It depends on exactly where you live and what you want to plant but it is garden planning time for some folks! These gardening tips are by Catherine Klabunde. Catherine and Neal Klabunde are the owners of Gardening at the Crossroads, a web site for gardeners of all types. Sign up for their newsletter and receive a free report on composting for the home gardener.
Gardening Tips- Save Money By Growing Your Own Garden
Your local independent garden center can help you determine what grows best in your area. County agricultural extension services can also help. If you plan on freezing or canning some of your crops, plan ahead so that you are not overwhelmed when they are ready to pick.
1. Have a plan and a budget. The easiest way to overspend is to go into the garden center without a plan. Before you know it, you’ve spent $100 on 42 tomato plants, 29 packets of seeds, and those cute pink garden clogs.
2. Grow what your family likes. Plan your garden around the vegetables your family likes. We like beets, but our daughter’s don’t. On the other hand they like green beans so we plant fewer beets and more beans.
3. Grow what does well in your area. Just because you like guacamole, don’t try growing avocados in New England.
4. Start your own plants. Starting your plants indoors can save you lots of money. Seeds are inexpensive and you can recycle plastic containers to plant them in. Gallon milk jugs make excellent mini-greenhouses when you cut them around the middle 3 or 4 inches from the bottom.
5. Mulch with materials from your home. Newspapers, grass clippings, and last year’s leaves all make great mulches to help hold moisture and keep weeds to a minimum.
6. Plant in succession. Don’t plant crops such as lettuce, green beans, and other short growing period crops all at once. Plant some every week or so that there is always a fresh crop ready to pick.
7. Follow the season. Cool weather crops such as broccoli, cabbage and spinach don’t like the heat of July and August. Plant these so that they are maturing in spring and fall for the best results.
More Gardening Tips for New Gardeners
1. Don’t plant in rows. Most beginning gardeners plant their seeds in rows because they’ve always seen it done that way. Instead, plant your seeds or plants in wide rows with the plants spaced diagonally in a grid pattern. You will be able to grow more in a smaller space.
2. Make your own compost. Save any plant matter such as leaves, grass clippings, and kitchen waste (vegetable trimmings, coffee grounds, egg shells, etc.). Compost does wonderful things for your garden’s soil.
3. If you need basic tools, look for them at garage sales or flea markets. Don’t go overboard by buying tools such as roto-tillers that are better off rented. These can easily drive the cost of your garden up. Better yet, look into the various methods of “no-till” gardening to save work, time, and money.