52 Ways To Save: Start a Garden on a Budget (Week 10)

Every Monday in 2015, I’ll be sharing a different idea to help you save money! Add all of these tips to your frugal repertoire and you’ll be able to save a lot of money this year! I hope you’ll gather a few new ideas or at least some inspiration from this series.  

Tips For Gardening on a Budget

9 Tips for Gardening on a Budget

Are you ready to “get growing?”  The arrival of spring has many ready to get outdoors and start planting their gardens, but what if you are working on a limited budget? Well the good news is, gardening doesn’t have to be expensive, and in fact it can be a great way to save yourself some cash in the long run. If you are considering planting a garden this season and want to do so for less, take a look at these 9 tips for gardening on a budget. You will be amazed at how easy it can be to “get growing” for less!

1. Start your seeds indoors.

Sure you can buy seedlings, but starting your own seeds indoors is cheaper! A seedling cost at least $1-$5, while you can get an entire pack of seeds for $1 or less. So start your seeds indoors using seed starters and some basic soil, and you can have your own seedlings in no time. (Read this how-to post for details on how to start your seeds indoors!)

2. Check out your local dollar store.

Dollar stores have a great selection of gardening gear for just $1 each. Choose from seeds, flower pots, gardening gloves, fertilizer spikes, watering cans, starter trays, and more! It is a great way to build your gardening stash for less.

3. Use natural fertilizers.

Instead of buying plant food and fertilizers, try making your own! Crushed egg shells and coffee grounds make excellent plant food. You can also use fruit peels to help nourish the soil and keep your plants healthy.

4. Practice chemical free pest repellent.

Again, you can buy your own pest repellent, but why not make your own for less? A simple spray bottle of water and a few drops of Dawn Dish Soap can help keep many pests at bay! This is a great way to save cash and omit chemicals in your garden.

5. Start a rain barrel.

Instead of spending money on watering your garden, catch rainwater instead. A rain barrel is the perfect trick for catching rain perfect for watering your garden with. Even a small barrel or bucket can give you enough water to keep a small garden satisfied.

6. Make your own garden markers.

You can make garden markers out of all kinds of household materials. Try making some from wood craft sticks and markers to get started. This is a great way to keep your garden organized for less.

7. Team up with friends.

Team up with friends and neighbors  to borrow each other’s gardening tools and equipment. You can even share seedlings and thinned out plants you no longer need. This is a great way to get the items you need for cheap or even free.

8. Use a small space.

Rather than tilling up a large piece of land for a garden, try out small space gardening!  Living in a townhouse, we actually don’t have the land for a big garden so I put container gardening to use.  Sometimes that might even feel overwhelming. If so, try growing just a few herbs that you often buy from the grocery store.  Or grow a lasagna garden so you have all the ingredients for a delicious marinara sauce on hand.  Here are a few more ways to grow a garden in a small space.

9. Look into community gardening.

Community gardening could be a great option for those of you that want a big garden but don’t have the space or want the time commitment. Do a little research about the community garden options in your city to see if this might be a good fit for you.

Gardening is a great way to grow your own food and save some cash. Give these tips for gardening on a budget a try and see how easy it can be to grow for less.

See the other articles in this series, here.

Free Organic Gardening Resources


Are you looking for some organic gardening resources?  Well, head over to Organic Gardening to find a ton of FREE downloads!

Find things like a seed-starting chart, weekend gardening project ideas, information about bugs and more!

Repurposing Containers for Seed Starting

seed starting

Now here’s a great idea for reusing those containers that grocery store roasted chickens comes in!  Start your garden seeds in them!

Head over to Read Between the Limes for more tips.

Repel Mosquitos Naturally with a Mosquito Planter

Repel mosquitoes naturally with a mosquito planter!

I mentioned in my first container garden update that I would do a separate post detailing the plants I have in the pot I deemed my ‘Mosquito Planter’.  While we don’t get a ton of mosquitoes, we do live by a creek (damp) so we do see them around and they are not my favourite bug to live with.  In one of my Pinterest escapades, I discovered that I could create a container full of plants that mosquitoes don’t like. Namely plants of the citrus scented variety.

Not only does the scent of the plants keep mosquitoes at bay, I can even tear off a leaf and rub it on my skin if I’m finding they’re getting too close.  I may even bring a leaf or two along on any hikes we might be doing!

Here’s what I put in the pot:

  • Citronella Geranium (I would use these leaves on my skin)
  • Marigold ‘Lemon Gem’
  • Catnip
  • Lemon Thyme (can be used in cooking too!)
  • Gazanias (only because I had extra from another flower pot)

I was looking for lemon grass but I couldn’t find any before I got tired of diving to all our local nurseries.

Mosquito planter

I’m excited to see how this works as the summer goes on.  I hope it fills out nicely and that pretty flowers appear!

Have you ever done something like this?  Did it help ward off the mosquitoes?


Container Garden 2014: Update #1

I’ve been a little bit of a lazy container gardener this year.  I had grand plans to really use our space to grow a lot of veggies, but… I got lazy or overwhelmed.  I wanted to construct some sort of vertical gardening space that would allow me to plant herbs, radishes, lettuce and strawberries.

You see, I’m really good at deciding  that I’m going to do something, just not so good on the follow through 😛  Maybe next year!

I still haven’t planted my lettuce seeds or my potatoes.  But, I was proud of the fact that I scored some free seed potatoes by putting a call out on a local Facebook Buy & Sell site!  I’ll get to planting them this week, promise. 🙂

Here goes for my first update.

First up, is a picture of my flower pot, mints (chocolate and apple) and tomatoes.  I hope to make delicious teas this year using those mints! (read all about apple mint here.)

This year, I found a window box variety of Roma tomatoes and the other cherry tomato is a Sweet 100.


I’m not a huge fan of dried rosemary so I bought a rosemary plant that I hope to use fresh in my cooking.  Not pictured, is a basil plant I have at the front of the house.


Last year I had beans and peas planted in this big container, but they didn’t really grow well.  So, this year, I decided to try something different and create a mosquito planter!  I’ll have more details about it in a seperate post in the near future.

mosquito planter#1

I’ll be back with another update soon because there’s been growth since I took these pictures and I’ll have more planted!

How’s your garden doing?

All About Apple Mint

Apple mint is an herb with many uses you can enjoy. Take a look at everything you need to know about apple mint and how you can grow some yourself.

You may know that many varieties of mint can be grown and enjoyed during the summer months. Spearmint, chocolate mint, and peppermint can all be grown and used in centerpieces, tea, desserts, and even in your crafting. But did you know that there is another mint often overlooked than can be just as fun and useful? Apple mint can be found at your local garden center, and it too has many uses you can enjoy. Take a look below at everything you need to know about apple mint and how you can grow some yourself.

First, let’s explore the basics of apple mint:

Apple mint has a fruity flavor and apple scent, which is not surprising since it is named after an apple, a quite popular fruit! Apple mint looks like most other mint varieties with a green stem and green foliage. What makes it a little different is that it has a light fur on it. It also produces reddish blooms in the late summer months and can be quite attractive. Apple mint likes to grow in full sun or part shade. Like other mint plants it needs well drained soil. It does like having its own space, so be sure to space each plant a good foot apart from the next. Apple mint is a perennial so it will grow back. If you plant it in pots however, you will need to plant a new plant each year.

Now that you know the basics about apple mint, here is how you can use it around the home:

1. Add leaves to your tea. Simply rinse them and add them to your cup. Allow a few minutes for the mint oils to permeate the liquid. Some people think apple mint helps with promoting relaxation and a good night’s sleep.

2. Make your own air freshener.
You can bundle stems of apple mint with a piece of string and hang it from closets. It will add freshness to the space and make it smell great.

3. Find pain relief when you soak an apple mint leaf in water and then place the wet leaf on the wound. This is perfect for bites and stings.

4. You can infuse your water by placing a few leaves in a gallon jug and filling it with water. Let is sit for 24 hours. Strain the leaves and enjoy the cool beverage!

5. Make your own marinade when you add a few apple mint leaves to vinegar and let the meat soak in the mixture for a few hours.

See what a terrific plant this can be? Grab your own apple mint and enjoy all of these uses, and more!

Tips for Growing and Using Basil & Oregano

Tips for Growing and Using Basil & Oregano

If you love cooking with fresh herbs, you will want to make space in your garden for basil and oregano. Both come in handy when making salads, marinades, infusions and more. If you are new to growing these herbs, take a peek below at some tips for growing and using basil and oregano in your own garden. They are easy to grow and practical herbs you are sure to enjoy.


When planting basil, you will want to remember these basics:

  • This herb needs 6 to 8 hours of good sun
  • Avoid planting until after the threat of frost has passed.
  • Plant your basil plants a good 12-18 inches apart.
  • Soil should be well drained, and you may fertilize twice during the growing season.

Here are some wonderful ways you can enjoy basil at home:

  • Crumble leaves on top of your pizza, garlic bread, or other baked dishes.
  • Add a few leaves to a bottle of olive oil for some extra flavor.
  • Plant basil in your yard to help repel certain varieties of pests.
  • Blend the leaves into pesto to freeze and use later.
  • Add basil leaves to your salad, dips, and even soups.
  • Basil can even be added by the leaf to your pasta dishes.

Now, let’s explore another great herb, oregano!


When planting oregano, you will want to remember these basics:

  • Oregano doesn’t mind shade. Therefore a good 5-6 hours of sun is plenty.
  • Well drained soil is a must when growing this herb.
  • Cut away dead stems and foliage as the plant grows to encourage new growth.
  • Give plants a good six inches in between each to grow.
  • Oregano does not respond well to fertilizer, so just be sure to take proper care of your plants so they thrive.

Here are some wonderful ways you can enjoy oregano at home:

  • Add some crumbled oregano to your pizza and pizza sauces.
  • Add a few leaves to your pasta dishes and casseroles.
  • While your soup is simmering add a leaf or two of oregano for more flavor.
  • Infuse a bottle of olive oil with oregano leaves.

So what are you waiting for? Give these herbs a try and your table will never lack flavor!

Tips for Growing and Using Dill

Tips for growing and using dill

Most people associate the herb dill, with a jar full of dill pickles. If you love the flavor of dill, you’ll want to try growing your own so you always have it on hand. Growing your own dill is easy, just take a look below at some helpful tips to get you started. This is a fun and functional herb that is easy to enjoy and even easier to use!

How to plant and care for dill:

  • Plant dill in the early summer when temperatures have reached at least 70 degrees.
  • Plant your dill plants a good 12-18 inches apart from each other.
  • Dill pairs well when planted next to cabbage, so if you are growing cabbage they make great companion plants.
  • Water frequently, daily if the weather is especially hot and dry.
  • Remove any yellowing or dry, dead foliage as soon as it appears.
  • Take care to protect the delicate plants from strong wind or heavy foot traffic.

Once you have grown a healthy harvest of dill, you’ll want to use it! Dill can be used in a variety of ways around your home and yard. Let’s take a look at some of those ways below:

How to use dill:

  • Add some fresh dill to your fish before baking.
  • Add dill to your assorted oils and vinegars for extra flavor.
  • Pickle your own vegetables adding dill for extra zest.
  • Pep up your salads and dips when you add some fresh dill.
  • Plant dill in your flower beds to attract bugs that would eat harmful pests.
  • Add some dill to your potato salad to make it a crowd favorite.
  • Dill adds unique flavor to soups, marinades, and stews.

Dill is a fun herb that can be used and enjoyed in so many ways. Try growing your own batch of it this growing season so you have plenty on hand for all of these ideas. You will be so glad you did!

Tips for Preserving Herbs

Tips for preserving herbs

Are your herbs growing faster than you can use them? A flourishing herb plant is a good thing, however having so many that waste occurs, is not. The good news is, there are plenty of ways to preserve your herbs and get a longer life out of them. This is especially helpful if you live in an area where you can’t grow herbs year round. Take a look below at some helpful ways to preserve your herbs and have them available to you all year long.

Tips for Preserving Herbs

Freeze them.

To freeze your herbs all you need to do is break them apart while fresh and place them in ice cube trays. Add a little water, filling the tray about half way full. Freeze the tray and when you need some herbs in your cooking, all you need to do is pop a cube out and toss it in. Cool!

Press them.

You can press herbs between pieces of wax paper and store them in a cool place if you wish. While they don’t last as long this way as they would if you froze them, it will still help extend their life. This way is especially helpful if you want to use the herb in its original leafy form, such as in a salad or dip.

Dry them.

You can always take the old fashioned route and dry your herbs. Gather them into a small bouquet and tie them with string at the end. Hang them upside down in a cool and dark place until dry. This can take anywhere from 10 days to 2 weeks. To use, just crumble and toss in your favorite dish.

Add them to oil.

You can take fresh herb sprigs and toss them directly into your bottle of olive oil to create infused oil. This works especially well with basil. In no time the flavor will spread throughout the oil giving it a gourmet taste!

Infuse your beverages.

If your herbs are about to go bad and you need to use them quickly, you can infuse your beverages with them. Just clean the herbs and toss them into your teas, lemonades, and fruit drinks. They will infuse the beverage and even stay good for several days this way. See this post for 7 Infused Water Recipes.

Don’t let those herbs go to waste. Give these tips a try and prolong their life easily!

Tips for Growing Herbs Indoors

Tips for growing herbs indoors.  Armed with these tips, in no time, you will have fresh and tasty herbs right at your fingertips.

You may not have a great deal of land to plant on, or perhaps you don’t have the best soil conditions on the land you have. No worries. Did you know that you can still grow herbs indoors and enjoy the fresh taste and health benefits all year long? Growing your own herbs indoors is easy. Just take a look below at some helpful tips to get you started. In no time, you will have fresh and tasty herbs right at your fingertips.

Tips for Growing Herbs Indoors

Find a sunny spot.

You will want to place your herbs in a spot that gets a good 6 hours of sunlight a day. Take a few days to observe where the sun likes to settle in your home. That way, when your pots are ready you will have the perfect home for them. You also want to be sure the spot is away from heavy traffic or heat vents that can cause drying and damage.

Pick the perfect pots.

You can use various sized pots for your herbs, but your best bet is to keep one plant per pot. A 6-8 inch pot for each herb is perfect. Put some pebbles at the bottom of the pot for drainage and be sure your pots are placed on a saucer so catch any water drips.

Choose hardy plants.

Find plants that have strong stems, bright greenery, and are not withered or yellow. You also want to pick plants that have a moist yet tough root base. By choosing strong plants, you can make sure they are off to a strong start.

Pick easy to grow varieties.

If you are new to growing herbs indoors, try easy to grow varieties such as oregano, basil, and rosemary. All of these are quite hardy, don’t take up a great deal of space, and are easy to tend to. Chances are, they are also ones that you will use in your cooking most often!

Tend to your plants properly.

Always remove dried or spent foliage so the plant can use its energy elsewhere. Water as needed, keeping the soil moist at all times. Chances are you won’t need to weed your pots, but if you notice any weeds sprouting up be sure to grab them. You can add a few fertilizer pellets if you wish, being sure to follow package directions. To use your herbs, always take the foliage from the bottom of the plant, leaving the newer, younger greenery at the top to keep growing.

See how simple it can be to grow your own herbs indoors? Give these tips a try and you are sure to have herbs at your fingertips all year long.