gardening http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3170/all en-US 8 Creative Ways to Save Money on Food http://www.wisebread.com/8-creative-ways-to-save-money-on-food <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-creative-ways-to-save-money-on-food" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_groceries_000031273782.jpg" alt="Family learning bizarre ways to save money on food" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As I am now a single dad, I am always looking for ways to cut my grocery bill. Obviously I avoid eating out a lot, skip fast food, and clip coupons. But I started to wonder, are there other ways to save money on food, perhaps weird or bizarre ways, that I haven't tried? So, I started digging, and indeed found some ways to cut my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-save-on-groceries-in-a-pinch">grocery budget</a> that I have never really considered before. Here are my top eight tips.</p> <h2>1. Buy Unconventional Cuts of Meat</h2> <p>You can make some very delicious and nutritious recipes on the cheap if you opt for meat options that make most people think twice. For instance, oxtail is a very tasty cut that is just as it is described &mdash; it's the tail of the cattle. Many high-end restaurants will serve oxtail, often braised in red wine, but most supermarkets won't even bother putting it out on display. Ask the butcher if he or she has any; they'll give you an insanely good deal on it. Other cuts worth investigating including tripe, liver, kidneys, hearts, tongue, chicken feet, and even brains. And if you're a fish lover, try fish heads. They provide great flavors for soups and stews.</p> <h2>2. Become a Suburban Farmer</h2> <p>You do not need to have a farm the size of Old MacDonald's to take advantage of homegrown fruits and vegetables; you can even start with a window box. But when I considered how much water and fertilizer the lawn was using (here in Colorado in the summer, it gets very dry), I thought there would be a better use for those resources. It does not take a lot of time, money, or effort to convert some of your garden into an area for growing herbs, vegetables, and fruits. If you check your local regulations, you may even be able to keep chickens, goats, or other farm animals. Goats are natural lawn mowers, and provide milk that you can use to make delicious cheese.</p> <h2>3. Use ALL of the Chicken</h2> <p>When I used to buy a chicken or turkey, I would strip away the meat from the bones and throw away the carcass. I never thought about using the bones. But, I found out that not only are the bones good for stock (I had always bought it in cans or boxes), but the actual bones can be used in your own vegetable garden (see above). Once the bones have been used for your stock, put them in the microwave for about three minutes to dry them out. Then, crush them in a pestle and mortar (or improvise your own) and add in some eggshells and calcium. Then, sprinkle on your garden. Not one piece of that chicken carcass goes to waste.</p> <h2>4. Seek Out Expired, Dented, and Labelless Cans and Packaged Goods</h2> <p>Supermarkets are way too efficient at dumping recently expired foods, but they're not perfect. If they haven't already been thrown in the dumpsters, you can find these expired products lurking on the shelves. Talk to the manager and they will almost always give you a great deal, as they know they will only be throwing it away later. You can usually get great discounts on dinged and dented cans, and if you find a can without a label, you'll get it for a heavy discount (or even free). Of course, you have no idea what's in it, so you'll have to be a whiz with making up recipes. Also look for meats that are about to expire the next day, and produce that is past its prime.</p> <h2>5. Learn Butchering Skills</h2> <p>There is a reason bone-in meat is a lot cheaper than the boned variety; it takes the butcher time, and effort, to remove the bones from chicken and turkeys, rib eye steaks, and countless other meat cuts. So, why not learn how to butcher them yourself? Bone-in chicken thighs can cost as little as 99 cents per pound, whereas the same chicken boned can be upwards of $4 per pound. There are instructional videos online, and with a sharp knife and plenty of practice you can save a lot of money by simply doing the job of the butcher in your own kitchen.</p> <h2>6. Shop Late on Wednesdays</h2> <p>One day of the week is better for the rest when it comes to grocery store bargains; that day is Wednesday. Why? Well, according to the experts at MyGroceryDeals.com, most grocery stores will mail out their sales flyers so that they're in your mailbox on Tuesday evening. That means you'll be going shopping on Wednesday with new sales to take advantage of, BUT the store will also honor last week's sales as well. That's twice the bargains. And if you go later at night, you can grab those reductions that are about to be applied to the meats, cheeses, and other perishable items.</p> <h2>7. Hit the Dumpsters</h2> <p>Okay, just hear this out. You would be amazed at the amount of good-quality food that supermarkets and other food establishments throw away. It has become so prevalent that the &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/encounter-with-a-freegan">freeganism</a>&quot; movement (reclaiming food that has been discarded) is growing at a rapid rate. Once stores throw food into the dumpsters, it is fair game, and you can take advantage of that by grabbing completely edible food for the bargain price of $0.</p> <p>You do have to follow a few guidelines though. Don't look at the sell-by or best-before dates; those are arbitrary and most likely the food will have been thrown away because it has expired. Instead, use your sense. Smell the items, feel them, and see if everything looks good. Often, fruits and vegetables are thrown away because they do not look perfect. It's probably best to avoid meats, unless you really are confident that it is safe to eat.</p> <h2>8. Shop at Ethnic Grocery Stores</h2> <p>There is a local Asian market in my neck of the woods called H-Mart, and I love it. I used to go there for the bulk rice, soy sauce, and sesame oil, but now I buy a lot of produce and other goods there. For starters, the produce they have is way cheaper than in the stores you would usually shop in, and it is often bigger and fresher. They also have a much more exciting and varied meat and seafood section, stocking many of those unconventional cuts I mentioned earlier. The only thing you should really avoid here are the products you would buy in places like Walmart and Target, like cereals, jams, condiments, and so on. They seem to be more expensive. Other than that, you really can't lose.</p> <p><em>What's your most unconventional way to save money on groceries? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-creative-ways-to-save-money-on-food">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-more-tips-for-eating-in-restaurants-and-sticking-to-a-budget">Five More Tips For Eating In Restaurants And Sticking To A Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fresh-fruits-and-vegetables-by-the-month">Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, By the Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-family-lives-well-and-even-owns-a-home-on-just-11-an-hour">How One Family Lives Well (And Even Owns a Home) on Just $11 an Hour</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-ways-to-get-these-8-expensive-indulgences">Cheap Ways to Get These 8 Expensive Indulgences</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-cheap-or-free-ways-to-make-the-most-of-the-weekend">40+ Cheap or Free Ways to Make the Most of the Weekend</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Food and Drink butchering gardening grocery stores saving money shopping Mon, 29 Jun 2015 15:00:14 +0000 Paul Michael 1467220 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 DIY Landscaping and Gardening Skills That Will Save You Money http://www.wisebread.com/9-diy-landscaping-and-gardening-skills-that-will-save-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-diy-landscaping-and-gardening-skills-that-will-save-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_daughter_gardening_000019625064.jpg" alt="Mother and daughter using gardening skills to save money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Like most activities, a little planning and preparation will save you money in the garden. Why? Because many of the tasks that help make a garden grow need to be completed weeks, or months, before you actually begin planting. Planning your garden in advance will give you an edge over nature (which will do its best to destroy your garden) and will save you some serious money.</p> <p>The following nine skills will help you to plan, plant, and enjoy a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow">healthy garden</a> (while saving some money, too).</p> <h2>1. Soil Analysis</h2> <p>Okay, you're not expected to become an actual expert on soil pH, but if you doubt that your soil provides ideal growing conditions for the plants you intend to grow, it would behoove you to test your soil's pH before planting your garden. You can either use a <a href="http://preparednessmama.com/testing-your-soil-ph-without-a-kit/">DIY soil pH test</a> or buy a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0001LEPYA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0001LEPYA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=W2QZBKKFSEYAQTKG">soil pH kit</a> online or from your local hardware store. Once you know if your soil is acidic, neutral, or alkaline, you can <a href="http://www.almanac.com/content/ph-preferences">plant your garden according to pH</a>, or try to <a href="http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-adjust-soil-ph-for-your-garden.html">change your soil's pH</a> to meet your plants' needs.</p> <p>Also, being able to ascertain if your soil type meets the needs of the plants you are sowing can save you time and money in the long run. What kind of soil do you have in your garden? Knowing which of the six types of soil that you are dealing with can help you better plan and plant your garden so that you don't lose any plants to soil compatibility problems. Soil type can vary even within your yard, and will determine, as much as sunlight, what kinds of plants are successful in a given spot.</p> <p>Of course, you can always alter soil by removing or adding elements. If you have soil that is too sandy for your needs, you can remove some of the sand, and add silt and clay to it to aid water retention and infuse nutrients.</p> <p>Speaking of nutrients, you can save lots of money if you do your own&hellip;</p> <h2>2. Composting (or Worm Binning)</h2> <p>Composting is a great way to reuse yard waste, lawn clippings, and food stuff that you might normally throw away and turn it into nutrients for your garden. Yes, of course you can buy commercially produced compost, but if you have the space and the time, why not DIY it and save some money?</p> <p>Composting can be a bit smelly, but there are ways to <a href="http://citygirlfarming.com/Compost/ControlCompostOdor.html">compost while minimizing odors</a>.</p> <p>Composting is fairly easy to get started, and will provide you with plenty of excellent, nutrient-rich soil for your garden. To be ready for spring planting, start your compost bin/pile in early autumn.</p> <h2>3. Sun Exposure Charting</h2> <p>Another key consideration when planning your garden is to determine how many hours of daily sunlight each part of your garden receives. My neighbors, recent transplants from Southern California, recently planted a bunch of shade-loving plants in their front yard, assuming that because we live in a mossy, rainy area, those were the types of plants that would do best. What they didn't consider is that, during the summer months, their front yard receives about six hours of direct sunlight per day.</p> <p>You can use <a href="http://getbusygardening.com/how-to-determine-sun-exposure/">DIY sun exposure charts</a> to determine how much sun your garden receives, or buy a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002XZLLXU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002XZLLXU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=KBQYAAZ5OVB2FZBZ">sunlight meter</a> for less than $20 and let the little machine do the work for you. Once you have your garden mapped for sun exposure, you can plan for your plants.</p> <h2>4. Seed Germination</h2> <p>Buying seeds is a smart way to save money, especially if you buy them on sale at the end of summer and plant them the next year. Seed starts are usually much cheaper than buying grown plants or seedlings (although this depends on the size of your garden; if it's quite small, buying grown plants might make more sense). Buying seeds also gives you the option to seek out unusual or heirloom varieties of the flowers, fruits, and vegetables that can't necessarily be found in plant form at your local nursery.</p> <p>Some plants can be sown directly into your garden soil, and other seeds need to be germinated inside and transplanted as seedlings after the final frost. Make sure to read the instructions on the packet of each type of seed that you buy to understand the best way to plant.</p> <h2>5. Planter Building</h2> <p>If you want a slightly more ergonomic garden (and a leg up on pest control), you'd be smart to consider <a href="http://thepioneerwoman.com/homeandgarden/2011/02/build-your-own-raised-flowervegetable-bed/">building raised garden beds</a> yourself. If you can't stand the thought of doing this, you can always <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=raised%20garden%20bed&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;sprefix=raise%2Caps&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=4RAQVJDG4GOMPUPD">buy raised garden beds</a>, but trust me, building them is much cheaper.</p> <h2>6. Diligent Pest Control</h2> <p>I have to be honest &mdash; I'm perfectly comfortable using chemical sprays and slug death pellets in my garden, because I've had no luck with copper tape or bug traps. Whatever your preferences for pest control (organic and earth-friendly pest control or <em>death-to-bugs</em>-type methods), pest control is a money-saver. After all, letting all your veggies succumb to some creepy-crawly insect isn't a wise investment of time or cash.</p> <p>Veggie gardeners who prefer natural pest control methods report success when planting flowers like zinnias, nasturtiums, calendula, cosmos, and sweet alyssum in their vegetable gardens. These plants attract predator bugs that take out annoying pests like tomato hornworms and aphids. You can buy batches of ladybugs online and in garden stores, too.</p> <h2>7. Pollenating</h2> <p>You've probably heard about the significant decline in the bee population. If you want your trees and bushes to bear fruit, you're going to need pollinators like bees and moths to visit your garden. You can attract these helpful insects by <a href="http://www.gardeners.com/how-to/attracting-beneficial-bees/5024.html">planting bee-attracting wildflowers</a> in your garden, either interspersed with your fruits and veggies or alongside them.</p> <p>If you aren't seeing the volume of pollinating insects that you normally do, you can use the trick my husband uses to get our tomatoes to yield more fruit through airborne pollen &mdash; run an electric toothbrush against the back of your blossoms. After all, there are few things more frustrating to a gardener than a paltry tomato crop!</p> <h2>8. Tool Care and Maintenance</h2> <p>You don't have to buy expensive garden tools in order to be a good gardener, but you should treat your gardening implements well in order to keep them in working order for years. I'm a lazy, lazy gardener, and I can attest that having to buy a new shovel every few months is not only costly, but it's also kind of stupid.</p> <p>To keep your garden tools in good working order, remember to clean them, hang them up dry, and occasionally oil what needs oiling. Clean, well-stored tools will continue to work for you season after season.</p> <h2>9. Intelligent Harvesting and Pruning</h2> <p>Part of being a smart gardener is knowing how to care for perennials, and that means learning when and how to prune your plants. Pruning isn't just about keeping plants a manageable size; it's the art of learning what superfluous matter to cut away so that a plant will concentrate its energy on producing what matters most to you &mdash; whether that's fruit, flowers, or perfect leaves.</p> <p>If you are growing food in your garden, you'll want to learn <a href="http://abundantminigardens.com/training-and-pruning-trellised-vegetables/">how to prune your vegetable plants</a> and <a href="http://www.homegrown.org/forum/topics/harvesting-herbs-101-basil-chives-cilantro-coriander-mint-parsley">harvest herbs</a>, fruits, and vegetables in a way that allows the plant to continue growing. For instance, pruning herbs like mint can actually promote more plant growth.</p> <p><em>How green is your garden?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-diy-landscaping-and-gardening-skills-that-will-save-you-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-diy-backyard-home-improvements-that-save-you-big">8 DIY Backyard Home Improvements That Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-fruits-and-veggies-worth-growing-yourself">The Only Fruits and Veggies Worth Growing Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow">10 Edible Garden Plants Anyone Can Grow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-4-things-a-vegetable-garden-needs">The Only 4 Things a Vegetable Garden Needs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-4-get-free-stuff">Getting by without a job, part 4--get free stuff</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Green Living composting flowers gardening outdoors vegetables Fri, 12 Jun 2015 15:00:18 +0000 Andrea Karim 1448400 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 DIY Backyard Home Improvements That Save You Big http://www.wisebread.com/8-diy-backyard-home-improvements-that-save-you-big <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-diy-backyard-home-improvements-that-save-you-big" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_diy_home_improvements_000051008898.jpg" alt="Man saving big with DIY home improvements" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Every year, I draft a grand to-do list for backyard projects. And &mdash; every year &mdash; I barely cross even a few items off this list. Usually my goals are too lofty. Or maybe some of them are frankly too expensive. Whatever the case, I've found the solution. These easy (and cheap) DIY projects are novice-friendly and will transform your outdoor spaces from blah to beautiful. (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-diy-projects-to-make-your-home-look-amazing-and-3-you-shouldnt-try?ref=seealso">17 DIY Projects to Make Your Home Look Amazing</a>)</p> <h2>1. Pallet Deck</h2> <p>Here's yet another awesome use for wood pallets &mdash; <a href="http://hoosierhomemade.com/how-to-build-a-wood-pallet-deck/">make a deck</a>! Pick up however many pallets you want for the size of your deck. Then clean them up, sand them down, and paint for a durable finish. Clear the area you want to stage by removing the grass, weeds, and debris. Lay concrete blocks in the soil &mdash; four feet apart &mdash; before setting your pallets on top. Grab your chairs, decorate, and enjoy!</p> <h2>2. Paver Patio</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.bhg.com/home-improvement/patio/installation-how-to/diy-paver-patio/">paver patio</a> project takes a bit more patience, but it will pay off. You'll first clear the area and tamp the soil so it's firm and level. Lay landscape fabric, crushed stones, and sand over the area to prevent weeds from peeking through the stones. Then it's time to lay the pavers. You can rent a brick cutter or just lay whole bricks and stones. Whatever you do, position pavers no more than ⅛ inch apart. Total cost? $550 with all supplies.</p> <h2>3. Garden Fountain</h2> <p>There's nothing better than listening to the sound of running water outdoors. Try making this <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Garden-Fountain-Out-of-Well-Anythi/">DIY garden fountain</a> out of, well, anything. The schematic might look a little intimidating, but it's basically a basin for your water with a pump and decorative &quot;sculpture&quot; that the water flows through. You can find a pump at most garden stores, just make sure you get one that's labeled &quot;submersible.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Raised Beds</h2> <p>Create a garden out of nothing with this <a href="http://www.chrislovesjulia.com/2013/05/our-diy-raised-garden-beds.html">raised garden bed</a> project. This couple built a whopping <em>five </em>cedar beds for around $100. You'll make all your cuts before assembling the boxes using galvanized screws. The mitered frame is completely optional, but it definitely gives the beds that finished touch. Then excavate the ground, fill with dirt, and get planting.</p> <h2>5. Fire Pit</h2> <p>My husband and I want to build a <a href="http://www.bowerpowerblog.com/2013/04/its-the-pits/">fire pit</a> in our backyard. First, you'll want to check with your local government to make sure open flame fires are permitted in your neighborhood. From there, you need a metal ring, retaining wall blocks, drainage gravel, decorative rocks, and outdoor construction adhesive. After choosing your pit's location, you'll dig out the area and tamp the dirt. Lay your gravel around the metal ring. Then surround with the blocks, which you'll fasten together with the adhesive.</p> <h2>6. Stepping Stones</h2> <p>Get this! You can make these cute <a href="http://www.intimateweddings.com/blog/how-to-make-stepping-stones-with-a-cake-pan/">stepping stones</a> in a cake pan. No, really. You'll first want to gather some decorative mosaic glass or even smashed china for flair. Cut out a piece of contact paper, and arrange your glass in a pattern inside the pan. Slap on some gloves, mix together concrete, and cut out some metal mesh to give your stone stability. Scoop in a layer of concrete, lay the mesh, and finish with more concrete. Let sit for two days before removing.</p> <h2>7. Compost Bin</h2> <p>Many store-bought compost bins cost a pretty penny. This <a href="http://savvysavingcouple.net/2013/01/21/diy-how-to-make-your-own-compost-bin-for-under-5/">DIY compost bin</a> is well within most anyone's budget at just $5. Heck, you may even have the materials you need sitting in your garage. Take an 18 gallon plastic bin (with top) and drill 5/16 inch holes about two inches apart in all directions. Then add kitchen scraps, leaves, paper, and a scoop of soil to get started. You should have rich compost in around five weeks.</p> <h2>8. Privacy Screens</h2> <p>Our neighbors' yard (and all their stuff) is right next to our deck. So, we'd love to build a few of these quick <a href="http://www.hometalk.com/2087206/how-to-make-an-easy-patio-privacy-screen-step-by-step-tutorial">privacy screens</a> to give us all some space. The tutorial is so easy, I may even try constructing it completely on my own. And at just $30, I figure it's worth a try. You'll take standard wooden lattice panels and build frames for them. Then screw in some hooks to hang. It's as simple as that. I might paint mine for some extra oomph.</p> <p><em>What's on your backyard to-do list this year?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-diy-backyard-home-improvements-that-save-you-big">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper - Updated</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-diy-landscaping-and-gardening-skills-that-will-save-you-money">9 DIY Landscaping and Gardening Skills That Will Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-household-fixes-you-should-stop-paying-others-for">5 Household Fixes You Should Stop Paying Others For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-not-do-to-your-yard-this-fall">10 Things You Should NOT Do to Your Yard This Fall</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-gardening-lessons-learned-the-hard-way">10 Gardening Lessons Learned the Hard Way</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home backyard decks gardening landscaping outdoors patios Wed, 13 May 2015 13:00:10 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1415531 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: 14 Urban Gardening Tips http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-14-urban-gardening-tips <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-14-urban-gardening-tips" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/women_urban_garden_000053690034.jpg" alt="Two women sharing their best urban gardening tips" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on urban gardening tips, awesome products that will improve your life, and budget-friendly gifts you can make for Mother&rsquo;s Day.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.urbanorganicgardener.com/2015/04/14-urban-gardening-tips-that-will-save-you-time-energy-money/">14 Urban Gardening Tips That Will Save You Time, Energy &amp; Money</a> &mdash; Spray vegetable oil on the line on your string trimmer before installing it to keep it from jamming or breaking. [Urban Organic Gardener]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Cool-Products-35262431">33 Awesome Products That Will Vastly Improve Your Life</a> &mdash; Save time in the kitchen with a foldable chopping board that comes with holes for rinsing. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.papernstitchblog.com/2015/05/05/21-totally-awesome-budget-friendly-mothers-day-diys-to-try">21 Budget-Friendly Mother&rsquo;s Day DIYs to Try Before Sunday</a> &mdash; Want to treat your mom to something special? Make candied blood oranges! [Paper &amp; Stitch]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneycrush.com/12-money-saving-ideas-for-summertime/">12 Money-Saving Tips to Help You Beat the Summer Heat</a> &mdash; Change or clean your air conditioner's filter every month to make sure it runs efficiently. [Money Crush]</p> <p><a href="http://www.modestmoney.com/how-to-make-sure-your-moneys-safe-while-traveling/">How to Make Sure Your Money&rsquo;s Safe While Traveling</a> &mdash; Make photocopies of the front and back of each credit card you're traveling with. Leave copies with someone at home, and lock additional copies in your hotel room safe. [Modest Money]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.thepennyhoarder.com/turn-loose-change-into-savings">Struggle to Save Regularly? 4 Tools That Turn Loose Change into Savings</a> &mdash; The app Acorns will round up your credit or debit card transactions and invest the change for you. [The Penny Hoarder]</p> <p><a href="http://www.menuism.com/blog/ask-for-menu-modifications/">How to Ask for Menu Modifications Without Being &ldquo;That Guy&rdquo;</a> &mdash; Be specific about your dietary needs and let your server know exactly what you would like to be left out or substituted. [Menuism Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://www.biblemoneymatters.com/4-warning-signs-your-car-is-fueling-a-future-financial-disaster/">4 Warning Signs Your Car Is Fueling A Future Financial Disaster</a> &mdash; Are you taking out a loan that will outlive the car? [Bible Money Matters]</p> <p><a href="http://fitzvillafuerte.com/how-to-find-what-youre-meant-to-do-in-life.html">How To Find What You&rsquo;re Meant To Do in Life</a> &mdash; Try as many things as you can &mdash; don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. [Ready To Be Rich]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/how-to-incorporate-more-romance-into-your-life-as-a-working-dad">How to Incorporate More Romance Into Your Life as a Working Dad</a> &mdash; Spend 15-20 minutes to connect with your partner when you come home, even if you're tired after a long day. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-14-urban-gardening-tips">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-diy-landscaping-and-gardening-skills-that-will-save-you-money">9 DIY Landscaping and Gardening Skills That Will Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow">10 Edible Garden Plants Anyone Can Grow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-helpful-and-weird-uses-for-hair-and-excess-pet-fur">9 Helpful (and Weird) Uses for Hair and Excess Pet Fur</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-mosquito-repellent-plants-with-a-dual-purpose">6 Mosquito-Repellent Plants With a Dual Purpose</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-the-tomatoes-autumn-tips-to-prolong-the-growing-season">Save the Tomatoes! Autumn Tips to Prolong the Growing Season</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living best money tips gardening Thu, 07 May 2015 19:00:15 +0000 Amy Lu 1415282 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Edible Garden Plants Anyone Can Grow http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_and_son_gardening.jpg" alt="family gardening" title="family gardening" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I had given up and admitted defeat. Gardening, I assumed, just wasn't for me. Plants either withered, were destroyed by bugs, or devoured by deer. Anything that lived was tiny and barely edible. I definitely fit the &quot;black thumb&quot; description, and assumed I was doomed to forever forage at the grocery store for produce.</p> <p>And then, we moved. The climate was different. All around me, people were growing fruits and vegetables. Why not give it another shot, I wondered? And so I did. First, I did some research and talked to neighbors. This was followed by years of keeping a garden journal to see what grew, and what did not. Here are my 10 guaranteed successes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-gardening-lessons-learned-the-hard-way?ref=seealso">10 Gardening Lessons Learned the Hard Way</a>)</p> <h2>1. Radishes</h2> <p>If you cannot <a href="http://www.kiddiegardens.com/growing_radishes.html">grow radishes</a>, just give up gardening. Oh, sorry, that's a little harsh. My point is, they <em>will</em> grow unless you just don't water them. If you are an apartment-dweller, they fit nicely in pots.</p> <p>Favorite use? Slice good bread, butter it, and slice radishes over the top. Sprinkle with salt. This is known as a &quot;tartine&quot; in France. While it sounds a little odd, it's really good.</p> <h2>2. Herbs</h2> <p>Coming in at number two are herbs. Grow them indoors, outdoors, in pots, on your fire escape, wherever &mdash; they are programmed to grow, and grow they will. Try chives, dill, cilantro, parsley, basil, and rosemary. Fresh herbs in your cooking (even just tossed into your morning scrambled eggs) makes a huge difference in flavor, and are very inexpensive. I have yet to encounter an herb that refused to grow. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-store-herbs-to-make-them-last-longer-and-taste-better?ref=seealso">How to Keep Herbs Fresh Longer</a>)</p> <p>Favorite uses? With basil, make pesto. Chives are great in rolls and scrambled eggs. Parsley, I love in Italian food, and of course cilantro in Asian and Mexican dishes. Dill is good with potatoes or salmon, while rosemary is a natural in a pork roast. I keep herbs going year-round. They can also be frozen or dried if you get carried away and plant too many. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-delicious-cheap-recipes-that-use-up-your-herb-garden?ref=seealso">Delicious Recipes to Use Up Your Herbs</a>)</p> <h2>3. Squash</h2> <p>Of course, zucchini has become a joke (poor zucchini). Open a door in California in September, and you might find a bag of zucchini that someone has kindly &quot;shared&quot; with you. I have indeed made that mistake of planting too much of it. My father-in-law razzed me for years about my massive zucchini plantings. Well, live and learn, right? If you plant zucchini, my mother-in-law made one of my favorite things, ever. She let the zucchinis grow until they were very large. She then thinly sliced them, dipped them in an egg wash, then cracker crumbs, and fried them in butter. It is one of the best things on the planet.</p> <p>There are many varieties of squash, and they are easy to grow. My main problem with squash are bugs, so I have learned to be vigilant. I currently have starts for kabocha squash going, which are very sweet and versatile. My favorite use of kabocha squash is in a <a href="http://www.chow.com/recipes/30268-thai-red-curry-with-kabocha-squash">Thai red curry</a>. This recipe is very good (add some chicken, if you like), but you may want to dial back the red curry paste.</p> <p>Squash also takes a lot of space. A neighbor solved this problem by showing me how to grow it near a fence. They climb! Squash hanging off of a fence are sort of funny, but it also discourages the bugs, which get to them when they are on the ground.</p> <h2>4. Eggplant</h2> <p>It is a shame that so many people associate this vegetable with soggy, overly-greasy eggplant parmigiana. After reading about some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-tasty-frugal-eggplant-recipes">tasty eggplant recipes</a>, I planted more of it and it's really the gift that keeps on giving. I have had nearly five months' production from my plants and they show no signs of slowing down. I planted three varieties as an experiment; all are thriving. I never have staked mine, as they are very sturdy and no fruit hangs on the ground, but that is recommended.</p> <p>What to do with an eggplant? See the article above. Some people recommend salting the slices to get rid of the bitterness before cooking, but I have not done that and have not noticed any problems. You can make a much <a href="http://www.cookinglight.com/eating-smart/recipe-makeovers/healthy-eggplant-parmesan-recipes">healthier eggplant parmigiana</a> that isn't so oily, but my favorite use is this <a href="http://www.tillysnest.com/2012/09/crock-pot-ratatouille.html">Crock-Pot ratatouille</a>.</p> <h2>5. Green Beans</h2> <p>My husband built a trellis in the garden area, and so I planted pole beans. It was important to me to have a garden area that is aesthetically pleasing. Pole beans are pretty, and once the beans get going, need to be picked frequently. If the beans get too big, they aren't as tasty. Pole beans take a little bit longer than other green bean varieties, but I think they are worth the wait. I love <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/patrick-and-gina-neely/green-beans-and-bacon-recipe.html">green beans with bacon</a>, served alongside some corn bread and stewed tomatoes.</p> <h2>6. Beets</h2> <p>Scarred by bad childhood beets memories, I didn't try them again until I was in my 30s. Now, I love them. I still like the canned ones, but a freshly roasted or boiled beet is a different matter. Roasting especially brings out their sweetness.</p> <p>If you like kale or spinach, do yourself a favor and cook some <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/simple-and-delicious-beet-greens/">beet greens</a> (or &quot;tops,&quot; as they are also termed). It is a shame that many grocery stores cut off the tops. Beets are also a very pretty vegetable because of their deep purples and golds. There is even a variety that is deep pink and white. My favorite roasted beet recipe uses <a href="http://www.sloatgardens.com/recipes/oven-roasted-beets-goat-cheese-balsamic-vinegar/">goat cheese and balsamic vinegar</a>. Be diligent about thinning them in the garden, because they will need room to grow. They also like mulch.</p> <h2>7. Lettuces</h2> <p>I have had the best luck with Boston lettuce, and it is so easy. You will want to make sure your soil has plenty of nitrogen, and that you have partial shade. After your first harvest (in about 30 days), you can look forward to a second round in a few weeks. Don't get carried away planting &mdash; a small seed packet will produce about 50 pounds of leaf lettuce!</p> <p>Your main issue with lettuce will be bugs. Try spraying with a solution of dish soap (just a couple of drops) and water. You will have to repeat after a heavy rain. Fresh lettuce from your garden, or container, is so nice to have on hand.</p> <h2>8. Rainbow Chard</h2> <p>Not only does this vegetable grow easily, but it looks just beautiful in your garden with its stems of vibrant hues. I am looking at mine right now and I can see gold, purple, red, orange, and pink. It is almost too pretty to eat, but not quite. They prefer full sun, but I have grown chard in partial shade. They like grass-clipping compost. My favorite preparation of rainbow chard is to chop off the tough stems, sauté, and drizzle with red-wine vinegar. I think it's also really good in a <a href="http://www.food.com/recipe/crustless-swiss-chard-quiche-311434">chard quiche</a>.</p> <h2>9. Carrots</h2> <p>Successful carrots took me a few years, but that is because I learn things the hard way. They love compost and loose soil; I had too many rocks and tough soil. They grew, but in very strange shapes. I also tended to sow too thickly, which did not give them enough room. Although they take a long time to grow (95 to 100 days), they are much sweeter than grocery-store carrots and you'll quickly become spoiled. You will need to weed around the plants, because weeds just really like to hang out with carrots.</p> <p>How to eat? A German friend taught me this method. Melt butter into a saucepan, and add carrots. Sauté for about four minutes, then add &frac14; cup of beer and cover the saucepan. Cook until just tender and add fresh dill. Delicious!</p> <h2>10. Bok Choy or Chinese Cabbage</h2> <p>My best bok choy year was also my best carrot year, which was no coincidence. Bok choy also enjoys rich, loose soil. It is best grown in spring or fall, because it doesn't like hot sun beating down upon it. As with the carrots, though, be prepared to weed around the plants. I like bok choy at its simplest: Sauteed in a little oil, with garlic.</p> <h2>To Ensure Success</h2> <p>Before planting, we had a soil analysis done at the local university. These can also be done at your local agricultural extension. This was very helpful, and told us just what we needed to add to our soil. We took our print-out to a farm store, where we could pick up bags of recommended nutrients. Our print-out also recommended the best plants to try (which proved completely correct, although I did experiment with others).</p> <p>If you plan to do a big garden, you might as well start a compost bin, since you will need it. I do end up buying cinders and chicken manure every year, but that's not terribly expensive. If you are container-gardening, just be sure to get a good brand of potting soil.</p> <p>My garden journal has also been very helpful. Each year I sketch out what I want to plant, and where. I keep notes about how long things took to grow, and how successful (or not) they were. I also kept photos in the journal so I could have a visual reminder of where plants did particularly well.</p> <p><em>Gardener-readers, with what plants have you had the best luck?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-your-black-thumb-green">How to Turn Your Black Thumb Green</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-diy-landscaping-and-gardening-skills-that-will-save-you-money">9 DIY Landscaping and Gardening Skills That Will Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xeriscaping-to-promote-water-conservation">Xeriscaping to Promote Water Conservation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-4-things-a-vegetable-garden-needs">The Only 4 Things a Vegetable Garden Needs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-native-landscaping-for-your-climate">Going Native: Landscaping for Your Climate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home gardening green thumb recipes vegetables Wed, 18 Mar 2015 17:00:11 +0000 Marla Walters 1345644 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Genius Storage Solutions for Your Garage http://www.wisebread.com/12-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-garage <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-garage" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000041840182_Large.jpg" alt="woman garage bike" title="woman garage bike" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of my favorite features of my new home is an oversized double attached garage. I'm in storage heaven in there, but I know I could be using the space better to accommodate all my different needs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-genius-kitchen-storage-solutions?ref=seealso">15 Genius Kitchen Storage Ideas</a>)</p> <p>Below you'll find a number of ideas &mdash; from broad to specific &mdash; that will help you use your garage space better. Feel free to share your own solutions in the comments.</p> <h2>1. Pipe Rack</h2> <p>A few small pieces of PVC pipe can go a long way toward making <a href="http://www.ashbeedesign.com/2012/05/organizing-tools-with-pvc.html">smart tool storage</a> that will hold up for years to come. The author of this project cut angled pieces of PVC from scraps she had around the house. You can also head to the hardware store and ask an associate to make six inch cuts for you. Then mount and label.</p> <h2>2. Gutter Genius</h2> <p>I've seen a lot of <a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ZwPjpdMjZqk/Uh_yk82mm-I/AAAAAAAAHSs/ym1-DXbl8Cg/s1600/garage+p.jpg">gutter shelf projects</a> for the home, but what's more perfect than making storage shelves for your garage? Go to your hardware store and pick out gutters and end caps in whatever size makes sense for your purpose. Then hang them and fill with paint, caulk, sprays, seeds, whatever.</p> <h2>3. Container Corral</h2> <p>Our attic is full of blown-in insulation, so we don't use it for storage. Instead, we have several rows of basic shelving where we've arranged our plastic containers up and off the ground. For better organization, <a href="http://www.abowlfulloflemons.net/2014/10/garage-organization-part-1.html">label your bins</a> in big, bold letters. I suggest using clear tubs for the most transparency.</p> <h2>4. Mudroom Magic</h2> <p>If you're low on closet space indoors, turn your garage into a <a href="http://www.abowlfulloflemons.net/2014/11/how-to-create-a-garage-mudroom.html">beautiful mudroom</a> with just a few tricks. You'll want some hooks for coats and other apparel. A few hanging baskets to keep umbrellas, bags, and mail in check. The rest is up to you!</p> <h2>5. Peg Rails</h2> <p>This <a href="http://www.marthastewart.com/273114/peg-rail-organizer?xsc=eml_org_2011_03_12">peg-rail organizer</a> is as functional as it is beautiful. You'll hang wooden beams along your wall and then drill holes for your pegs. If you don't have tools or time to do this project yourself, consider buying several long hook or <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=peg%20rail&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=Y7H3CNH2JLZXBUYT">peg rails</a> and arranging them in a couple long rows for the same impact.</p> <h2>6. Toy Tamer</h2> <p>There are a lot of different ways you can approach toy cleanup in your garage. I love these <a href="http://orgjunkie.com/2013/05/organizing-concepts-for-kids-garage-toys-free-printable.html">educational ideas</a> that put some responsibility in your child's hands. For example, tall laundry baskets for sport balls; stackable shelving for bubbles, helmets, and pool toys; and brightly taped off areas for bikes and scooters. The key is keeping everything clearly labeled and encouraging your kids to put their stuff away.</p> <h2>7. Hook Hideaway</h2> <p>The minute we moved in, my husband went out and bought a set of inexpensive <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=gladiator%20hooks&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=VD6DFRTRB7YIBQWX">Gladiator Hooks</a> at the hardware store. There are a number of different ways you can use them, but he arranged them on the studs to get bikes, skis, sleds, folding chairs, and other outdoor items off the floor.</p> <h2>8. Pegboard Pal</h2> <p>One of the best things you can get for your garage (or basement) is a pegboard. After you figure out how high you want to hang your board, you'll make the spot and then drill into the studs using wood screws. Don't forget to level! Then buy some hooks and go crazy.</p> <h2>9. Screw Central</h2> <p>Our garage also serves as our tool storage area. We had inherited an old tool bench at our last house where the original owner had <a href="http://www.chezlarsson.com/myblog/2009/02/screw-organizing.html">organized his screws</a> by placing them in small jars. The cool part? All the tops of the jars were glued (or screwed) to the bottom of a shelf for easy keeping. It's a simple project with big impact.</p> <h2>10. Bungee Corner</h2> <p>Stash all your soccer balls, basket balls, and kick balls in one space <a href="http://100things2do.blogspot.ca/2013/08/organization-ball-storage.html">using bungee cords</a>. The cost of this project was a mere $2. You'll need a wooden frame for the top and bottom of your zone. Then four or five bungee cords stretched between the posts will hold things tightly together.</p> <h2>11. Shoe Win</h2> <p>Those <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001F51AHG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001F51AHG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=P4Y2XDFB63JTZIIU">plastic shoe organizers</a> work in almost every room, and the garage is no exception. Use it to hold spray paint, golf balls, tools, cleaners, and anything else you have in chaos. You don't even need to hang it over a door. Just nail or screw hooks into the wall or use rope to tie it onto a shelving system.</p> <h2>12. Bike Shelf</h2> <p>I love this simple <a href="http://daily.sightline.org/?attachment_id=21734">DIY bike shelf</a>. Cut notches in a fruit crate to accommodate the top tube of your bike. Mount on your wall. You can use the top shelf to store your helmet or any other gear. (And though this storage device would work great in your garage, it would also be perfect for apartment storage!)</p> <p><em>What's your favorite genius garage storage idea?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-garage">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-declutter-and-keep-your-stuff-too">This Is How You Declutter and Keep Your Stuff, Too</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/organize-a-room-for-10-with-no-extra-effort">Organize a Room for $10 with No Extra Effort</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-lose-the-clutter-and-keep-the-memories">9 Ways to Lose the Clutter and Keep the Memories</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-genius-storage-solutions-for-your-home-office">10 Genius Storage Solutions for Your Home Office</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-genius-storage-ideas-for-your-bathroom">20 Genius Storage Ideas for Your Bathroom</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Organization clutter garage gardening storage tools Fri, 06 Feb 2015 12:00:07 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1285072 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Things You Should NOT Do to Your Yard This Fall http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-not-do-to-your-yard-this-fall <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-things-you-should-not-do-to-your-yard-this-fall" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mowing-lawn-166736424-small.jpg" alt="mowing lawn" title="mowing lawn" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The air is starting to chill and the leaves are starting to fall. Pools are coming down, and plans for how to prepare the yard for winter are being made. There is never enough time, it seems, to get everything in order for the new season, but it isn't the occasion to take shortcuts; in fact, skipping out on the proper way to handle your yard and garden could cause big damage come spring. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-improve-the-life-of-your-lawn-mower?ref=seealso">7 Ways to Improve the Life of Your Lawn Mower</a>)</p> <p>Avoid killing your outdoor space for good with these common mistakes.</p> <h2>1. Cut Your Grass Too Short</h2> <p>Depending on the species of grass you have growing in your yard, a buzz cut can kill the lush carpet covering your lawn and cause high-dollar damages, too. In fact, zoysia grass is not recommended to be cut down to less than two inches high, especially in the fall before it goes dormant. Leaving a little more length on your blades isn't really an eyesore, and it will help preserve your lawn in the long run.</p> <h2>2. Just Do a Once-Over</h2> <p>When mowing, aerating, or reseeding your lawn for the winter, be sure you do it once, and then go over it again diagonally. This will prevent your yard from having &quot;lines&quot; that will appear unattractive come spring.</p> <h2>3. Stop Watering</h2> <p>Unless it has reached freezing temps in your area of the country, continue to water as you normally would. Shrubs, fruit trees, and hedges are especially dependent on water this time of year, as they are getting what they need before they go dormant. Failing to water could cause significant damage to your precious plants.</p> <h2>4. Use the Wrong Fertilizer</h2> <p>If it's still warm enough to use fertilizer, opt for an easy-to-apply spray instead of a granular product. The small pieces of granular fertilizer can sit on your yard for months, failing to dissolve in to-dry conditions. You may end up with a burnt lawn if this happens.</p> <h2>5. Forget to Mulch</h2> <p>As long as the ground hasn't frozen, you still have time to apply mulch around your trees and on top of garden plants such as asparagus and rhubarb. Use the right kind of mulch for the plant, and be certain that you aren't spreading dangerous pests or fungus by moving recycled materials from a diseased plant to a healthy one.</p> <h2>6. Skip Raking</h2> <p>It is so much work, but it is so vital to a healthy yard! Layers of snow over layers of leaves can lead to mold and fungus damage. Plus, it makes it ridiculously difficult for that first mowing next year.</p> <h2>7. Spray Weed Killer When It's Cold</h2> <p>While the fall is the ideal time to get one last weed killing in, you do not want to do this in areas where it is not consistently above 60 degrees. So, southern folks are probably safe; here in Nebraska, we are past that point, already.</p> <h2>8. Leave Spring Planting Until the Spring</h2> <p>If you want beautiful spring bulbs, now is the time to put them in. Tulips, lilies, and even garden &quot;roots&quot; such as asparagus can go in now for a head start on next year. While getting behind on flowering plants isn't the end of the world, waiting an extra six months for asparagus is a big deal (especially since they need two full years to mature before the first harvest.) This is also a great time to plant new trees and shrubs.</p> <h2>9. Forget to Shop</h2> <p>Stores are clearing out all of their spring and summer gardening supplies right now! Stop in to get things you know you'll need like pots, soil, seeds, tools, and more. With savings of up to 90%, it's foolish to wait. Don't forget to check your local dollar store, too!</p> <h2>10. Overlook Pests</h2> <p>Do your apple trees have orange spots on the leaves? Did your fruit all end up with worms in it? Many of the pests that plague the family orchard and yard need to have an aggressive plan to stop them, and fall is the perfect time to take notes of what you see so that you can be proactive next year. Take pictures of any damage done to your yard and garden now, so that you can research the damage and purchase the right tools next year. Many issues, such as fungus and codling moths (the bugs that makes &quot;wormy&quot; apples) need to have sprays applied to trees in the early spring before symptoms appear. Taking notice now is the only way to get ahead of these problems.</p> <p>Taking care of your lawn and garden the right way will depend on location, choices in greenery, and personal style. Being diligent about this last stage of the year can allow you to take a break during the winter before another season of yard work in the spring!</p> <p><em>What are you doing (or have already done) to prepare your yard for winter? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-not-do-to-your-yard-this-fall">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-diy-backyard-home-improvements-that-save-you-big">8 DIY Backyard Home Improvements That Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-big-money-on-next-year-s-lawn-and-garden">How to Save Big Money on Next Year&#039;s Lawn and Garden</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-and-water-with-these-6-clever-landscaping-hacks">Save Money and Water With These 6 Clever Landscaping Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper - Updated</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/use-beer-to-get-rid-of-pests">Use Beer to Get Rid of Pests</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home fall gardening landscaping lawn lawn care winter Wed, 22 Oct 2014 17:00:06 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1240478 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Turn Your Black Thumb Green http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-your-black-thumb-green <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-turn-your-black-thumb-green" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/garden-5247166-small.jpg" alt="garden" title="garden" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's that time of year again. Spring is&hellip; springing. If you live in a place with four seasons, like me, then the trees are starting to bud, the tulips and daffodils are blooming, and you're starting to think about adding to the natural beauty in your little corner of the world by planting something.</p> <p>And some of you are terrified.</p> <p>I know that feeling. I am a reformed plant killer. For years, I would start plants every spring only to forget them, neglect them, or watch them die in spite of my best efforts. I had almost given up on being able to have a beautiful garden.</p> <p>And then I started learning. Slowly but surely, by asking the right questions, I learned how to help my plants thrive and not die. Now, I am living proof that growing plants is a learned skill and that you can turn your black thumb green. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-veggies-to-plant-this-spring?ref=seealso">10 Easy Veggies to Plant This Spring</a>)</p> <h2>General Principles</h2> <p>Before I get into specific things you can do to give your plants a better chance at survival, there are a few principles that you should apply whenever you want to grow something.</p> <h3>Observe</h3> <p>Before you plant anything, before you even go to the store and decide what plants you want, decide where you want to plant and observe that area. How much light does it get? How much water? Is it within reach of your sprinklers, or would you have to water it by hand? Are you willing or able to commit to that?</p> <p>Giving yourself a couple of days to observe and think about where you want to plant will help you choose plants that are appropriate to the place and the amount of water the plant will get, which can make all the difference in the world.</p> <h3>Ask a Gardener</h3> <p>Do you know someone with a lovely garden? By all means, ask him or her for advice. But even if you don't know any experienced gardeners, ask someone at your local nursery.</p> <p>Be as specific as possible when you ask for advice on what to plant. Say something like, &quot;I want to plant in a container that will sit on my porch. It will have sun in the morning but not in the afternoon, and I will probably be able to water it 2-3 times per week.&quot;</p> <p>When you do this, an experienced gardener can usually give you a pretty good idea of what will thrive in your space... and what will not. Many new gardeners fail because they plant the wrong plants in a space. If your plant needs shade and lots of water, it will die if you plant it where it will get sun all day.</p> <p>In addition to some of this basic knowledge, many gardeners have location-specific knowledge about some plants. For instance, they may know that, while a particular plant usually needs a lot of sun, in your particular locale it should have shade in the afternoon because of excessive heat. This sort of knowledge can make or break your garden.</p> <h3>Accept Some Defeat</h3> <p>Everyone is going to kill some of their plants. Even experienced gardeners know that, sometimes, things just don't work. Maybe you got a damaged plant and didn't know it, or maybe another plant nearby simply takes over in early summer. Recognizing that there is a give and take in gardening can help you accept it when something doesn't work out the way you'd planned.</p> <h2>Tips and Tricks</h2> <p>While most plants just need to be planted in the right spot and then get the right amount of water and sun to thrive, there are some things you can do that might help your plants grow, or things you might want to do as a gardener that might seem trickier than they actually are. Here are some ideas for dealing with those things.</p> <h3>1. Water With Diet or Club Soda</h3> <p>Because of the nutrients in <a href="http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/using-soda-on-plants.htm">diet and/or club soda</a>, both can help you have greener and healthier plants. While you don't want to substitute for water entirely, adding these to your watering regimen can be good for your plants. Just don't water with sugared soda, as this is <em>not</em> helpful for plant health and growth.</p> <h3>2. Learn How to Grow From Cuttings</h3> <p>Save money by <a href="http://www.fiberfarm.com/2012/04/propagating-rosemary">propagating plants like rosemary and lavender</a> from cuttings. This is cheaper than buying the plants from the store and can be easy if you follow all of the directions. Be sure to use rooting hormone, as it makes the process faster and more likely to produce the plant you want.</p> <h3>3. Add Tea and Coffee Grounds to Your Soil</h3> <p>Some plants, like blueberries, azaleas, and rhododendrons, love acidic soil (this is information you can get from your experienced gardener!). If you're planting some of these, add a sprinkling of &frac14; inch of tea or coffee grounds to the soil each month, and its pH should stay on the acidic side.</p> <h3>4. Start Seedlings in Lemon Halves</h3> <p>If you live in a cooler climate, you may want to start some of your plants inside before it's warm enough to plant them outside. Halve a lemon, carve out the fruit, and poke a small hole in the bottom for drainage. Then, <a href="https://brightnest.com/posts/2x4-four-ways-to-use-fruit-rinds">plant your seed in the half lemon</a>. This adds to the nutrients your plant will get, and you can put the whole thing in the ground when you finally plant.</p> <h3>5. Use Some Plants to Shade Others</h3> <p>Growing vegetables can get tricky, because most vegetable gardens get more sun than some plants need. If you <a href="http://www.floridavegetablegarden.com/?attachment_id=403">grow climbing plants on a trellis</a> at an angle over some of these other plants, then you can achieve the part-shade necessary for optimal plant growth. You can put vegetables, like cucumbers, on the trellis, or you can grow something like morning glory to provide your shade.</p> <h3>6. Pluck the First Flowers</h3> <p>Plants need to devote themselves to growing solid roots before they focus on fruit. Thus, if you <a href="http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/tomato-growing-tips?page=0,1">pluck the first flowers on your vegetable plants</a>, they will have a better chance at getting the root system they need to support better fruit later on. This is particularly true for tomatoes, though it can be applied to any fruit-bearing plant.</p> <h3>7. Water in the Morning</h3> <p>Or at dusk. Just <a href="http://www.greenhousecatalog.com/natural-gardening">avoid watering in the heat of the day</a>. This saves water, but it also protects your plants from burning and helps them avoid excessive water loss from evaporation.</p> <h3>8. Use Packing Peanuts to Improve Drainage</h3> <p>When you're planting in a pot, it's important to have good drainage in place. Alternate <a href="http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20349692_20751980,00.html">layers of packing peanuts with layers of soil</a> to help achieve this goal. You can also use small rocks to achieve this, but packing peanuts have the added bonus of being light, making the pot easier to move.</p> <h3>9. Use Coffee Filters to Save Soil</h3> <p>You may have noticed that most pots for plants have small holes in the bottom. That's so any excess water can drain out. However, you can also lose soil this way. <a href="http://www.realsimple.com/new-uses-for-old-things/new-uses-gardening/print-index.html">Line the bottom of your pots with coffee filters</a> to avoid this problem.</p> <h3>10. Fertilize With Milk</h3> <p>Because of the amount of calcium it contains, as well as some other nutrients, <a href="http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/soil-fertilizers/milk-fertilizer.htm">milk is a great fertilizer for most plants</a>. This is especially true if you're wanting to avoid commercial fertilizers. If you're concerned about antibiotics on your plants, be sure to buy organic milk!</p> <h3>11. Add Egg Shells</h3> <p><a href="http://girlonbikewrites.blogspot.com/2011/06/using-egg-shells-in-garden.html">Adding egg shell halves around your plants</a> can deter certain types of pests, and putting them in the bottom of a hole where you plant can help your plants get more calcium, which many plants need to grow and some need to help avoid certain types of rot. Experimenting with this can help you figure out which plants need extra help growing.</p> <h3>12. Make a Mini Greenhouse</h3> <p><a href="http://spoonful.com/crafts/spring-bottle">Use half a soda bottle</a> over a seedling to create the warmer environment your seed might need to sprout. This can help ensure that your summer garden is successful by giving your seeds a jump start at growth.</p> <h3>13. Regrow Green Onions</h3> <p>Even if you don't have time or space for a regular garden, or if you're still terrified of killing things, <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/re-growing-green-onions-grow-your-scallions-back-on-your-windowsill-165274">try putting the bottom parts of used green onions in water on your window sill</a>. These tend to grow fast and can be planted outside, later, if you'd rather have them in dirt than water.</p> <p><em>Happy gardening! If you have any tips or tricks to add to the list, let me know.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-turn-your-black-thumb-green">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow">10 Edible Garden Plants Anyone Can Grow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xeriscaping-to-promote-water-conservation">Xeriscaping to Promote Water Conservation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-native-landscaping-for-your-climate">Going Native: Landscaping for Your Climate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-easiest-plants-to-grow-indoors-and-outdoors">The 7 Easiest Plants to Grow Indoors and Outdoors</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home gardening gardens green thumb Mon, 12 May 2014 09:00:20 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1138730 at http://www.wisebread.com The 7 Easiest Plants to Grow Indoors and Outdoors http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-easiest-plants-to-grow-indoors-and-outdoors <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-7-easiest-plants-to-grow-indoors-and-outdoors" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/plant-180195230.jpg" alt="spider plant" title="spider plant" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The benefits of growing plants, whether inside or out, are numerous. Plants freshen and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-cheap-plants-for-improving-indoor-air-quality">detoxify the air inside your home</a> while offering the added benefit of improving the decor of a room. Gardening outside, meanwhile, can provide therapeutic benefits to the grower. The time spent working in the outdoors with the dirt and in the sunshine can rejuvenate the body and clear the mind. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-gardening-lessons-learned-the-hard-way?ref=seealso">10 Gardening Lessons</a>)</p> <p>For those of us who would like to experience the wonderful benefits of growing plants but feel intimidated to start, here&#39;s a list of seven easy-to-care for plants for your inside your home and out.</p> <h2>Outdoor Plants</h2> <p>Spruce up your backyard or add a little color to your entryway with these no-fuss outdoor plants.</p> <h3>Petunia</h3> <p>Petunias come in a variety of colors including white, pink, purple, and many colors in between. They spread quickly on the ground and fill a container beautifully, as well. They can go more than a day without water unless it is excessively dry, and they flower throughout the growing season without needing extra fertilizer. Deadheading (plucking off dead blooms from their stems) does not need to be done for them to re-flower, making this a very easy plant to grow through the spring and summer. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-veggies-to-plant-this-spring?ref=seealso">Easy Veggies to Plant in Spring</a>)</p> <h3>Coneflower</h3> <p>Like the petunia, coneflowers come in a wide variety of colors. This tough plant is native to the prairie, so they are hardy in the heat and the wind. They require regular watering and deadheading to encourage reblooming. They have the added benefit of attracting butterflies to the garden, as well. Coneflowers are a perennial plant and will return the following year if you cut them back to the base just before spring arrives.</p> <h3>Hosta</h3> <p>Hostas are the perfect plant for shaded areas of your garden. These hardy plants come in many varieties with many different shades of green, white, and even purple on their leaves. These plants can be split and replanted, cut back to deter overgrowth, and even neglected. They can tolerate heat if they are at least partially shaded and watered regularly.</p> <h3>Peony</h3> <p>Peonies thrive if left alone. These perennials are a great addition to a flower bed that receives full sun. Peonies may need to be staked if they get top heavy (and that should be done early in the spring), but otherwise, they can be left alone to grow. Regular watering when the weather dries will ensure that you have blooms well into the heat of the summer. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-on-summer-garden-flowers?ref=seealso">Saving on Summer Garden Flowers</a>)</p> <h2>Indoor Plants</h2> <p>If outdoor gardening space is at a premium where you live or you want to freshen up the inside of your home, adding these low-maintenance indoor plants are sure to brighten your day. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-a-great-container-garden-started-with-this-guide?ref=seealso">The Container Garden Guide</a>)</p> <h3>Chinese Evergreen</h3> <p>Don&#39;t let the name fool you; this isn&#39;t a small Christmas tree. The Chinese Evergreen is a plant with varying shades of green, white, and silver leaves. This plant likes low to medium light, which makes it perfect for apartments and rooms without direct sunlight. It can grow to three feet high and wide. This beautiful indoor plant should be kept moist. Like many other indoor plants, it does have poisonous leaves, so care should be taken to keep it away from children and pets.</p> <h3>Spider Plant</h3> <p>Spider plants are probably the plant you think of most when you picture an indoor plant. This easy-to-grow plant thrives inside in medium to bright light. It trails and shoots off new growth, called &quot;plantlets&quot; at the ends that root well in water to make new plants. The Spider Plant works well as a hanging plant and is not toxic to cats. It also has the added benefit of cleaning the air in your home by removing formaldehyde. (This harmful chemical is found in particle board, wood furniture, and insulation.)</p> <h3>Dracaena</h3> <p>There are many varieties of Dracaena that work well indoors. The &quot;Janet Craig&quot; has bright green leaves while the &quot;Warneckii&quot; has green and white leaves. In addition, the &quot;Massangean&quot; has yellow and green leaves that resemble a corn stalk. Regardless of the variety, dracaena grows well in medium to bright light making it a great addition to a bright room in your home. (If you are fortunate, these blossom once in a while. We had one blossom just once, and they were among the most amazingly fragrant and beautiful flowers we had ever seen!)</p> <p>Whether you are looking to beautify the landscape of your home, the decor of your rooms, or filter the air inside, growing plants need not be intimidating. Many plants are easy to grow, require very little maintenance and will return year after year!</p> <p><em>What are your favorite low maintenance plants? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-easiest-plants-to-grow-indoors-and-outdoors">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow">10 Edible Garden Plants Anyone Can Grow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-mosquito-repellent-plants-with-a-dual-purpose">6 Mosquito-Repellent Plants With a Dual Purpose</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xeriscaping-to-promote-water-conservation">Xeriscaping to Promote Water Conservation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/snail-free-gardening">Snail Free Gardening</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-native-landscaping-for-your-climate">Going Native: Landscaping for Your Climate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home easy to grow plants gardening indoor plants plants Wed, 05 Feb 2014 11:24:26 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1122571 at http://www.wisebread.com The Only 4 Things a Vegetable Garden Needs http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-4-things-a-vegetable-garden-needs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-only-4-things-a-vegetable-garden-needs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/garden-5094135-small.jpg" alt="seedlings" title="seedlings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of my favorite children&#39;s books is &quot;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/067983687X/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=067983687X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20" target="_blank">Bear and Bunny Grow Tomatoes</a>.&quot; The two characters are friends and neighbors. Bear plants a garden the right way (preparing the soil, getting rid of rocks, weeding, etc.) while Bunny throws seeds in a plot of dirt and then relaxes by the pool for the rest of the summer. At the end, the diligent gardener gets a great harvest and the slack one gets nothing, until Bear gives Bunny his extras. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-gardening-lessons-learned-the-hard-way">Gardening Lessons Learned the Hard Way</a>)</p> <p>I love the book because I so closely identify with Bunny as a gardener. However, as diligent as I tried to be, none of my own gardening efforts ever yielded results. Trying hard didn&#39;t appear to be the magic ingredient in a successful garden.</p> <p>Last year, I decided to make growing a garden a new year&#39;s goal. When a <a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-11399177?sid=981709" target="_blank">Living Social</a> offer on a gardening class popped into my inbox, I quickly signed up. The deal was a four-hour class with the promise that I could learn the basics from a real-life gardener. The instructor overturned conventional wisdom that didn&#39;t work in real life. Most importantly, I learned that if you don&#39;t have four simple ingredients, <em>nothing else matters</em>. Here are the basics to growing a garden.</p> <h2>Soil</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/gdn-4027293-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>Great soil is essential to growing vegetables, fruits, and other plant life. Plants get their nutrients from the soil. So, for plants to thrive, <a href="http://www.hgtv.com/landscaping/soil-is-the-key-to-successful-gardening/index.html">they need soil with great nutrients</a>. The first step is to evaluate your soil and, if needed, take steps to improve its composition.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.provident-living-today.com/Types-of-Soil.html">three main types of soil are clay, sandy, and silt</a>. To develop loamy soil (the kind you want) from these types, mix in self-made or store-bought organic matter. You can add plant food, just as you can take vitamins and supplements for your body. But the best and cheapest nutrients come from real stuff like grass clippings, dead leaves, chopped-up tree prunings, etc.</p> <p>Soil can also be classified by its pH level, such as acid, alkaline, or neutral. My instructor recommended <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Test-Soil-pH">getting garden soil tested to determine its pH</a>. You can try testing yourself using a commercial device or work with your agricultural extension office or similar resource, which should provide testing services.</p> <p>Most plants thrive at neutral levels although some, like blueberries, benefit from lower or higher levels. After you have received test results, <a href="http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-adjust-soil-ph-for-your-garden.html">make adjustments to the soil pH</a> depending on the types of vegetables you hope to grow. If you need help with this step, visit a full-service garden center or enlist help of your local agricultural extension agent. (Note that I skipped this test because my soil looked good to me.)</p> <h2>Sun</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/gdn-5398339-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>Plants need lots of sun. <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthesis">The energy from sunlight is converted into chemical energy that fuels growth in a process called photosynthesis</a>. My instructor advised that most vegetables need at least eight hours of sun every day.</p> <p>Based on my experience, the spots on my deck and porch that get about four hours of sun daily do not support vegetable life. However, <a href="http://organicgardening.about.com/od/vegetablesherbs/a/shadeveggies.htm">some folks are able to grow certain vegetables, such as lettuce and beans, with three to six hours of sun per day</a>.</p> <p>There are just a few places in my yard that get enough sun on a regular basis. I chose a sunny location with great soil to plant my garden.</p> <h2>Water</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/gdn-4950939-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>Plants need water, which <a href="http://www.ask.com/question/why-do-plants-need-water">is useful for gathering nutrients from the ground</a>. Most importantly, I learned that <a href="http://www.kew.org/science-research-data/kew-in-depth/msbp/seed-banking-technology/environmental-conditions-seed-germination/index.htm">seeds need moisture to germinate</a>. So even if you ignore your garden for most of the season, make sure there is water or moisture immediately after you plant the seeds.</p> <p>We had an unusual amount of rain in our area this summer, so I watered my plants just once during the season. My garden got about an inch of rainwater each week, generally enough to grow vegetables. To determine how much water your vegetables need, check a <a href="http://www.burpee.com/gardening-supplies/watering/watering-your-garden-article10365.html">gardening resource</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-native-landscaping-for-your-climate">Landscaping for Your Climate</a>)</p> <h2>Seeds</h2> <p><img alt="" src="http://static1.killeraces.com/files/fruganomics/u784/gdn-5025837-small-ggnoads.jpg" style="height:303px; width:605px" /></p> <p>I purchased a seeds-of-the-month subscription from <a href="http://www.averagepersongardening.com/about/#.UkA7FdJt6hW">Mike of Mike the Gardener Enterprises</a>. There are two options for growing from seed: 1) <a href="http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/starting-seeds-indoors?page=0,2">plant indoors</a> or 2) wait for the ground to become amenable to seed growth. I followed instructions on the seed packets and waited until the soil was warm enough to receive my seeds and planted directly into the ground, rather than spend my winter cultivating plants indoors. (See also: F<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/foods-you-can-grow-in-the-comfort-of-your-home">oods You Can Grow in Your Home</a>)</p> <p>I planted my seeds not being sure that they&#39;d actually grow. But they did! My garden grew a nice harvest of tomatoes and peppers along with amaranth. I wasn&#39;t completely successful, as my cauliflower plants looked like they were destroyed by bugs and my zucchini seemed to be drowned by the overabundance of rain; still I was thrilled to grow something.</p> <p>It impresses veteran gardeners when I tell them I grew vegetables from seed. The truth is that all the vegetables I tried to grow from plants never did anything but die. In fact, the vegetables that grew were so abundant I needed to <a href="http://gardening.about.com/od/vegetables/qt/Thinning-Vegetable-Plants.htm">thin my plants</a>. Where I didn&#39;t remove enough tomato plants, for example, they are all tangled up and drooping off the stakes installed to keep them away from each other. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-plan-your-garden">How to Plan Your Garden</a>)</p> <p>Next time, I will improve on my techniques. I will space out my plants. I may even keep a garden journal. But the truth is that I needed to learn how to grow something, anything, before I could advance to the next level. My advice is to start with the simple ingredients and grow from there.</p> <p><em>Now that harvest has almost come and gone, what gardening tricks worked for your garden this year?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-4-things-a-vegetable-garden-needs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-diy-landscaping-and-gardening-skills-that-will-save-you-money">9 DIY Landscaping and Gardening Skills That Will Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow">10 Edible Garden Plants Anyone Can Grow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-the-tomatoes-autumn-tips-to-prolong-the-growing-season">Save the Tomatoes! Autumn Tips to Prolong the Growing Season</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/snail-free-gardening">Snail Free Gardening</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-fruits-and-veggies-worth-growing-yourself">The Only Fruits and Veggies Worth Growing Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living garden gardening vegetables Fri, 18 Oct 2013 09:48:04 +0000 Julie Rains 1031607 at http://www.wisebread.com Stuff We Love: A Lightweight Electric Lawn Mower http://www.wisebread.com/stuff-we-love-a-lightweight-electric-lawn-mower <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/stuff-we-love-a-lightweight-electric-lawn-mower" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/garden-iStock_000010066511Small.jpg" alt="lawn mower" title="lawn mower" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We recently moved from a house with a tiny yard to one with a much larger yard. At our old house we used a push reel lawn mower (which was awesome because it cut the grass well, I got good exercise using it, and it required no gas or electricity to run). With our new house and a much larger yard, not to mention a giant hill, we knew there was no way we could continue to use the push lawn mower. So we bought an electric lawn mower.</p> <h2>Why I Chose an Electric Lawn Mower</h2> <p>Knowing we would need a new lawn mower for our new house, we started looking at options. The smell of gasoline fumes makes my spouse sick, and as I did not want to be the sole person in charge of our lawn, we started looking at corded-electric and rechargeable-battery lawn mowers. After a bit of research we decided that we didn't want to worry about the battery wearing out and not holding a charge in a few years, so we opted for corded electric. After spending hours and hours reading reviews we decided on the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002ZVOLXE/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002ZVOLXE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=stuffwelove-20" target="_blank">GreenWorks 3 in 1 Electric Lawn Mower</a>.</p> <p><img width="500" height="408" alt="" src="/files/fruganomics/u784/SWL_Mower_03-ggnoads.jpg" /></p> <h2>What's Great About It</h2> <p>The best thing about the GreenWorks Electric Lawn Mower is that it's not a gas mower. There is no gas to remember to buy and then stink up your yard on a nice night. But beyond that, this electric lawn mower has a number of great features. It's easy to assemble right out of the box (it pretty much just unfolds). Here's what else I like about it.</p> <ul> <li>It's light and easy to maneuver (even up a hill).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It cuts grass to a very low setting (1.5 inches) to a quite high setting (3.75 inches).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It has a 20 inch cutting width.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It comes with a 4 year warranty.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>There are three settings for the discharge: mulch, clippings (bagged), clippings (unbagged).</li> </ul> <h2>What It Compares To</h2> <p>There are a large number of corded electric lawn mowers on the market. Black and Decker offers several as does Earthwise. However, after reading the reviews and considering our options, we decided that we wanted a 20 inch cutting path (most others range from 16-19 inches). Our previous reel mower was only 16 inches wide and those extra inches add up quickly. Also, we wanted a mower that had an option for bagging if we wanted it. (Right now we just use the side mulch.) And ultimately, at the price point ($175) for the only electric lawn mower with as many good reviews as the GreenWorks has, we decided we couldn't go wrong.</p> <h2>Who It Is Best For</h2> <p>The GreenWorks electric lawn mower is best for someone who is looking for a corded electric lawn mower who has any size yard (except a huge yard, see below). It has zero gas emissions and is lightweight and easy to use.</p> <p><img width="605" height="252" alt="" src="/files/fruganomics/u784/SWL_Mower-ggnoads.png" /></p> <h2>How It Could Be Better</h2> <p>The one thing that I don't like about the electric lawn mower is the cord. Due to the size of our yard we bought a 100 foot extension cord. It is always tangled when I go to mow the lawn (no matter how good of a job I did putting it away the previous time), and I have a hard time mowing the lawn in just the right pattern to avoid the cord. But, I would have these problems with any electric lawn mower; they are not unique to GreenWork's design.</p> <h2>What They Don't Tell You in the Manual</h2> <p>There are two things to know about buying a corded electric lawn mower for a larger backyard with a hill.</p> <p>First, regardless of the size of your yard, you want to start mowing from the point closest to the electric outlet. As long as you are always mowing away from the outlet you won't run the cord over. My spouse can do this perfectly. I, on the other hand, constantly seem to have the pattern in such a way that I have to move the cord.</p> <p>Second, if you have a hill, you should mow across the hill and not up and down. You don't need a self-propelled electric lawn mower (this mower is not, like most), even for a hill, because the machine is light enough that it's very easy to push. But, if you're using it on a hill you will definitely want to cut across the hill and not mow up and down it.</p> <h2>Bottom Line Recommendation</h2> <p>If you're in the market for an electric lawn mower, the GreenWorks mower is the best mower you can get (at a great price).</p> <h2>Where to Get Yours</h2> <ul> <li>You can buy the GreenWorks electric lawn mower on <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002ZVOLXE/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002ZVOLXE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=stuffwelove-20" target="_blank">Amazon for about $176</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You can also buy it on Mowers Direct for $199 and on Sears.com for $169 (plus tax, depending on your state.).</li> </ul> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002ZVOLXE/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002ZVOLXE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=stuffwelove-20" target="_blank"><strong>Get yours today!</strong></a></p> <p><em>Do you have an electric lawn mower? How do you like it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stuff-we-love-a-lightweight-electric-lawn-mower">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stuff-we-love-comfortable-stylish-clarks-dress-shoes-for-men">Stuff We Love: Comfortable, Stylish Clarks Dress Shoes for Men</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stuff-we-love-pasta-made-with-an-imperia-pasta-machine">Stuff We Love: Pasta Made With an Imperia Pasta Machine</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stuff-we-love-the-macbook-pro-a-hassle-free-laptop">Stuff We Love: The MacBook Pro, a Hassle-Free Laptop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stuff-we-love-a-mimijumi-baby-bottle-because-its-more-like-mom">Stuff We Love: A Mimijumi Baby Bottle, Because It&#039;s More Like Mom</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-whisky-and-spirit-gifts-for-less-than-25">Great Whisky and Spirit Gifts for Less Than $25</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping buying guides gardening lawn lawn mower product reviews stuff we love Fri, 27 Sep 2013 10:22:21 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 991233 at http://www.wisebread.com Save Money and Water With These 6 Clever Landscaping Hacks http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-and-water-with-these-6-clever-landscaping-hacks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/save-money-and-water-with-these-6-clever-landscaping-hacks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/garden-3534792-small.jpg" alt="garden" title="garden" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Warm months always bring out a bit of the gardener in every homeowner. The grays and browns of winter transform into the vibrant greens of summer and coax even the most die-hard homebody outside. If you've noticed that your little slice of heaven could use some TLC but don't want to spend a mint, here are a few budget-friendly landscaping ideas. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-gardening-lessons-learned-the-hard-way">10 Gardening Lessons Learned the Hard Way</a>)</p> <h2>1. Plant for Your Region</h2> <p>Plants do best in their native climates. To protect your landscaping investment, consider your region or climate zone as you choose your trees, shrubbery, flowers, and other vegetation. A handy <a href="http://www.bhg.com/gardening/gardening-by-region/regional-gardening/hardiness-zone-map/">zone map</a> can help you stay on track with your selections and ensure that everything you plant matures and thrives year after year.</p> <h2>2. Go for Low H2O</h2> <p>Everyone <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-save-time-and-money-on-your-lawn">loves the look of a lush lawn</a>, but few of us enjoy the accompanying water bill. To keep your landscaping project on budget, don't forget about the long-term maintenance costs. Landscape for your region and climate, and select plant varieties that do well without a lot of extra water. It's not only good for your wallet; it's good for the planet. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-lawn-mowers">The 6 Best Lawn Mowers</a>)</p> <h2>3. Buy in Bulk</h2> <p>Superstores make buying all sorts of landscaping supplies extremely simple and convenient, but that convenience comes at a premium price. Individual bags of mulch, pea gravel, and sod can add up quickly. Large landscaping supply companies can often drop off supplies by the truckload at much lower overall price. Don't need a whole truckload? Split it with your neighbors. Another option for less expensive materials may be as close as city hall &mdash; some municipalities offer free mulch as long as you're willing to haul it away.</p> <h2>4. Reuse and Repurpose</h2> <p>The salvage business is booming, but there are still treasures out there just waiting to be found and repurposed. Check out estate sales, auctions, thrift stores, and even the curbside on trash day. Shallow planters can be given new life as birdbaths, old fences and columns can become decorative accents and trellises, farm tables can be transformed into potting stands, and old stumps or blocks of stone can become garden benches.</p> <p>Get inspired by thumbing through outdoor design or gardening magazines, and challenge yourself to recreate your favorite ideas on a budget. <a href="http://www.sunset.com/garden/earth-friendly/salvage-garden-design-ideas-00400000043273/">This piece</a> from Sunset magazine inspired me.</p> <p>The reuse idea can carry over into your plantings too. Is a neighbor's backyard being overtaken by bamboo? Offer to help cut them back in exchange for a few starts that you can add to your own yard. Ask friends and family to keep you in mind if they're removing old bushes, small trees, or replacing perennials. Weave these donated items into your larger design plan to save big bucks on buying new.</p> <h2>5. Turn Your Yard Into an Edible Garden</h2> <p>Over the past several years, there's been a quietly growing movement that aims to completely change the way we think about our lawns.</p> <p>The lawn-to-garden movement advocates that homeowners transition their yards from passive highly-manicured displays into <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/moments-in-the-garden-of-eatin">dynamic food- producing spaces</a>. The movement is driven in part by a local food sensibility that encourages folks to know where their food is grown and spurn produce that has to be imported. It's also motivated by simple frugality and self-reliance &mdash; by the idea that we can each take a more active role in our food production and lessen our dependence on big agri-business.</p> <p>For landscapers on a budget, what better way to be paid back for our labors than to use our lawns to source food? From tomatoes to herbs and from cucumbers to radishes, your lawn has the potential to save you money and put food on the table. Explore how to turn part of your lawn into a fresh, local, and organic produce stand. If your city or community has strict zoning laws or covenants that prohibit such activity, chat with your neighbors and see what changes can be made through the power of organized action. For a comprehensive guide on the lawn-to-garden movement, check out Fritz Haeg's seminal book on the topic, <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/193520212X/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=193520212X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20" target="_blank">Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn</a></em>.</p> <h2>6. Get That Green Thumb Dirty</h2> <p>Sure, you may not have a backhoe sitting around in the garage, but there are landscaping projects that you can do yourself. Digging, hauling, planting, pruning, and even <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-own-furniture-9-helpful-tips-for-non-carpenters">some light construction work</a> can help you save big on landscaping contractor costs. Consider hosting a landscaping party and enlisting a few (brawny) friends to help out on a Saturday afternoon. Cold beer and warm pizza go a long way toward motivating and repaying your helpful crew.</p> <p>Regardless of the scope of your project, landscaping doesn't have to break the bank. With some careful planning, creativity, and help from friends and family, your yard can go from drab to fab in just a few weeks. And now is the perfect time to put those green thumbs to the test &mdash; just don't forget the sunscreen!</p> <p><em>What are your favorite budget landscaping ideas?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-money-and-water-with-these-6-clever-landscaping-hacks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-not-do-to-your-yard-this-fall">10 Things You Should NOT Do to Your Yard This Fall</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-diy-backyard-home-improvements-that-save-you-big">8 DIY Backyard Home Improvements That Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cheap-ways-to-stage-your-home-in-a-buyers-market">6 Cheap Ways to Stage Your Home in a Buyer&#039;s Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-high-tech-tools-to-help-your-garden-grow">6 High-Tech Tools to Help Your Garden Grow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-finance-a-tiny-house">3 Ways to Finance a Tiny House</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing first time homebuyer gardening landscaping lawn care outdoor furniture Mon, 29 Jul 2013 10:24:30 +0000 Kentin Waits 980896 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Great Frugal Skills — and How to Get Them http://www.wisebread.com/20-great-frugal-skills-and-how-to-get-them <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-great-frugal-skills-and-how-to-get-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/changing_a_tire.jpg" alt="Man changing a tire" title="Man changing a tire" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="160" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Independence is at the heart of frugality. The more that you can do for yourself, the less you have to pay others to do those things for you. But to be independent, you need skills.</p> <p>Then 20 skills below can all help you become more independent and frugal. Some of them might come naturally, and some of them might be frustrating &mdash; but they're all beneficial. And you don't need to develop full mastery to get the benefits; with many of these skills, just a little knowledge can provide a lot of help. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-lifesaving-skills-everyone-should-know">10 Lifesaving Skills Everyone&nbsp;Should Know</a>)</p> <h2>1. Gardening</h2> <p>Growing your own food can be a great way to get fresh produce for very, very cheap &mdash; as long as you know how to keep your plants from dying. I recommend that &quot;budding&quot; gardeners (I'm sorry, bad joke, I know) start with fresh herbs in containers. They can be grown inside or out, and since fresh herbs tend to be expensive at the grocery store, these plants offer a lot of value for a minimum of work. While every type of plant is different, having a couple of small container herbs will also help you get used to plants' needs &mdash; how much sun, when to water them, and so on.</p> <p>If you're interested in starting a bigger garden, make sure to do your research before diving in &mdash; the last thing you want to do is pick a plant that will immediately wither in your or-so-sunny yard or never truly thrive in your moderate climate. Get Rich&nbsp;Slowly has a great post on <a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2009/01/11/7-tips-for-starting-your-own-vegetable-garden/">starting your first garden</a>, and if you're interested in learning more about what grows well in your region, contact your local <a href="http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/">Cooperative Extension</a> office.</p> <h2>2. Cooking</h2> <p>Always dining out is one of the most budget-busting (and possibly health-busting) things you can do. Thankfully, while cooking might seem daunting, it doesn't have to take a lot of time or effort. When&nbsp;I first started cooking, I focused a lot on one-pot meals. The first &quot;recipe&quot; I cooked for myself regularly was simply this &mdash; mix drained canned kidney beans, thawed frozen spinach, and shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese in the microwave or in a pot on the stovetop. When the cheese is melted, spoon the filling into a tortilla, wrap it up, and eat. It's fast, it's tasty, and it's pretty healthy &mdash; and there are a lot of recipes out there like that.</p> <p>Learning how to cook has become so much easier with the Internet, too. You can search for recipes for your favorite foods, and if you don't know how to do something the recipe calls for (&quot;What the heck is a braise?&quot;), you can search for a how-to video. And there are great overviews on how to start cooking, too. Mark Bittman, the king of delicious, healthy, and simple cooking, did a Q&amp;A about <a href="http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/28/lessons-in-home-cooking/">cooking at home</a> that addresses several aspects of getting started. I also recommend this roundup post from The Kitchn that collects several <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/kitchen-basics-15-ways-to-star-135498">cooking basics</a>, from cooking brown rice to roasting a chicken.</p> <p>Also, if you have a friend who cooks regularly, offer to buy ingredients in exchange for preparing dinner together. You get to hang out with a friend <em>and</em> get a great cooking lesson.</p> <h2>3. Baking</h2> <p>I put cooking and baking separately because I find that people often think of them as two separate skills; I've talked to a lot of people who say &quot;I'm a better cook than a baker,&quot; and vice versa.</p> <p>A lot of people get intimidated by baking because it seems less forgiving. Amounts need to be more exact. There are mysterious chemical processes afoot.</p> <p>The truth is that baking, like cooking, can be very simple. Take <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/beer-bread-i/">beer bread</a> for example. It requires three ingredients &mdash; beer, flour, and a little bit of sugar. You put it in a greased pan in an oven, and you get bread.</p> <p>Yeast bread does get a little more complicated, but this <a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2007/11/04/homemade-bread-cheap-delicious-healthy-and-easier-than-you-think/">homemade bread tutorial</a> from The Simple Dollar talks you through the steps.</p> <p>As for sweets, again &mdash; start simple. Brownies are one of the most basic dessert recipes you can bake. Try this <a href="http://www.rachaelraymag.com/recipes/rachael-ray-magazine-recipe-search/dessert-recipes/the-best-basic-brownies">brownie recipe</a> from&nbsp;Rachel Ray.</p> <p>Whether you're cooking or baking, follow the recipe. There's time for substitutions later once you get more comfortable with cooking.</p> <h2>4. Canning/Preserving</h2> <p>Buying (or growing) produce in bulk when it's cheap and in-season makes frugal sense &mdash; if you're able to preserve it for later. Canning can be intimidating &mdash; sterilizing jars! Specialized equipment! But being able to preserve summer's best fruits and vegetables can make it worth it. Check out the&nbsp;USDA's <a href="http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html">home canning guide</a> &mdash; it gives you all the basics.</p> <p>If you don't want to go all the way with canning, the National Center for Home Food Preservation also has information on <a href="http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/freeze.html">freezing</a>, <a href="http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/dry.html">drying</a>, <a href="http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/cure_smoke.html">curing/smoking</a>, <a href="http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can6a_ferment.html">fermenting</a>, and <a href="http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can6b_pickle.html">pickling</a> foods. In fact, making <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/spicy-refrigerator-dill-pickles/">fridge pickles</a> is one of my favorite easy ways to preserve vegetables ranging from carrots to cucumbers to okra.</p> <h2>5. Sewing</h2> <p>Sewing is a great example of a skill where just a little knowledge can help a lot. All you need is a needle and thread to <a href="http://www.esquire.com/style/tips/how-to-sew-a-button">sew on a button</a>, <a href="http://video.about.com/housekeeping/MendTear.htm">mend a tear</a>, or even <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Hem-Clothing-by-Hand">hem clothing</a>.</p> <p>Of course, if you do want to get a sewing machine, you have many more options. There are several super-useful, simple projects that you can tackle after you <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmaZBTMzkoY">learn how to use your machine</a>, such as <a href="http://www.designsponge.com/2010/02/sewing-101-curtains.html">sewing curtains</a>. creating <a href="http://www.lovetosew.com/aprons.htm">aprons</a>, or even making an <a href="http://quilting.about.com/od/quiltpatternsprojects/tp/easy_quilts.htm">easy quilt</a>. And when your skills really get up to snuff, well...it's time to <a href="http://voguepatterns.mccall.com/bridal-pages-186.php">sew your own wedding dress</a>.</p> <h2>6. Knitting or Crocheting</h2> <p>While sewing might be a more valuable skill when it comes to fixing things, knitting and crocheting allow you to make great cold-weather wear that's both useful and giftable (or even sellable). In my experience, the best way to learn these skills is to ask a friend to teach you or to take a class at a local yarn shop. Or you can try <a href="http://www.knittinghelp.com/">KnittingHelp.com </a>or the <a href="http://crochet.about.com/od/learnbasics/a/beginners.htm">About.com Guide to Crochet</a>.</p> <p>I also love these skills because they provide something relatively mindless to do while watching TV or riding on public transportation.</p> <h2>7. Exercising</h2> <p>Unlike many of the other items on this list, improving your exercise skills might not save you money directly. But a healthy lifestyle can help eliminate medical visits and improve your mental health.</p> <p>Several types of exercise &mdash; even something as simple as running &mdash; can be daunting when you first start them. Even if you plan to approach exercise frugally, it can be beneficial to talk to an expert or take a class before you start doing it on your own. For example, go to a running store and get fit for the <a href="http://running.about.com/od/shoesapparelandgear/a/foottypes.htm">right running shoes</a> for your body, or take a yoga class before using <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/half-moon-full-wallet-free-online-yoga-videos">free online yoga videos</a>, so a teacher can help you learn the proper alignment.</p> <h2>8.&nbsp;Making Minor Household Repairs</h2> <p>There are several things around the house that you want to hire a professional for. But when it comes to minor fixes like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">unclogging a drain</a>, <a href="http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,20051832,00.html">fixing a hole in drywall</a>, or <a href="http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,550857,00.html">installing shelves</a>, you can save hundreds of dollars by doing just a little work.</p> <h2>9. Making Gifts and Cards</h2> <p>Not only are handmade gifts and cards from the heart, they can be a lot cheaper than that store-bought stuff too. Check out our list of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-you-can-make-today">gifts you can make today</a> or five <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-5-cheap-greeting-cards-that-blow-hallmark-away">great homemade greeting cards</a>.</p> <h2>10. Writing</h2> <p>Want to communicate efficiently, be taken seriously, and land great jobs? Then shine up those writing skills. Being able to accurately get your point across will always serve you well.</p> <p>Now available online, <a href="http://www.bartleby.com/141/">The Elements of Style</a> is the granddaddy of all grammar and usage books; it will reteach you everything you forgot from school. But writing is about much more than knowing where to put your commas. You can read all of the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/29/books/review/colson-whiteheads-rules-for-writing.html?pagewanted=all">guides</a> <a href="http://chronicle.com/article/10-Tips-on-How-to-Write-Less/124268/">to</a> <a href="http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/a-guide-to-becoming-a-better-writer-15-practical-tips.html">writing</a> that you want (seriously, do that &mdash; one of the best ways to become a better writer is to read what other people have written), but, like any other skill, writing improves primarily through practice.</p> <h2>11. Haggling and Negotiation</h2> <p>Haggling can save you money on everything from furniture to medical care, and knowing how to negotiate can mean the difference between a good starting salary and a great one. Our own Kentin Waits has a great guide to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-laws-of-negotiation">the seven laws of negotiation</a>.</p> <h2>12. Painting</h2> <p>I'm not talking about artistic painting (although that certainly has its benefits). If you can <a href="http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,20159698,00.html">paint a room</a> or even <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-paint-the-exterior-of-your-home">paint the outside of your house</a>, you can save a lot.</p> <h2>13. Budgeting</h2> <p>A solid budget is at the core of any good personal finance plan &mdash; it's what helps you ensure that you're saving some of your money while also getting to spend some on things that really matter to you. There are several ways to budget &mdash; check out our pieces on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-first-step-to-budgeting">the first step to budgeting</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/budgeting-for-people-who-hate-planning">budgeting for people who hate planning</a>, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system">the envelope system</a>.</p> <h2>14. Selling/Marketing</h2> <p>If you ever plan to have a yard sale, list an item on Craigslist, or market yourself as a job applicant, it behooves you to know how to make whatever you're selling as appealing as possible. (And no, being good at selling things doesn't mean doing your best sleazy car salesman impression.)</p> <p>Discover <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-secrets-of-highly-successful-craigslist-sellers">the nine secrets of highly&nbsp;successful craigslist sellers</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-successful-garage-sale">how to have a successful garage sale</a>, or how one writer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-still-make-money-with-ebay">still makes money with eBay</a>. Or if you're trying to market yourself for a job, read about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-to-get-hired-be-memorable">the importance of being memorable</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stupid-things-to-put-in-your-cover-letter">stupid things to put in your cover letter</a>, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-unique-ways-to-score-a-job-interview">unique ways to score a job interview</a>.</p> <h2>15. Getting Rid of Pests</h2> <p>Some things &mdash; like bed bugs or roaches &mdash; usually require a professional. But you can deal with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/naturally-get-rid-of-ants-in-your-kitchen">ants</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/homemade-and-store-bought-mouse-trap-designs-that-work">mice</a>, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pesky-pests-easy-homemade-mosquito-and-insect-traps-and-repellent">other pests</a> yourself.</p> <h2>16. Fixing Broken Things</h2> <p>Yes, &quot;broken things&quot; is a pretty loose term. The skill to learn here might be better described as problem solving &mdash; a little bit of online research and elbow grease can save you a lot of money. For example, when my laptop stopped booting up correctly a few months ago, I was sure I needed a new computer &mdash; or at least a new drive.&nbsp;But some Googling showed me that my particular laptop has a design flaw that pinches one of the cables. Thanks to an online tutorial, I not only knew that I could get a replacement cable for under $50, but I also learned how to fix that part so it didn't pinch the cable again.</p> <h2>17. Entertaining Yourself</h2> <p>Frugality 101 &mdash; you're going to spend a <em>lot</em> of money if you feel like having fun means you always need to go to the movies, a bar, or another establishment where you pay to play. While it might seem silly, entertaining yourself is a skill, and one that you can get better at as you discover new things that you find enjoyable. Read. Make something. Visit friends. Go for a hike. Cook something new. Find a free event. Draw. Do a crossword puzzle. There are many, many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-cheap-fun-things-to-do-this-weekend">ways to have cheap fun</a>.</p> <h2>18. Changing Your Oil</h2> <p>Most laypeople don't know how to fix the stuff that goes really wrong with a car, but you can at the very least a lot of your regular maintenance. The most intimidating of that regular maintenance (at least in my opinion) is changing your oil. But it's totally doable &mdash; check out this <a href="http://www.edmunds.com/how-to/how-to-change-your-oil-the-real-down-and-dirty.html">step-by-step how-to with photos</a> from&nbsp;Edmunds.</p> <h2>19. Changing a Tire</h2> <p>If you get a flat and you don't have roadside assistance through your insurance or an organization like AAA, you'll probably be stuck with a hefty fee. Don't let that happen. Popular Mechanics tells (and shows) you <a href="http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/how-to/maintenance/4199895">everything you need to know to change a tire</a>.</p> <h2>20. Couponing</h2> <p>Some people love couponing, and others think it's just <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-i-don-t-clip-coupons">not worth it</a> &mdash; but <a href="http://frugalliving.about.com/od/bargainshopping/a/Coupon_Guide.htm">good couponing skills</a> <em>can</em> save you money. At the very least, you should get in the habit of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/empty-coupon-code-box-you-re-paying-too-much">searching for online coupon codes</a> &mdash; a quick search can save you a few bucks.</p> <p><em>Did I miss any of your favorite frugal skills? Leave your thoughts in the comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-great-frugal-skills-and-how-to-get-them">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper - Updated</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-diy-backyard-home-improvements-that-save-you-big">8 DIY Backyard Home Improvements That Save You Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-diy-landscaping-and-gardening-skills-that-will-save-you-money">9 DIY Landscaping and Gardening Skills That Will Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-repair-a-dripping-faucet">Should You Repair a Dripping Faucet?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-life-hacks-you-should-master-by-age-30">10 Life Hacks You Should Master by Age 30</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Personal Development Cooking fixing problems gardening skills writing Mon, 27 Aug 2012 10:36:41 +0000 Meg Favreau 952375 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Mosquito-Repellent Plants With a Dual Purpose http://www.wisebread.com/6-mosquito-repellent-plants-with-a-dual-purpose <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-mosquito-repellent-plants-with-a-dual-purpose" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/catnip_0.jpg" alt="Cat with plants" title="Cat with plants" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="153" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Mosquitoes are incredibly common in my home state of Minnesota. Perhaps it's all the lakes and ponds &mdash; which make for great mosquito breeding grounds. Every summer it's another battle to keep these pests away. I've previously written about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">homemade mosquito repellent recipes</a>, but I've recently discovered something even easier &mdash; mosquito repellent plants. There are plants that you can grow in your background that naturally repel mosquitoes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pesky-pests-easy-homemade-mosquito-and-insect-traps-and-repellent">Pesky Pests: Easy Homemade Mosquito and Insect Traps and Repellent</a>)</p> <p>There is a full list of <a href="http://gogreentravelgreen.com/mosquito-repellent-plants-that-repel-mosquitoes/">plants that repel mosquitoes here</a> here, but below I've compiled the top plants based on price and what I call &quot;dual purpose.&quot; That is, besides just repelling mosquitoes, these plants also either look especially nice or serve some more functional purpose. For example, planting citronella is great, but you can't do much else with it. In contrast, marigolds are beautiful flowers and several of the herbs below can also be used to cook with.</p> <h2>Marigolds</h2> <p>Marigold flowers are not only relatively easy to grow, they also look nice and repel mosquitoes. They look great potted, which gives the added benefit of being able to move them closer to where you are sitting. You can buy <a href="http://www.amazon.com/French-Marigold-Flower-Seeds-Packet/dp/B000Q81V86">1,000 seeds on Amazon for $4.50</a>.</p> <h2>Rosemary</h2> <p>As someone lacking a green thumb, I appreciate plants that don't require much work. Thankfully, rosemary is one of those plants that I've grown in my backyard every summer for years. If you plant it in a pot, you can also bring it inside in the winter to keep your herb garden up. Rosemary is a great dual-purpose mosquito repelling plant because you can also use it to cook. (I like it with potatoes or in bread.) <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Ferry-Morse-Rosemary-Seeds-Milligram-Packet/dp/B003V1WVVQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=lawn-garden&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1344265438&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=rosemary">100 Rosemary seeds cost just $1.79 on Amazon</a>.</p> <h2>Catnip</h2> <p>Catnip <a href="http://www.ag.iastate.edu/aginfo/news/catnip.html">has been found by researchers</a> to be even more effective than DEET (a neurotoxin found in most bug sprays). Like marigolds and rosemary, catnip can be planted in a pot for easy portability. But it's also a perennial, so you may prefer to plant it in your garden so it will grow year after year. And, if you have a cat, you have a treat for your pet as well as protection from mosquitoes. You can buy <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Catnip-Nepeta-cataria-Seed-Needs/dp/B003TILJDW/ref=pd_sim_lg_1">200 seeds on Amazon for $1.85</a>.</p> <h2>Garlic</h2> <p>Garlic repels mosquitoes and is used in almost all of my favorite Italian recipes. I recommend waiting until the spring to plant garlic, as the weather is better for growing it then, and it takes awhile to harvest. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Georgian-Fire-Heirloom-Bulbils-Hardneck/dp/B005OOUHUK/ref=sr_1_19?s=lawn-garden&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1344265881&amp;sr=1-19&amp;keywords=garlic">50 bulbils on Amazon cost $5.79</a>.</p> <h2>Ageratum</h2> <p>Ageratum is another flowering plant that produces small purple/blue flowers. The plant emits a smell that repels mosquitoes. I've never grown this plant before, but you can buy <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Davids-Ageratum-Horizon-houstonianum-Seeds/dp/B0042OTDRG/ref=sr_1_2?s=lawn-garden&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1344266137&amp;sr=1-2&amp;keywords=Ageratum">45 seeds for $5.95</a> and see for yourself how well it works.</p> <h2>Peppermint</h2> <p>Like rosemary, I found peppermint exceptionally easy to grow. During the summer I use the leaves to flavor water and at the end of the summer I dry the peppermint leaves to make peppermint tea. And <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Peppermint-Mentha-piperita-Seed-Needs/dp/B004FXWZ42/ref=sr_1_1?s=lawn-garden&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1344266315&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=peppermint">200 Peppermint seeds cost $2.15</a>.</p> <h2>How to Use the Plants</h2> <p>The best thing to do is to place these plants around your garden patio or the area you are most likely to sit outside. Then, when you are grilling, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/back-yard-barbecues-that-wont-break-the-bank">hosting a barbeque</a>, or just enjoying a book outside, crush the leaves. Crushing a few leaves will emit the odor that most effectively drives the mosquitoes away.</p> <p>Personally, as much as I hate mosquitoes, I would never plant plants just for the sake of repelling the pests. That's why I think these dual mosquito repelling plants are better choices to incorporate into your garden.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-mosquito-repellent-plants-with-a-dual-purpose">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-easiest-plants-to-grow-indoors-and-outdoors">The 7 Easiest Plants to Grow Indoors and Outdoors</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/snail-free-gardening">Snail Free Gardening</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-cheap-and-easy-homemade-mosquito-repellents">4 Cheap and Easy Homemade Mosquito Repellents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-diy-landscaping-and-gardening-skills-that-will-save-you-money">9 DIY Landscaping and Gardening Skills That Will Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow">10 Edible Garden Plants Anyone Can Grow</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living gardening herbs mosquitos plants Wed, 08 Aug 2012 09:48:42 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 948714 at http://www.wisebread.com Going Native: Landscaping for Your Climate http://www.wisebread.com/going-native-landscaping-for-your-climate <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/going-native-landscaping-for-your-climate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/xeriscape.jpg" alt="xeriscape garden" title="xeriscape garden" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As we near the peak of summer, temperatures are rising and most of us are spending more time outdoors enjoying the landscaping in our yards and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-unique-garden-containers-and-techniques">gardens</a>. But your landscaping can actually drain your finances quicker than you might expect, with more water required in the summer for irrigating all those lush plants and greater evaporation due to higher temperatures. With some forethought and planning, however, you can minimize the amount of water you use for irrigation. By doing so, you also save yourself a buck or two as well as many hours of your time, because landscaping for your climate requires less maintenance in the long run. Often, an added benefit of landscaping for your climate is that you help the environment by conserving water, and you may also attract pollinators and native species that are best adapted to the plants you choose.</p> <h2>The Art of Xeriscaping</h2> <p>When I first heard the term xeriscaping, I thought it was actually &ldquo;zero-scaping,&rdquo; which turns out to be not too far off from its actual meaning. Xeriscaping focuses on planting drought-resistant plants, often native plants, to reduce the need for irrigation. In Southern California, where I live, this often means planting lavenders, sages, marigolds, and other native or drought-resistant varieties, as well as ornamental grasses, succulents, and cacti. Check with your local garden center for advice on which plants do well in your region. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xeriscaping-to-promote-water-conservation">Xeriscaping to Promote Water&nbsp;Conservation</a>)</p> <p>Getting rid of your lawn can also be a key factor in reducing your garden&rsquo;s water usage. Lawns take up a large proportion of residential irrigation and require constant maintenance. By replacing your lawn with native plants, installing a drip irrigation system for efficient watering, grouping plants with similar watering needs, and mulching your soil to reduce water evaporation, you can greatly reduce the amount of water you use as well as the maintenance required. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-lawn-mowers">The 6 Best Lawn Mowers</a>)</p> <p>One great benefit of planting native plants is that they tend to attract native pollinators such as butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds, helping to support the local ecosystem. They also tend to be hardier, reducing or eliminating the need for pesticides and insecticides.</p> <p>For effective xeriscaping, some forethought and planning is required. It may help to have an aerial view of your property so you can plan out how to group plants and how to install a drip irrigation system. You may also want to consult a landscaping company or spend some time picking the brains of the experts at your local garden center or nursery.</p> <p>While it takes a little extra effort on your end to plan out your landscaping beforehand, you&rsquo;ll be rewarded with a beautiful but low-maintenance garden. Some friends of mine have a few properties that they rent out. They&rsquo;ve installed drought resistant plants and drip irrigation set on a timer, and the landscaping looks great but is virtually maintenance-free.</p> <h2>Rain Gardens</h2> <p>If you live in a moist climate and drought is not your problem, you may want to consider planting a rain garden. Rain gardens are gardens that are planted in depressions or basins in your landscape that are designed to absorb the storm water runoff from your gutters, directing the excess water away from your home, and also cleaning and filtering the water runoff. Rain gardens can help prevent flooding and improve the quality of local water by preventing water from being polluted by running over greasy streets and pesticide-treated lawns.&nbsp;</p> <p>In general, rain gardens require well-draining soil and should be planted with hardy, deep-rooted, and preferably native plants. This Old House has an excellent <a href="http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,20517496,00.html">step-by-step rain garden tutorial</a> should you wish to build one yourself. Be sure, however, to consult local gardening experts to find out the best soil mix and plants for your area.</p> <h2>Thoughtful Watering</h2> <p>The way you irrigate your landscaping can also be a key factor in how much water you waste in watering your plants. Sunset Magazine recently ran a helpful article on <a href="http://www.sunset.com/garden/garden-basics/10-drought-fighting-tactics-00400000020840">how to deal with drought by being more thoughtful in your watering</a>. Some of their suggestions include slow, deep irrigation, which minimizes runoff and helps plants to develop deep roots which are better able to withstand dry spells; mulching to reduce evaporation; creating soil basins around plants to concentrate water around the roots; and watering in the cool of the morning or evening to minimize evaporation. You might also want to consider <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-conserve-water-by-harvesting-rain-or-snow">collecting rainwater</a> in a rain barrel and using that to water your plants.</p> <p>When you landscape with plants adapted to your climate, you end up with a low-maintenance garden that will look good in the long run, will attract native pollinators, and uses less water and other resources.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-native-landscaping-for-your-climate">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-15"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow">10 Edible Garden Plants Anyone Can Grow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xeriscaping-to-promote-water-conservation">Xeriscaping to Promote Water Conservation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-prevent-plant-theft">How to Prevent Plant Theft</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/germs-dirt-bacteria-infection-immune-system-antibiotics-disease">Are we too clean for our own good?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-i-just-won-t-do-to-save-money">10 Things I Just Won’t Do to Save Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home Lifestyle gardening green landscaping xeriscaping Wed, 18 Jul 2012 09:48:16 +0000 Camilla Cheung 942672 at http://www.wisebread.com