions out of the ground and re-pot them for your porch. Go on a hike and gather some buttercups. The world is our seed bank and we don’t even realize it. Where do you think all these plants started anyway? Get up, go outside and start foraging.  If it’s considered a weed, people will be glad that you are taking it off their property.  If you aren’t sure whether it is public property or not, ask.  If you see your friends pulling plants out of the ground, ask.  Be a plant opportunist, but always ask, first.

Extra: This link is full of wonderful randoms.  As you can tell, I love the crap out of Gayla Trail and her web site.

*Do this at your own risk. It’s kind of like dumpster diving and sometimes people get a little angry about that.

How do you save money on gardening? Do you have a semi-expensive hobby and some advice on how to save on it?

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