Landscaping on a Budget

Written by monthly contributor, Phoebe Hendricks of Getting Freedom

Who doesn’t love a perfectly landscaped yard, loaded with beautiful, fragrant blossoms?

While flowers add a lovely aspect to any home, attaining the look you are going for can end up breaking the bank. However, if you use your resources wisely, you can achieve your dreams for a fraction of the cost. Whether you grow your flowering plants from seeds or through plant propagation, you’ll have a stunning landscape in no time.

Planting From Seeds

While frugal, it isn’t always the easiest.  You plant flowers seeds just as you would vegetable seeds.  The seedlings can require a lot of watching and fertilizer for speedy growth, but it’s a frugal way to get a lot of plants quick and with little out of pocket.

One of my parent's greenhouses.

Plant Division [Read more...]

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Tips for Naturally Controlling Pests in Your Garden

The following is the sixth in a series of guest posts about gardening from Rene at Budget Saving Mom. Catch up on the series here and get inspired to save money while gardening!

plants that have been eaten by bugsAnytime that you have a garden, you are also going to have insects that want to eat your produce and plants. You definitely want to control these insects so that you can be the one enjoying your produce.

There are many pesticides that people use. However, there are also ways that you can control the insects in your garden naturally. This is better for you and your family’s health and the environment.

Manually Remove Bugs and Eggs:

This is how we control our bugs at the beginning of the gardening season.

You will have a few insects that have wintered in the ground, and they will come out and lay eggs each season.

When your plants are young, it is pretty easy to turn the leaves over, and manually remove the bugs and eggs. If they are hard eggs, that you can not smash, you might need to remove a portion of the leaves. Make sure that you actually smash any eggs or else remove them from the garden.

We feed the bugs and eggs to our chickens, ducks and guineas. However, if you do not have birds, you can place the eggs and insects into a cup of water so that they drown.

This method only works at the very beginning of our garden, since it is so time consuming; however, it really does help since we are able to take care of the bugs when they first come, and before they start multiplying.

Control Bad Bugs With Good Bugs:

If you are not planning on using poisons in your garden, you can help control your insect population with good bugs. These are bugs that eat bugs that enjoy feeding on your garden.

The reason that you need to ensure that you will not be using poison, is that poisons will kill ALL insects. You don’t want to invest in good bugs, and then use poisons and kill them.

There are quite a few different types of good bugs. We usually order ours from Gardens Alive. You can order praying mantises, lady bugs and other insects that will help to control the insects in your garden.

If there is a particular type of insect that you have problems with, you can research with beneficial insect you should order for that type of buy.

Making A Natural Bug Spray:

You can also make a homemade, natural bug spray.

This bug spray is basically a pepper spray, so you will want to use caution when using it. We wear gloves, eye protection, masks and only spray on days that are not windy.

Also, you will want to spray when it should not be raining that day, and not on the day that you are picking your produce, or your produce would be spicy as well.

Here is the recipe that we use:

1. Mash cloves of garlic.
2. Add peppers, mint and garlic to water in a pot on the stove.
3. Bring the water almost to a boil.
4. In the morning strain the liquid.
5. Add a couple of squirts of dish soap.
6. Spray your plants.

The amounts of garlic, mint, and peppers vary based on the amount that we have ready in our garden at the time. You will make the spray the night before you want to use it.

How To Spray Your Plants:

When you spray your plants, you want to spray the top and underside of leaves.

This is not poison that you are spraying, but it makes the leaves too spicy to eat, and can kill the insects as well.

Most insects and larvae spend their time on the undersides of leaves, which is why it is so important to spray the underside. The bugs actually have to touch the spray for it to work. Remember to spray when it is not windy, when it will not be raining, and to make sure to wear protective gear.

Naturally Controlling Slugs:

If you have plants that are being eaten, but you don’t see that many bugs, chances are that slugs are eating your plants.

Slugs come out at night to feed, and by the time that you get out to your garden in the morning, they have hidden again. Check out my post here about how to naturally control slugs.

What tips would you add for naturally controlling pests in your garden?

Shared at: Works for Me Wednesday

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How to Naturally Control Weeds

The following is the fifth in a series of guest posts about gardening from Rene at Budget Saving Mom.

Everyone wants a garden without weeds. Rather than using poison, there are many methods that can work to control your weeds more naturally.

Manually Remove Your Weeds

This is a rather obvious way to remove weeds. You can just pull them up. It is easiest to pull up weeds after a good rain.

When you are pulling weeds, you will want to make sure to pull the weeds up including the roots. If the weeds are difficult to remove, you can hoe the leaves.

We also use our tractor and till up the areas between the rows of our garden to help remove the weeds before we cover the pathways to prevent further weeds from growing.

After you pull up weeds, you will want to change your gloves and wash your hands away from the garden to make sure that you remove any seeds from your garden.

You also want to remove the weeds from the garden so that the seeds won’t continue to spread.

Use Vinegar

Vinegar is a really incredible herbicide. It is not specific to any weed, so you have to be careful when you use them that you only get the vinegar onto the weeds.

Normal household vinegar is a 5% concentration. However, you can buy horticultural vinegar that is 20% concentrate.

Vinegar can be applied to the leaves of a plant. It works best on sunny days.

You will need to use it on a day when it is not going to rain so that the vinegar won’t wash off.

The vinegar will actually kill the weed down to the roots. If you are trying to kill weeds that are close to your plants, you can paint the vinegar onto the leaves to ensure that you only kill the weed.

garden weed control

Boiling Water

Boiling water can also be used to kill weeds. You just boil some water, and carefully pour it onto the weed to kill it.

Using Barriers in Pathways

We also use barriers to keep weeds out of our garden.

In the pathways, we have used numerous types of barriers throughout the years. Basically we use what we have on hand.

When we have old carpet, we use that.

This year we had to re-roof our house, and have used the shingles in the pathways to prevent weeds.

We also use newspapers, cardboard boxes, weed control fabric, and gravel. You can really use anything that will block out light to prevent the weeds from growing.

Using Barriers in Your Garden Rows

When using barriers around plants, I try to be a little more careful about what I use.

We have used newspapers to lay around our plants before. When you are using newspaper, you want to make sure that you only use pages that are black and white. Colored ads have chemicals that you don’t want to add to your garden.

If you have a smaller garden, you can also mulch around your plants. You just want to make sure that there are 3-4 inches of mulch to ensure that the weeds will be controlled.

Although this is not quite as natural, you can even use garden fabric, and just cut out areas where each of your plants can grow through. The weeds will then be prevented by the weed fabric.

What are your tips for naturally controlling weeds?

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Tips for Container Gardening

The following is the fourth in a series of guest posts about gardening from Rene at Budget Saving Mom.

Gardening has always been important to our family. However, at one point, we had little to no land and our only option for gardening was container gardening. During this time, I was able to be very creative and figure out how to grow our garden indoors and on the back porch.

Container gardening is a great way to garden for those of you that don’t have room for any other type of garden.

310(2)Container gardening is exactly what it sounds like, you garden in containers.

I have usually been able to get free containers from neighbors and family who had bought plants, and were going to throw their containers away.

For larger plants, such as tomatoes, you will want a bigger container, such as a tree container. Your larger containers will need to be at least 12 inches deep.

Tips for effectively growing container plants:

  • One important aspect of container gardening is having light-colored containers.
    You might want to consider painting your containers, or wrapping them in paper that is a lighter color.
    You do not want your soil and plants getting too hot, as many containers are dark and will absorb heat.
  • When you are planting in containers, you will need to ensure that your plants have enough water.
    Watering each morning allows the water to evaporate during the day, and the plant’s roots to absorb the water. You want the soil to feel moist when you stick your finger into the soil in the afternoon.
  • You have to use fertilizer in container gardens. Container gardens must be watered frequently, and as they are watered, the nutrients are washed out of the soil. I typically will add a small amount of fertilizer every 7th time that I water to ensure that my plants have the nutrients they need to thrive.
  • Your container plant needs plenty of sunlight. You can place containers on a sunny deck, outside of a window or anywhere in your yard that gets sunlight.
    If you are unable to have plants outdoors, you can place your plants inside in front of a sunny window.

For a couple of years, this was really the only area that I had for a garden. My mother-in-law bought me a metal rack with four shelves that was covered in plastic.

I grew all of our herbs and salad fixings on those racks in our kitchen nook, except tomatoes, which I grew outside.

I just alternated the plants each day so that they all had a chance to be on the top rack. I also kept a thermometer on the shelves. In the afternoons if it got too hot, I would unzip the plastic.

It was actually a lot of fun to watch my plants grow indoors, and definitely convenient when I was cooking! I didn’t even have to step outside to get our food for supper.

How would you begin to implement container gardening?

This post is linked to: WFMW

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