Thursday, May 28, 2009

Frugal Gardening Tips + Free Organic Gardening Magazine

Raise your hand if you're planning a garden this year! Some of you may have already started because you're in a much warmer climate than us....but I did go purchase my starter plants on Memorial Day at Lowe's. Yes, not the most frugal way to start but I did use my $10/$50 Lowe's purchase coupon from the Lowe's insert 2 weeks ago. Last year we tried to start our plants from seed with very little success and ended up buying many of our plants anyway. So, as I wait for this hopefully LAST NY cold snap to pass, I have been gathering frugal gardening tips to help us along the way. Here are a few gathered from around the web and from my own experience. Please feel free to add your tips to comment section!

Get a free 12-month subscription to Organic Gardening when you become a My Stonyfield Community Member. Click here to sign up. Hurry! Offer expires 5/29!

Instead of purchasing compost and fertilizer from Garden stores, ask a local farm if they have any for sale. They usually have large piles and will allow you to take some for just a few dollars or for FREE! ( I took this advice and told my mom about it. She has a friend who owns a farm and he said to bring some buckets and help ourselves!

The Happy Housewife has instructions for a DIY compost bin here. This is the simplest one I've come across and I can't wait to try it! Others are just starting a compost pile in the backyard with their eggshells, coffee grounds, shredded papers and newspapers, fruit rinds, etc. You can use anything that's not meaty or bony (they will attract animals).

Milk Jug Irrigation: Save your old milk jugs and juice containers (plastic, clear ones). Poke small holes in the bottom, fill them with water and set them next to your plants. They will slowly water your plants all day long.

Milk Jugs also act as mini greenhouses. Cut off the tops and use them to start your seeds.Put the tops back on (duct tape into place) and you have a great place to get your plants going. You can start several seeds in one milk jug.

Share plants. My neighbor has given me tons of flowers that she's dug up from her own garden. My dad has an over-abundance of daylilies in his yard and we just go dig up what we need and use them to border the sides of our house. Check Craigslist ( for people giving away plants, flowers, wood chips, anything you might be able to use in your own garden.

Use newspaper and pine needles for mulch. Need pine needles? Stop by my house anytime! I never knew about this use for pine needles....I've got a never-ending supply of these!

Before you drain the kiddie pool, have the children use their buckets to water your garden with the water. Fun for them - since they usually hear, "No water out of the pool!"

Use vinegar to kill weeds. White vinegar is usually pretty inexpensive at Wal-mart and Aldi's. Spray it directly on the weeds, not the surrounding plants as it will kill all plants it comes into contact with. This might be a great solution for the area in between the stones for our front walkway!

Scarecrows really work in the garden! We tried everything last year to keep pests out of our garden (like a woodchuck, deer and rabbits that just loved eating our plants before the veggies even grew). We placed the small scarecrows that we decorate in the Fall with (and bought at the $1 store) into the garden and the animals stopped eating our plants!

On another note, deer do not like the smell of humans...they are trained to go the other way if they sense one. Use human hair clippings as a border around your gardens to keep deer from eating away at your plants. Ask a local barber shop or hair salon for their hair clippings.

Freebies from Landscape firms. Check out a great article here. You may be able to bargain with local Landscapers to get their clippings for free! They avoid dump fees and you gain free plants!

Have any other frugal gardening tips? Please leave a comment!
This post is linked to Frugal Friday at Life as Mom here. Hop on over to see more great Frugal Friday Ideas!


  1. Great tips! I have been having problems with deer in my garden. I may have to consider the hair thing.

  2. Our main pest on the garden is slugs! think it's time for some beer traps!
    We bought our compost bin cheap. It's a local scheme that's trying to get compost bins into every garden. We got it for about 1/4 the price a similar one would be in the gardening store.

  3. These are great tips, and most are new to me. Thanks! I've been looking for a way to deter the neighborhood rabbits from my garden, but I hadn't thought about using a scarecrow.

  4. great tips and yes the milk jugs work but I remember my grandparents using the milk cartons to help keep plants upright as well