Gardening on a Budget

gardening on a budget

I like to joke that I tend to spend more money on plants than clothes, especially since retiring. However, with increasing costs around the world, life’s essentials take precedence over plants and flowers. That’s where gardening on a budget comes in.

Propagate Your Own Plants

I have shared several posts on this theme. Propagation is not difficult, it just takes patience. The good news? It is very rewarding when you get the hang of it and it saves you an incredible amount of money.

Starting Plants from Seeds

Probably the most rewarding adventure, growing plants from seeds takes the most time, effort, and paraphernalia. Pots, heating mats, and grow lights all add up. Without those things, your success rate will inevitably be low and frustrating.

You also need space to set up your nursery. I am an empty nester so have spare rooms in my home that I easily convert in the winter months for the propagation of all types.

Using Leaves to Create New Plants

I’ve had great success with propagating succulents with little to no work or failures.

Simply remove a few leaves from a mature succulent and lay them (horizontally) on top of a shallow bowl of chunky, made-for-cactus/succulents, soil. Light spritz with water every day until a baby develops. That’s it!

I grew over thirty new succulents last winter for my niece’s wedding decor. I started with four succulents (I had two and purchased two others for variety), two large saucer-like pots, succulent soil, and a sunny window. Although I had great success without a heating mat, I did add one part way through the process to speed it up. That was my impatience kicking in, I would have been better off keeping them smaller for the driftwood project I had in mind.

Divide Perennials When Gardening on a Budget

This is by far the easiest way to increase your plants if gardening on a budget. Many perennials thrive when divided every few years too. Some will divide easily, others might require the use of a sharp spade or fork.

Simply place the severed chunk in a new pot with fresh soil or straight into a new spot in your garden. Either way, water well after the split.

I also used lots of divided perennials for the recent wedding I put together floral displays for.

Share with Neighbours, Family, and Friends

The best (and most economical) thing about propagating is the fact that you will have lots of baby plants to share, trade with, or sell. Markets on Facebook or other forms of social media are full of plants every spring.

Houseplants can be Propagated as well

I’ve also extended my collection of houseplants over the years with various propagation methods and success rates.

The bottom line? Gardening on a budget is easier than you think!

Frost Warnings, How to Protect Your Plants

frost warnings

Many locations on the east coast of Canada and the USA have had frost warnings the past few nights with more to come for the next few days. Some annuals tolerate a light frost, others not so much. Of course, the first frost date varies across the globe, sometimes year to year within the same area.

In other words, frost is unpredictable.

You can extend the season on both ends by heeding frost warnings in your weather forecast. In the spring I tend to start my containers early to ensure I get the annuals I want. If a frost warning is issued, I move the containers into my garage, off the (cold) cement floor, for the night in question. The same technique can be used in the fall when a sporadic early frost is in the forecast.

These are ways you can protect your annuals.

Sheets, Towels, Tablecloths, and even Plastic

Beds of annual (those that you have to plant each spring) flowers can be protected with bed sheets, towels, or even tablecloths. I get the cheap tablecloths from a dollar store, the ones with the felt-like backing; they work great. Sticks or stakes can be used to prevent the covering from crushing the plants, and rocks to hold the covering down so they don’t blow in the wind.

Plastic garbage bags work too and often fit right over containers, just ensure they reach right to the ground. And again, use rocks to hold them in place. Or tie something around the base to hold the plastic in place; burlap works well here too. As do large tarps, although they can be heavy but work great on raised beds with tiny seedlings. If plants are taller, simply add stakes around the plants to keep the tarp off them.

Of course, whatever you use will depend on the size of the beds or containers you wish to protect.

Frost Covers

Yes, frost covers are a thing sold in garden centers, nurseries, big stores, and even on Amazon. I’ve never tried any of these options, if you have please let me know how you like them!

A Warmer Spot

If you have annuals in pots or still in their nursery containers waiting to be planted, simply move them to a garage or basement for frost warnings. If in an unheated garage, store them on something so they are not on the cement floor. A shelf or even storage bins work well. Then you can move them in and out depending on the weather.

If you have lots, a wheelbarrow or cart works well to transport them back and forth. You could even leave the tender plants in whatever you use in the garage.

My yet-unplanted annual collection stayed in my garage all day yesterday as the temperature here never reached double digits before another frost warning last night.

frost warnings

Don’t Worry About Perennials in Frost Warnings

While annuals will be affected by frost, most perennials will not. Perennials can be planted as soon as the ground is thawed and will survive the temperature fluctuations in spring and fall.

Perennials can overwinter in containers too if you choose plants two zones hardier than what is normally hardy in your area. Otherwise, you can stick them in the ground to overwinter, to use them again the following spring.

November Weather

So far, our November weather has been incredibly beautiful. At least it has been here in eastern Ontario. We are enjoying this fall bonus as it’s not going to last for much longer I hear.

Garden Blooms Still Glorious

With the warmer-than-usual October and November weather, our perennial garden blooms are still hanging in there. A few light touches of frost have killed off some annuals but even many of them still look lovely. These are from the butterfly garden at our local hospice. I have been hesitant to replace the annuals in my containers for fall and winter decor because the annuals still look great.

Yard Work

Home and cottage yard work has actually been quite pleasant with this nice November weather. In fact so pleasant that fall is fast becoming our favourite cottage season. Warm days and evenings with an absence of bugs have been a bonus.

Even though we are missing a few trees, the deciduous (with leaves that fall) ones make for lots of leaves. It takes days to rake and mulch them, then add them to gardens. Every bit we get done this fall means less to rake in the spring!

I’ve also been granted a few extra days to clean up gardens for clients in my gardening business.

Lakeside Sunsets

The extended fall weather means we have been able to enjoy more lakeside sunsets than usual too. I cannot remember enjoying weather like this in November. When the weather is warm, my arthritic bones and joints are keen to stay at the cottage as long as possible.

Even the turkeys have been enjoying the weather (in the trees, third picture) Hopefully, your fall weather has been nice enough too. What bonuses have you experienced with this November weather?