Thanks to this year’s strange weather, gardens are already in full swing! This means I’ve been busy planting, tending, and harvesting out there in my little piece of heaven. Oh, I thought about adding a new post to this blog, but the garden kept calling my name. Fortunately I received an email from Elizabeth Baker, asking if I’d be interested in a guest post. This one is for all of you who lack gardens of your own because you think it’s an expensive indulgence….
In order to thrive, gardens need to be nurtured and protected. Fortunately, this does not require a green thumb or a bottomless wallet. You can enrich your garden on a budget by browsing gardening discounts, keeping proper maintenance, and using some of these inexpensive tips.
Using mulch is important because it provides many benefits to your garden. These benefits include:
- Keeps weeds at bay—By covering low-growing weeds in the dark, mulch prevents them from getting adequate sunlight
- Keeps soil in place—Mulch acts as a protective layer that prevents the erosion of your soil during rainfall or wind.
- Prevents compaction—Mulch keeps your soil from compacting or crusting over, which allows water to filter through better
Instead of spending money on packaged mulch in a grocery or home improvement store, use cheaper materials that you can find around your house to create either inorganic or organic mulch:
- Inorganic mulch—Benefits are that you don’t need to replace it; drawbacks are that it can look less pleasing to the eye. For inorganic mulches, use gravel, pebbles, plastic, landscape fabric, or shredded rubber.
- Organic mulch—Benefits are that it decomposes over time and adds nutrients to the soil, it looks nice, and it tends to be cheaper because you can use materials you would ordinarily throw away; drawbacks are that it needs to be replaced occasionally. For cheap, organic mulches, use shredded leaves, newspapers, grass clippings, compost, manure, or straw.
- Lasagna Garden—Lasagna gardening is an easy, organic method, which uses layers of mulch and soil substitutes to create a simple, nutrient-rich garden. It’s quick to set up, uses ordinary materials at virtually no cost, uses no chemicals, and yields beautiful, well-nourished plants.
Build a Raised Bed
Raised beds are very easy to build, and they are also inexpensive. Required materials include untreated wood (Douglas Fir is a relatively cheap option), screws, and a drill. Benefits of using raised beds include:
- No digging—Since you plant as you fill in the soil, you can avoid unnecessary labor.
- Good soil—If the soil in your yard is unsuitable, raised beds are a great way to make use of better soil without redoing your whole landscape.
- Attractive—Raised beds look nice, especially when made out of wood. If you wish, you can add personal touches by painting the frame.
- Protection from weeds—If you thoroughly weed the ground beneath your raised bed before you build it and watch out for dandelion spores, weeds will have a harder time getting into your plant patch.
Improving your garden can easily be done frugally. Making use of mulch is an inexpensive way to improve the health of your plants, and raised beds provide several benefits at a low price.
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