4 Money-Saving Tips for Organic Gardeners
If your love for gardening is bigger than your budget, you are not alone. A quick trip to your local nursery or garden center for plants and other supplies can add up to hundreds of dollars before you know it.
Fortunately, you don’t need to sacrifice this month’s grocery budget in exchange for a bountiful harvest later. There are plenty of ways you can plant an amazing garden without breaking the bank.
Here are 4 money-saving organic gardening tips to help you get started:
Tip #1: Make Your Own Garden Compost
Buying bags of quality garden soil, compost, and fertilizer can add up quickly. A more affordable solution is to make your own nutrient-rich compost at home.
Simply add your organic kitchen scraps, grass clippings, fall leaves, and other suitable material to your compost heap and turn it every two or three weeks to keep it aerated. Keep it moist while it “cooks” and let nature do the rest. Before you know it, you’ll have plenty of rich, dark organic compost to use in your garden.
For more details on creating your own high-quality compost at home, check out All Year Gardening Composting
Tip #2: Grow New Plants from Cuttings
Without question, buying new plants can get expensive. Fortunately, some garden favorites, such as tomatoes and peppers, can be propagated by taking cuttings from the mature plants and rooting them in loose potting medium.
Then, once the cuttings establish roots, you can plant the rooted cutting in your garden just as you would any other plant.
If you have a long enough growing season and the right kind of plants, this is a great way to build up your garden from just a few healthy plants. This process takes some time and effort, but it can definitely save you some cash.
Tip #3: Collect and Grow from Seeds
Another money-saving tip is to collect and save seeds from your favorite organic heirloom vegetables from year to year. It’s easy to harvest seeds from many popular veggies, including cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers. However, you’ll want to do some online research on each type of seed you collect to learn how to properly store and prepare them for planting the following year.
NOTE: Although you can collect and grow new plants from hybrid seeds, you’ll achieve more consistent results with heirloom varieties.
Learn how to grow tomatos from seed, “Three best kitchen garden tomato varieties and how to grow from a seed.”
Tip #5: Participate in Seed Swaps
Another fun and easy way to save money on your organic vegetable garden is to host a seed swap with your garden-loving friends and family members. Everyone brings their extra seeds and trades them for something else they want. This is a fun way to share your extra seeds with others while gaining interesting new varieties for your own garden.
For Healthier Organic Plants, Do This…
One very common organic gardening myth is that you should always add fertilizer, compost, or other amendments to your planting holes while planting your garden. This is another bit of advice that seems perfectly logical on the surface. Why wouldn’t you want to give your plants a little extra boost to get them off to a strong start?
In some scenarios, this is not a great idea. Here’s why…
You want your plants to develop a healthy, well-developed root system, which means you want to encourage the roots to branch out in all directions as the plant matures.
One of the best ways to accomplish this is to plant in healthy soil that has already been amended with plenty of rich organic compost and fertilizer.
In this environment, your plants’ roots can find the nutrients they need throughout the entire growing area.
However, if your overall soil quality is poor and you provide a welcoming oasis of nutrient-rich amended soil only within the planting hole, the roots will be inclined to stay where the good stuff is, rather than spreading out into the surrounding area.
This is particularly true with heavy, compacted clay soil. If you dig a hole and add rich compost and other amendments to it without working it into the surrounding soil, you’ll create a small, isolated zone for your roots, while the surrounding area traps excess water inside. This is a perfect scenario for developing root rot and other problems.
The Egg Shell Organic Gardening Myth
This myth involves guessing what your plants and soil need verses identifying what the actual issue is.
For example, one version of this myth is to add eggshells before planting tomatoes to prevent blossom end rot. This issue is caused by a calcium deficiency within the plant, so the reasoning is that adding a source of calcium before planting will eliminate the problem.
However, your soil may not actually have a calcium deficiency in the first place. Many calcium-related plant problems, including blossom end rot, are often caused by the plant’s inability to absorb calcium efficiently, rather than a lack of calcium in the soil. You could add calcium to the soil all day and still have issues. Plus, if you end up adding too much calcium to the mix, it can interfere with how your plants absorb other vital nutrients in the process.
Granted the amount of calcium in a few crushed eggshells isn’t likely to make this happen, but it helps illustrate the point that sometimes the actual issue is coming from somewhere else. Tossing some crushed eggshells in while planting likely won’t cause any harm, but you may still face the disappointment of losing your tomatoes if you don’t address the actual issue before it appears.
Fortunately, an inexpensive home soil test should tell you what, if any, amendments your soil actually needs. This step will save you a lot of guesswork and frustration later.
New Organic Gardening – Make a Lasagna Garden Bed
You may also want to consider planting your organic vegetable garden in raised or lasagna-style garden beds. New techniche for organic gardening How to Make a Lasagna Garden Bed. By building your garden beds up, verses digging down to create them, you’ll find it is much easier to provide nutrient-rich soil across your entire planting bed rather than in isolated planting areas.
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