Living frugal. Whether you do it because you have to or because you prefer to spend wisely, we can all agree that everyone has their tips and tricks for saving money.
This week we're going back to the topic of gardening. Once you have your garden going, how do you frugally keep it going avoiding pests and problems?
Summer is in the air and if you have a garden the sound of you cursing the local wildlife may be in the air as well. Home gardens are not only a great hobby, but you also can save a little at the store when you grow your own vegetables once you have that smorgasbord out there the furry locals may visit as well to help themselves.
Thus far this year I’ve learned that having metallic pinwheels that cost maybe $1 each from a local drug store keep animals from eating my impatients. How did I find this out? The flowers in one planter were eaten while ones in the other (with the pinwheels) were not touched. I put a few pinwheels in the garden and can honestly say that I have spinach, cucumbers and sunflowers growing happily.
Another tip I read about and tried was about putting baby food jars on sticks stuck in the ground. Supposedly if these jars are at the eye level of garden ‘pests’ the light reflections keep them away.
Is it a coincidence or does this actually stuff work? For a few bucks it’s worth a shot.
Used coffee grounds are also great for garden soil. When the grounds are added to the soil they add nitrogen as they decompose. You only need to add an inch or so at a time around a plant (never directly at the base of the plant but maybe a ½-inch away) and even better – you can get free used grounds from some local coffee houses. Starbucks has a program where you can walk in and ask for a bag for free so next time you head to your favorite coffee spot, request the grounds on the side.
What's more frugal than using what you already have around the house. If you drink milk in your household don't throw that milk container away just yet - fill it with water and use that diluted milk and water mixture to water your plants. Besides nutrients, milk can also help prevent and cure some fungus problems plants are susceptible to. Last summer it worked on curing powderly mildew on my squash plants. A spray bottle full of diluted milk every few days in the morning hours helped save two of my three plants. Could I have gone to the garden store to buy something? Sure, but we're talking frugality here.
If slugs are a problem in your garden; use crushed eggshells around tender plants to kill them and you fertilize your soil at the same time. Copper pot scrubbers are known to work as well since apparently, slugs are not fans of copper.
Another frugal and eco-friendly way to keep bugs away is to plant mint. Spearmint especially is a great natural bug repellent. Plant some in your garden (in a container since mint is known for its ability to take over an area). Even just putting plain mint mouthwash in a spray bottle to be used as a bug spray supposedly works! I’ll be trying that on my next camping trip.
If you’re not a fan of mint planting, garlic can help prevent insects in the garden as can rosemary and sage.
Check your local plant nursery or home store for an assortment of herbs, vegetables and fruit plants ready to be planted in your garden. It's far from being too late to start - you could even start to plan out your fall/winter garden now.