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Frugal Gardening

Being frugal is essential in hard times. Here are a few money-saving ideas for your garden. First, use whatever you have as long as possible. Fix things up rather than buying replacements.

Buy quality products that will withstand years of use. A cheap plastic watering can won’t hold up.

Shabby is chic. Patio chairs and cushions need not match. Shop clearance sales at the end of the season. Check newspaper ads of local garden centers for money-saving coupons.

Shop carefully. My first choices are thrift stores, yard sales, and rummage sales.

Free items are available. On garbage pickup day I have driven around my neighborhood and found perfectly useful items, such as a wrought iron plant stand and a rocking chair for the front porch

Some castoffs are available in unlikely places. At Lowe’s I found a large bamboo storage crate, which they were throwing away. This crate had contained a shipment of ceramic pots from Asia.

A dead deciduous tree can be spruced up with some orange paint for use as a Halloween decoration or decorated as an Easter egg tree in spring.

To save money when gardening, do-it-yourself. Here are some DIY books that will help gardeners. The second edition of “The Homestead Builder-Practical Hints for Handy-Men” by C.P. Dwyer was released by Lyons Press/Globe Pequot. This reissue of an 1872 classic covers everything from log houses and homes to furniture, gates, fence posts, and garden projects. This has illustrated, step by step directions for all the projects. These projects are made with simple hand tools. The outdoor projects include outdoor benches, walkways, easy to make gates, and a root cellar.

“Handy Farm Devices and How to Make Them” by Rolfe Cobleigh from Lyons Press is also in its second edition. Originally published in 1909, this has all sorts of garden and landscape projects. These include trellises, hotbeds, cold frames, gates, corn cribs, and garden stools. This features all sorts of non-motorized gardening aids, such as a hand cultivator. It covers all the basic gardening techniques. This gives easy to follow illustrated directions. This title also features a range of other topics, such as beekeeping and raising poultry.

“The Encyclopedia of Country Living” by Carla Emery was released by Sasquatch Books. This is by far the most comprehensive title available for homesteaders, farmers, and gardeners alike. A best seller for over thirty years, the newly updated and revised 10th edition is available. It is suitable for novice and experienced gardeners alike.

This has sections on all the major gardening and livestock/animal husbandry subjects. There are separate chapters for fruit crops, vegetables, herbs and flavorings, and grains/grass crops. It explains how to grow each crop, and recommends varieties when applicable. This also explains all the different methods of preserving foods.

The emphasis is on organic gardening and farming methods. Throughout the book are easy to follow culinary and herbal recipes of all sorts. This has handy charts for quick reference. It is illustrated with sketches. Throughout the entries are recommended sources, such as websites, mail-order catalogs, etc. For quick reference, use the comprehensive index.

“The Family Handyman Best Weekend Projects” was released by Reader’s Digest Books. This features 80 simple projects that can be done in a weekend or less. For each of the projects, this has color illustrated, easy to follow step by step instructions. Nearly a third of the book is devoted to garden and yard projects.

These projects include walkways, fences, retaining walls, arbors and trellises, patio planters and container gardens, garden furniture, decks, water gardens, plants stands, and plant markers. The other projects for the home cover shelving and storage options and home improvements. For each project, this has a list of materials and supplies.

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