BOISE, Idaho — If you’re a gardener, then you know how satisfying it is to grow a beautiful home landscape full of flowers and shrubs, or a garden full of delicious fruits and vegetables. And you’re probably always looking out for ways to save time and money, and still have a great garden.
Garden master Jim Duthie is back with some more easy and low-cost garden ideas that he’s found that might be just what you were looking for.
Last week I showed you a few simple and inexpensive garden hacks to make some of your garden chores easier, and to help you save some money. Today I’ve got a few more. Most of them were shared with me by some of our fellow idaho gardeners. Like this one:
Ever need a ruler or a measuring tape in the garden? Simply take one of your garden tools, like a shovel or a hoe, and mark off measurements on the handle with a permanent marker. Then you’ll always have a way to measure distances between planting rows, or from a fence, or the height of a growing plant.
Sometimes you’re not quite sure how some plants are going to look in the garden, or you may want to swap them out after they’ve finished blooming.
Rather than keep digging up plants and replanting them, simply place some cheap containers in the ground, and then set the new plant in its store container right into that one. It’s easy to move them around until you’re satisfied with the layout, and to replace it with another plant later in the season.
Some garden plants are pretty, but their roots will spread and invade other plants’ space, sending up new shoots. Mint, yarrow, hollyhocks and lily-of-the-valley are just of few of those desirable but invasive plants.
To stop them from spreading you need to keep them contained. A simple solution is to take an old plastic container, cut the bottom out, and place it around the plant like a fence. Make sure it’s at least 10 inches deep so the roots won’t grow out under it into neighboring garden space.
I like the look of coconut husk or moss hanging baskets, but they tend to dry out pretty quickly, and can sometimes be messy when the water leaks through. So to keep them from leaking, make them wear diapers!
Simply take a disposable baby diaper or two, cut off the elastic leg edges, and lay them in the bottom of the basket with the plastic side down, before adding the potting mix. Then plant your flowers. The diaper’s absorbent beads will hold water and keep it from dripping out, and you won’t have to water as often. And they won’t harm your plants.
Have you got a favorite rose bush and wish you had more of it? You can propagate rose cuttings easily. Simply cut some healthy rose stems off of the bush, about 9 inches long and the width of a pencil. Trim off the leaves and thorns from the lower half. Then simply push the bottom end of your cutting into a potato, and bury it in three to four inches of good soil. The potatoes will help the rose stems stay moist while they develop new roots.
It’ll take several weeks, but you’ll save money buying new rose bushes, and they’ll be identical to the one you cut it from. And who knows? You might even end up harvesting some fresh potatoes, as well.
You can save a little money, and attract those wonderful little hummingbirds to your garden, too, by making your own hummingbird food.
All it takes is one part white granulated sugar to four parts of water. Bring it to a boil, and let it cool off completely. Then fill your clean hummingbird feeder with the sugar water. There’s no need to add red color to it. The little hummers will like it just the same.
Finally, here’s a way to keep your favorite small garden tools clean and sharp at the same time.
Take some play sand and mix it with mineral oil. I’m using baby oil, because it’s cheaper and it smells good! Mix it together well. Take a terra cotta pot, cover the drain hole with duct tape, and fill it with the sand and oil mixture and pack it down a bit. Then stick your garden tools right into the sand. It’s a good way to store your tools and keep them clean, and the tools stay sharpened when they go in and out of the sand. Plus, you’ll always know where your tools are.
These were just a few more simple ideas to make your gardening easier, while saving money at the same time. If you’ve got some time and money-saving tips, I’d like to hear about them so we can share them with our fellow gardeners.
If you haven’t already done it, be sure to join the ‘You Can Grow It’ Facebook group, where you can share pictures, tips and questions with over 4,000 other Idaho gardeners. Simply text the word “grow” to 208-321-5614 and we’ll send you a text to make it easy for you to join the gardening group.
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