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Cheap gardening

June 4th, 2009, 12:57 AM
Just wanted to throw this out there for those that are interested. Many people think we've spent a fortune on our flowers, but really all we've spent is about $200 from 2004-2008, which isn't much considering soil amendments as part of that cost. Our soil is probably 80% sand so it constantly needs organic matter added to it. But I've cut that cost out for the most part now by doing my own compost heaps.

How did I do it so cheap? Trading mostly and of course seeds, division, and other propagation methods. Some flowers were being thrown into the garbage and I just happened to be at the right place/right time to "rescue" the plants. Some were gifts, even if not in the best condition, like the time I received a plastic grocery store bag half full of half rotted iris rhizomes which I brought back to life but they took two summers of no flowers before they put on a nice show.

In my opinion, skip the annual bedding plants unless you save seed and start several flats of seed every spring and raise them yourself. It's just too expensive to buy flats of seedlings from the plant nursery every year. Next lowest cost is to purchase annual seeds. Our local dollar store sells 3 packs of seeds for $1 every year. Nothing exotic, but good performers like the wildflower packs.

Annuals that self seed like Poppies and Calendula are always ideal. Easy seed starters are Cosmos and Bachelor's Buttons.

My next personal favorites are hardy and herbaceous (die back in winter) perennials. Stuff like Echinacea, wild Daisies, Monarda (Bee Balm), etc.

After that I prefer Lilies and Daylilies and other bulbs. Daylilies are not true lilies. Daylily is classified as Hemerocalis and the bulb lily is Lilium. The Daylily can just be cut into smaller chunks with a spade or fork when it gets too large and starts dying off in the center. Same with Siberian Iris.

True lilies can be propagated via it's natural cloning ability through the bulb scales. You can snatch a few scales off each bulb without harming it, or if you're like me and don't watch what you're doing while digging and end up slicing a bulb in half, you can separate the scales and toss them into a plastic bag with barely damp peat moss or soil-less potting mix and within a couple of weeks each scale will have produce several baby bulbs which that be potted on and will bloom in 3 years approximately.

Other plants will root from basal cuttings quite easily, like Lupins and Delphiniums.

You can also quadruple quantity of plants depending on what you buy if it comes in a decent sized pot and the plant is good for stem cuttings like Penstemon or Salvia. Buy one plant, and get a dozen, after cuttings.

A lot of people say they don't have a green thumb. Well that's easily remedied by studying plants and what they like, and understanding your soil, water needs and light availability. Gardening is a skill just like any other skill and there's no magic involved. Just lots of work but the work is well rewarded when you see the fruits of your labor. Just start off with easy, low-care plants so you won't be disappointed. And don't spray a ton of chemicals for they aren't necessary and can potentially harm our furry friends. I firmly believe in balance in nature. There are always good bugs to help with the pests, so encourage healthy habitat for the good bugs. Either build a "bug hotel" or leave old logs laying around, and the odd broken upside down clay pot.

"No room" for gardening you say? Well they try out the new vertical wall planters, or make your own. They are doing vertical plantings on a mass scale in places like Paris, France. By massive I mean the whole sides of skyscrapers. :eek:

Build these by making homemade bookshelves, then adding extra pieces of wood to make little compartments but leave room towards the back of the panel to leave room for water to trickle down through. Then fill with compost, cover with anti-weed mat, cut a X in the mat and plant whatever. Make sure to build a water reservoir in the top for watering or to install a drip system. Let the shelf lay flat for a couple of weeks to let the plants root well then stand it up and secure against a wall. You can make a salad wall, a flower wall or herb wall just outside your kitchen door. :D

Visit garage sales or even local church fundraisers. I found some really great houseplants for 50 cents that way. And if your skill at plant propagation takes off, then you can make extra money at your next garage/yard sale.

Here's some links to videos. The guy in the video is Alan Titsmarsch from the UK. He's pretty cheeky but the videos are informative.

Well I hope this gets some of you out there and gardening! It's not too late, you can still do a lot. Plant a window box with baby lettuce greens and "French Breakfast" radishes that mature in a month or even some herbs for the kitchen, like basil.


June 4th, 2009, 04:31 AM
if anyone in the cornwall area (or passing through) would like some hostas (sp?), perenial geraniums, let me know...

June 4th, 2009, 07:23 AM
CearaQC let me know if you would like some seeds sent your way! I have lupins, columbines, poppy, snap dragon, alium(garlic the purple balls) and I think some different color of sweet peas!

Oh and about 9 million monring glory seeds! :D


June 4th, 2009, 11:39 AM
if anyone in the cornwall area (or passing through) would like some hostas (sp?), perenial geraniums, let me know...

Oh I would! I'm heading to toronto on sunday coming back wednesday but will be through cornwall around 8 or 9pm I would think, that may be too late?

June 4th, 2009, 12:13 PM
Oh I would! I'm heading to toronto on sunday coming back wednesday but will be through cornwall around 8 or 9pm I would think, that may be too late?

not too late at all!!! I can have a box of plants ready for you if you like

June 4th, 2009, 12:26 PM
That's awesome! I'll call you when I'm nearing cornwall. My DH worked at the mill there so know the area pretty well!

June 4th, 2009, 12:31 PM
the domtar trucks use to pass by me all the time, I'm sorta glad they aren't anymore *L*, sent you a pm, I'll make up a box of different perenials for you but please don't ask me the names of them *L*

June 4th, 2009, 12:41 PM
That's the spirit! Get out there and trade! :D

Winston that sounds really lovely! But there's just not enough planting space for a whole lot this year. The front flower beds would need to be enlarged and I'm running out of time this year I think with all the veggie work I'm doing. I just came in from digging new trenches for potatoes in a place where we recently removed sod. My #1 priority this year is veggies, and I will hopefully have lots of old time (circa 1800-1900) heirloom veg seeds to share this fall. And a very nice man in Ontario mailed me some heirloom potato tubers of kinds I've never even heard before, along with some heirloom French pumpkins and squashes. I hope they all produce. :pray:

I wouldn't mind the allium seeds though! They add height and nice texture. My flower beds are in sore need of nice blue shades, hopefully in perennial or bulb form. Was hoping to grow some Eryngium (blue sea holly) this year but the seeds someone gave me weren't viable. And put me on your list for some morning glories and glorious scented sweet peas. Do you have any dark, jewel tone types of both?

You might like Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium) flowers. They are perennial and quite hardy and have a tendency to self seed but the bees just adore the flowers.

I'll post photos when stuff starts blooming then you can figure out what you want out of my collection. :D

I had another idea. Those of you who live relatively close to each other can start community gardening, and set up times/dates when a whole crew can show up at each house and do all kinds of work. The hosts provide free lunch for everyone. You can get a lot done in a short time and have fun in the process. Also a good idea to show up at an elderly person's house and work on their garden, which would brighten their whole year. :thumbs up

June 4th, 2009, 02:18 PM
ceara, I have never bought prenials and usually sit them in a wheelbarrow at the end of my driveway with grocery bags and a sign that says "help yourself but leave some for the next" you'd be surprised how many people return a different plant to me

June 4th, 2009, 03:03 PM
Cearaqc pm me your mailing addy and I will send you off some seeds. My morning glorys started as blue but I have noticed that when they self seed they turn a different color?? I have some dark sweet peas I think...and the alium is the big purple balls...I will mail them to you as soon as I can! I have lotsof the columbine in purple and a pink almost white one and a pure white one! maybe even a dark burgundy! if you like that as well.

June 4th, 2009, 03:58 PM
CearaQC thanks for all the inspiring ideas!
We are living in an apt. right now but just bought a house and move in June 22. Luckily the growing season is just getting underway around then, so I should still have some time to do some beginner gardening. There are a few overgrown beds with perennials, so it will be interesting to see what pops up out of them!!

June 4th, 2009, 06:39 PM
Molly I'm sure we would love to help you ID anything you have and share how to split them should they need it.

Winston, I have some plain downfacing pink and purple Columbines already that someone gave me a few years back, some native Canadian Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) that's red and yellow, and also some baby "Nora Barlow" type Columbines just started from seed in April but have not seen any blooms yet. May be a while on those. The burgundy Columbines sound really nice actually. Do they face up or flop over?

New this year but no blooms yet are pink (Croftway Pink) and purple (Violet Queen) Mondarda/Bee Balm. I did break down and purchase those from Richters Herbs in Toronto last fall and they overwintered beautifully. So will have seeds of those if the bees don't cross pollinate with the common red. But then again whatever comes of that may be interesting! And I also couldn't resist a nice pot of dark blue Delphinium for $2 this year. Hope it survives. Delphiniums are said to be slug magnets so we shall see.

I have some annual seeds here but not sure if you'd like any in exchange. Have Calendula officinalis, Bachelor's Buttons, pink/white frilly mix poppies, Jacob's Ladder (perennial). I don't have many annuals and was naughty and didn't collect many seeds from the perennials last fall.:o Let me know and I can pop those in the mail for you.

Talked to my elderly neighbor earlier before supper and noted kindly that perhaps he would like to have some flowers in his wee garden bed of 12 inches by 5 ft bed. He said that would be lovely so next week I will do a good deed and help out a nice old fellow with some cheery flowers next to his front door.

And he mentioned how beautiful my dogs were and how well-behaved they seemed. That made me feel good. I always worry about Sheeba being too friendly and wanting to jump on others for kisses.

June 4th, 2009, 07:05 PM
the domtar trucks use to pass by me all the time, I'm sorta glad they aren't anymore *L*, sent you a pm, I'll make up a box of different perenials for you but please don't ask me the names of them *L*

No worries, I like all types of flowers so it will be like a surprise package! That's very kind of you to do that. My garden is young but when it gets going I will definitely return the kindness

June 10th, 2009, 12:22 PM
ok, just finished digging up flowers *L* ummmm 4 different iris's, cone flowers, 3 HUGE hostas, two mini ones, some funky ground cover, chicken and hens, perenial gerraniums, god I hope she has room for them,,,,,

June 15th, 2009, 10:24 AM
offer still stands for plants for anyone in or around the cornwall area