Vegetable Gardening: Four Cheap Hacks
Vegetable gardening has always been popular with a certain crowd. With this economy however, even more folks are considering the home grown option. Whether you are growing food in your apartment, attempting a small plot group project, getting into a full blown urban green roof garden, or going European by using the small spots outside of your brownstone, there is still a fair amount of preliminary work to be done.
If you are new to the vegetable gardening game table, you are probably finding that even the most frugal approach requires a few start up costs. Looking to keep those to a minimum? These four tips will help you pinch pennies, get organized and even keep it green. Bonus? It's a great frugal fitness workout! (See also: 10 Gardening Lessons Learned the Hard Way)
Even cutting back to the Sunday paper only for coupon clipping, the newsprint can still pile up. And while your favorite teacher can make great use of it in the classroom, there's usually more of it coming in from parents than one person can handle. The glossy stuff will still need to make its way to the recycling bin. But the basic black and white pile? It can be turned into origami seedling pots without the use of tape or staples. This is also a great way to get the kids involved with the process. Check out this resource for instructions and a demonstration video. I would think this could also be a project you could also use with recycled phone books as well.
Toilet Tissue Tubes
Again, a great source of cheap art material in the classroom. As with newsprint however, there are only so many one classroom teacher can use. When it comes to finding a use for the rest of them, they make a great frugal resource for DIY vegetable gardening. If the origami folding of the newspaper mentioned above is too much work for you, these tubes can be turned into biodegradable seedling pots with much less effort. Tubes from paper towels and rolls of gift wrap will also work, and you'll get more seedling pots per tube. Here are a couple of different resources to help you get started.
Dollar Stores to the Rescue
Everyone loves a bargain. And certain dollar stores can be just as helpful for frugal vegetable gardening as they are for school and home life. Check out your nearest one dollar shopping resource for things like tools, gloves, seeds and shepherd's hooks.
Certainly this is easier with some vegetables than with others. Squash and pumpkins are great candidates, as are other herbs that tend to seed abundantly. Setting them aside to dry and save is an excellent way to pinch some pennies and live more sustainably. It's also a super strategy for maintaining the availability of organic heirloom vegetables. Here's a link to a place that maintains supplies of several interesting vegetables, and has them available for order if you'd like some to get you started.
If vegetable gardening in general interests you, we have several additional resources right here on Wise Bread. Andrea Dickson has actually written a fair number of pieces, including ones on edible weeds, snail free gardening and urban composting. If you're a tomato fan, check out Linsey's post on extending their growing season. What tips do you have for frugal vegetable gardening on the home front?