by Carol Siddall, Master Gardener
Every gardener likes to save money and time. I thought as the gardening season gets rolling, you might appreciate some tips in these areas.
Making a new garden? Start with a plan. Remember, a smaller scaled garden translates into less work and money.
Container gardens are fun and easy, and a necessity for small yards, but they do require more water and fertilizer.
Cut back on your workload by converting some of your lawn to ground covers. They are a good fix for problem spots also. Just check first if they are invasive.
One item that will ease your work load is to put down a 4" layer of mulch. This will reduce the soils need for water and helps keep weeds under control. Pine needles make a great mulch. I use all my needles for mulch, and I have very few weeds.
Keeping your yard tools in good condition makes your maintenance tasks easier.
When buying perennials, look for large specimens that can be divided. They may cost more initially, but by splitting them you get more plants.
Scour garage sales, flea markets, and thrift stores for a good and unusual container for a planter. They are fun and you are repurposing.
Save your seeds at the end of the season; it's cheaper than buying more. Empty prescription bottles are great for storing seeds.
Slow release fertilizers require fewer applications than fast release ones. Don't forget to use compost for overall soil enhancement.
Try using a kid's pool for a holding spot for potted plants while on vacation or during a drought. The pool collects excess water and makes water available to your plants while you are away. If you watch at the end of season, you can pick one up cheap.
If you prune your trees when they are young, it will save you time and possible cost. A hand pruner now, beats a chain saw years later.
Hope these hints help. HAPPY GARDENING!