Save money in the garden

Trick and tips to conserve cash by gardening.

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People who garden are almost always thrifty souls. Not that -- in good times, anyway --  many don't spend plenty of the green stuff on favorite gotta-have plants they've fallen in love with. But they know that home-grown tomatoes and lettuce cost less than at the grocery store and growing annuals from seed produces more flowers, less expensively than if purchased in six packs at a home store.

But every gardener has her or her own money-saving tips, practical ideas learned from experience. I save seeds for several years and always reuse the potting soil from the previous year's containers.

I also think that it saves me time -- which can translate to money -- if I avoid growing plants that are picky. That's not to say I stick with only ordinary plants, but a rose that doesn't develop blackspot in the hot, humid South can be just as pretty -- prettier in my estimation -- than one that does.

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So in the interest of continuing to pass along money-saving garden tips, here are some links:

Money-saving garden deals from Consumer Reports.

Kerry talks about why a beautiful garden doesn't have to be an expensive garden.

Well-known garden author Tracy DiSabato-Aust has a second idea-filled column on saving money in the garden.

Did you know there's a frugal gardening website?

Vern Nelson gives tips on how to improve your garden on the cheap.

I'm also picking up ideas from a new book, "The Backyard Homestead," edited by Carleen Madigan (Storey Publishing, 367 pages, $18.95).

Not only does she tell you how to harvest 60 pounds of fruit, 2,000 pounds of vegetables, and 75 pounds of nuts from just one-fourth of an acre, she explains and illustrates the best way to keep and prepare them: How to flash-freeze strawberries, for instance, and dry corn.

Worth the price of the book for potential fruit growers is the chart of "luscious landscape plants" -- those that look good in your yard and produce fruit, too. Especially helpful are the expected yields of each type of plant.

Are you cutting costs in the garden? How?

This recommendation isn't about garden thrift, but if you're a gardener, you'll want to read Pamela Page's beautiful post on why she gardens.

(Note: We invite you to visit the main page of the Monitor’s gardening site , where you can find many articles, essays, and blog posts on various garden topics.)

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