Even if the yard and garden are small, it is quite easy to end up spending large amounts of money on the yard, flowerbeds and garden. With the economy what it is, many people don’t have the money to spend. Indeed, many people garden primarily to save money on food costs. Thankfully, there are a few simple tricks that are designed specifically to save money on taking care of the yard, flowerbeds and garden.
To have healthy plants, it is a good idea to give them a proper amount of water. A sprinkler will work well in watering most of the outdoor plants, yet there is still the issue of making sure that they get the right amount of water. There are commercial rain gauges that can be purchased that are made for this. Some of them are quite inexpensive, though they also fall apart easily. There are some that are more durable, but more cost-prohibitive, too. You can make your own at virtually no expense, though. In fact, they are so cheap and easy that you can make several and if one becomes damaged, there is little problem with throwing it away and making another.
Start by saving one or more of the 8-oz tomato sauce cans as you’ve used the contents. Wash the can thoroughly, inside and out, then make a mark halfway between the top and bottom of the can, with a permanent marker. You now have a homemade water gauge. The can is about two inches tall (about five centimeters), and the mark at the halfway point will let you know when an inch of water has been delivered. Simply put it where you are sprinkling and check the can periodically.
A garden hose doesn’t last forever, but it is amazing, how many garden hoses are thrown away every year. At the same time, people often spend quite a bit on soaker hoses; the sort that deliver a spray from the hose. Locally, a 25 foot soaker hose is selling for about $30. You might see where I’m going with this. Check with friends and neighbors and if any of them are going to be replacing their garden hose, ask if you can have the old one. Once you have it, along the last two-thirds of it’s length, toward the male end, puncture the hose using a small-diameter nail so there is a hole about every inch or so. Fold the final inch or two of the male end of the hose over and clamp it, using an inexpensive automotive hose clamp. These often sell for fifty cents or less. That expense is what you just paid for a homemade soaker hose.
If the hose is being discarded because of a split, you can even cut the hose off at that point, fold it over, clamp it and still make a soaker hose out of the rest of it. This is also a great way to get more use out of a garden hose you were planning on replacing and if such is the case, you don’t even need to ask someone else for their old hose.
Tree brace protector
The hose can be used in another way, too, and you can even use a part that has a split in it. If you have any young trees that need to be braced, drive a 2 x 2 on either side of the tree, or three of them in a triangle, about two feet away from the tree so it won’t interfere with the roots. Next, run some wire through a section of the hose. Wrap this in a loop around the brace and the tree, on both sides, with the hose next to the tree. The wire alone will usually cut into the bark of the tree, damaging it. However, the hose protects the tree while still giving it support. This is great for newly planted saplings and the cost is just that of the wire.
Some garden plants, such as tomatoes, produce an extensive root system. The problem then becomes one of getting water deep, to all the roots. While you could saturate the ground around the tomato with three or four inches of water, to make sure that it soaks down to the deeper roots, there is an easier and cheaper alternative. Take one quart juice cans, cut off the tops, wash them thoroughly, punch holes in the bottom with a nail and bury them into the ground so only an inch or so is above the surface. Plant the tomato seedling next to the can. Burying the can and planting the seedling can be done at the same time so the tomato isn’t disturbed as it is growing. You can then deep water by pouring water into the can. An empty two-liter pop bottle can also be used, by cutting off the top and punching holes in the bottom.
These are only four money saving tips. There are others. The point is that gardening can be expensive, but if you don’t have a lot of money to work with, there are ways to cut the expenses. Gardening doesn’t have to be an expensive venture.
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Posted in food and plants and tagged cheap, cutting expenses, garden hose, gardening, tree, tricks by rextrulove with 19 comments.