Gardening Tips to Save You Some Green

Posted on 04/03/2008

You know it's time to get back out in the garden when flowers start to bloom and Sears puts lawnmowers on sale. If the thought of investing big bucks into making your lawn magazine-worthy makes you feel a little blue, here are some gardening tips to help save you some green.

1. Use less water. Water costs money. Therefore using less of it will cost you less money. (Sounds pretty logical, right?) So if you're wondering how to use less water in your lawn, try watering it during the cooler hours of the day. This will reduce the amount of evaporation. Another way to save water is to stop watering the street or sidewalk. Sounds simple enough, but the Environmental Protection Agency says Americans use an average of 100 gallons of water each day — that's enough to fill 1,600 drinking glasses! And don't just conserve water because Al Gore told you to. Do it because it'll save you money.

2. Mulch it real good. Mulch isn't just about making your yard look pretty, it serves a few purposes. One of those is that when it is put around plants and trees it helps prevent evaporation (see #1) and it deters weeds that will steal valuable water from your plants. Check with your local tree companies. They may deliver some mulch to you for free.

3. Start from scratch. Remember that proverb, give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime? The same works for tomatoes. Buy a tomato at the grocery store and you'll have one batch of salsa; plant a tomato seed and you'll have a lifetime supply of salsa. Pick up a pack of seeds and go to town. One packet can produce 30-40 plants. Same with other vegetables that will work in your area.

4. Reduce your fertilizer use. The more you fertilize the more water you need (see #1) and fertilizer can also be quite costly. Make your own by starting a compost pile. Build some walls out of old 2x4's or chicken wire. Throw in leaves, grass clippings, and even coffee grounds. Turn the pile over every once in a while and soon you'll have free fertilizer.

By Alison Storm

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