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Saving Money on Gardening

I wasn’t always frugal by nature. But during the eleven years we saved to build our house and launch our freelance careers (and yes, it took ELEVEN years) I learned how to save every nickel and dime. And that goes for gardening. Especially gardening.

It would be really easy for me to go hog wild in the garden and buy every plant I crave. I’d love, for example, to collect iris; I’m smitten with them. Hey, your taste may be different from mine, but we’ve all got our favorites, and we all need to rein in our vices!

To keep my hobby spending in check, here’s what I do to save money in the garden. Why not share your tips in the comments section?

  • Wait for Sales: Everyone loves a sale. This weekend, Lowe’s will have an 89 cent sale on six packs of annuals. Last week they had a sale of $1 on pink geraniums. Okay, so they were all pink, but I have three new window boxes to fill and the pink will look great with some cascading blue lobelia. Wait for sales!


  • Discount Rack: Another thing I have noticed is that when shrubs, annuals and perennials stop blooming or look even the slightest bit trampled on, Lowe’s and some of the other retailers around here put them on the clearance rack. And you can pick up some great bargains. I planted two new miniature rose bushes (each $2, marked down from $9.99), several perennials for $1.50 each (marked down from $6.99) and John’s dad scored an azalea for just $2 this week! The flowers were gone and it looks a bit wilted, but it will be fine for the flower garden. I snag seeds at Wal Mart and the local dollar store for 20 cents a package and big packs of bulbs for $1 and $5. Love my discount racks!


  • Share: I swap plants with my friend Patty. She’s got some of my butterfly bush seedlings, and she gave me a nandina shrub and some beautiful purple ajuga reptans that’s really doing a great job crowding out the weeds under the wisteria in the flower garden. I send seeds to my sister (and I save and use seeds such as marigolds, morning glories, zinnias, and gaillardia.) Another neighbor gave me old windows from a gymnasium his construction company was changing to an auditorium. They’re parked behind the garden shed, awaiting next fall when I can build a little greenhouse or cold frame. And he also volunteered his tobacco sticks for me to use as tomato supports. Our little area of Virginia was once a major growing center for tobacco, and when he bought his farm down the road, the barns were full of tall pointed sticks that were once used to harvest and hang tobacco. He can’t use them all so he offered them to me for plant supports. In exchange, I’ve sent him home with bottles of agave syrup after I found I was allergic to it and cookbooks for his wife to peruse. It’s all about sharing!


  • Make Your Own: I made a support for my Blaze rose out of pine branches that came down in the winter snow. I used rocks the size of baseballs or bricks found around the property to edge my garden. I make plant markers out of old Venetian blind slats and cut up frosting cans. I rip apart rags to make ties for my tomatoes. I make mini hot houses out of clean milk containers cut in half. What clever ways do you make your own gardening supplies?

Because of all these little cost cutting measures, I can invest in things that will last – like the metal trellis at the entrance to my garden, the flagstones, and the fence around the vegetable garden.

What clever cost cutting measures do you use in the garden to get more garden for you buck?

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  • keewee
    April 15, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    I confess, this year I have been spending quite a lot on plants, But, I have found a few bargains too.

  • Skeeter
    April 16, 2010 at 1:25 am

    I pop in to Lowes whenever I am near just to check out the bargain bins in the back of the store! I have found some wonderful bargains already on fun things such as phlox, daffys, hyacinth, etc. I got free bricks never used at a new neighborhood building sight. They were going to toss the bricks in a pile and cover them up with dirt! I took a truck load and have had fun with them. I pick up large rocks whenever I find them too. Free is my friend!