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Frugal Gardening Tips

Updated on October 10, 2013
Our garden in April, 2012
Our garden in April, 2012 | Source

Gardening Never Ends

Any gardener knows that the work never ends in a well-maintained and efficient garden. If you aren’t weeding in the summer then you are harvesting and preparing soil in the fall. If you aren’t preparing in the winter you are planting in the spring. It is never ending and it is oh, so enjoyable.

Any gardener also knows that gardening can be expensive. Buying soil treatments, compost, fertilizers, plants, etc., costs money and can quickly eat away at your savings….but…it doesn’t have to be so!

In this article we will talk about some very practical ideas for saving money around your garden. Some will save you big bucks; some will save you pennies per month; all will save you money, and for a frugal gardener that is like manna from heaven.

The other advantage of many of these tips is that they make your garden more self-sufficient so that you spend less time in the garden and have more time to enjoy other interests. Living Simple is all about simple living, and in the best of worlds you will be able to enjoy your garden while spending less time in it and less money maintaining it.

Shall we begin?

Yes, I know, we have some cleaning up to do
Yes, I know, we have some cleaning up to do | Source

Make Your Own Compost Container

Compost is a must for any serious gardener, and of course you can go to the nursery and buy pre-made compost, but seriously, how silly is that? Why not make your own compost bin at practically no cost?

There is nothing difficult about making a compost bin if you are not concerned with aesthetics. Go out and find three pallets. They are easy to find behind stores, where broken pallets are often given away. Fasten the three pallets together so they form three walls of your compost bin. You can either leave the front open, or make a fourth wall that is removable so you will be able to turn over your compost with a shovel or pitchfork.

Now start filling your compost bin with grass clipping and vegetable matter from your kitchen. Add dirt, water it daily, keep turning it over, and within months you will have great compost for the garden.

Simple Instructions

Use Rain Barrels

If you really enjoy paying for utilities where you live then skip this tip. If, however, you like saving money AND saving water, then let nature do your water-gathering for you.

You will need a 55-gallon food container($10 on ebay), and you will need to make sure you wash it thoroughly before making your rain barrel. Let’s see, what else? You will need a drill, a couple spigots and washers, and you will need the ability to follow the instructions in the video to the right of this section.

Once you have made your rain barrel, then sit back, let it rain, and use the rainwater to water your garden and potted plants. Fifty-five gallons of water will water quite a few plants!

Use Recycled Containers for Seedlings

I am always a little amused by people who go out and buy those plastic containers to start their seeds in; I can’t imagine a bigger waste of money. If you have eggs in your household, then use the egg cartons to grow your seedlings in.

We have also used yogurt containers and they work just fine; make sure to punch some holes in the bottom of each yogurt container so you don’t have any mold. Seedlings do not like mold!

Note the tent poles that are the frame for the greenhouse
Note the tent poles that are the frame for the greenhouse | Source

Make a Greenhouse for Early Spring

Do you live somewhere where spring arrives late? How about making a greenhouse so you can get those seedlings started early in the season? No, I’m not talking about spending a lot of money. The greenhouse we are building will cost about ten dollars, and that is the cost of the plastic sheeting.

Greenhouses do not have to be fancy. We have used pvc pipe as the frame for the greenhouse, and we bought the pvc pipe used from Craigslist. The greenhouse we are building for next spring will be made using fiberglass tent poles, as you can see in the accompanying picture. We will then attach the sheeting to the poles and we have a functional greenhouse that took all of one hour to make.

Grow Perennials

Yes, annuals are pretty, and yes, they come in vibrant colors, but don’t ignore perennials, the perfect plants for people who do not want to buy plants each year. The beauty of perennials from a living simple standpoint is that they keep coming back year after year after year, and many of them spread and multiply. They are, indeed, the gift that keeps on giving.

The other thing we like about perennials is that we can dig some up and trade them with neighbors who have plants that we would like to add to our garden. It’s called bartering, or trading, and it does not cost a penny, and it carries with it the added bonus of getting to know your neighbor and building community.

Insecticides Are a No-no

Take a few days and read Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring” about DDT in the United States. After you finish reading that, go gather up all of your insecticides and get rid of them. You do not need insecticides in the garden to control insects. It is extremely harmful to the environment and is also harmful to the food that you are growing.

I have two words for you: diatomaceous earth! It is a natural product which, when sprinkled on your flowers and vegetables, will take care of most of your insect problems. You can sprinkle it on the leaves of plants and it does no harm to the plants, and will wash off easily.

If you don’t want to go that route, buy some ladybugs. You can actually buy those little insect controllers over ebay; release them in your garden and watch the aphids die of fright.

Are you having trouble with slugs? Here in Western Washington we actually have a Slug Festival, so you know we are familiar with those slimy garden killers. Here’s a suggestion: get a duck! I promise you that within a week you won’t have a slug problem in your garden; as an added bonus, the duck poop is excellent fertilizer.

For future use in the garden
For future use in the garden | Source
Odds and Ends for the garden
Odds and Ends for the garden | Source

Use What You Have and Get Creative

We are not into spending money in our garden. We make everything we need from scrap lumber and other items we have around the house. We keep our eyes open for free stuff on Craigslist, and we look for great deals, and I mean great deals, at garage sales. We do not buy anything new for the garden.

If you look at the pictures on the right, you will see a number of raised garden beds, all made out of scrap lumber that we did not pay for. You will see a lettuce bench, almost completed, made from scrap lumber. You will see a compost bin made out of used pallets. You will see old chairs and benches, bird feeders and watering dishes, all found for free around the neighborhood.

The total cost for everything in that garden….everything….was $20 for two loads of garden topsoil.

Get creative….get funky….get thrifty…..and get busy!

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Thoughts on Simplicity

More to Come!

There are so many ways to be creative, be frugal, and have a wonderful garden area. We have just begun on our garden and we have had countless hours of enjoyment, sitting in the garden, thinking of new ways to improve it, and just watching everything grow up around us, all fruits of our labor and creativity.

Living Simple is exactly what it says….finding ways to simplify life. Bev and I don’t care that nothing is new in our garden. We don’t care what it looks like, nor do we care if anyone else would approve. All we care about is growing our own food in the least invasive way possible and for the least amount of money.

We will be doubling the size of our garden next spring, and I can promise you right now that we will hardly spend any money doing it. We have a chicken coop we want to build. I priced them recently at $400. Are you kidding me? I can build one for…..well, that’s the challenge now isn’t it? I’ll bet you I can have five chickens and a chicken coup for $50. Who wants to take my bet?

Living Simple….may you all find the joy in it!

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Bill, you and my dad should shake hands. He also loves to garden in his backyard and follows many of the tips you actually posted here already. I am going to let him read this one, because he would truly take pleasure in this topic and all your wonderful tips. Thank you for sharing and yet again another wonderful article in your series. Have of course voted and shared all over too!!

    • peeples profile image

      Peeples 4 years ago from South Carolina

      Great article. We made a rain barrel last year and have loved it. We also haven't bought seeding containers in years. I punch a couple holes in the bottom of baby wipe containers, old tupperware that I've lost the lids to, or even the bottom of soda bottles sometimes. This year we have had issues with slugs for the first time. I had never heard of ducks being the solution. I bet my children will be happy about that one! Thanks for the tips!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, it would be an honor to shake hands with the father of such a wonderful person such as you. That is a man I could respect instantly. :)

      Thank you my dear; your dreaded Saturday is approaching. Enjoy today while it lasts. :)

    • profile image

      kelleyward 4 years ago

      Wow Bill this is packed with great tips for frugal gardening. I hate to admit I have tried gardening the last three years with minimal results. We live in too much shade. Maybe I'll plant a shade garden, if there is such a thing next yr! Voted up across!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Peeples, I admit, ducks are not for everyone, but they are cool pets and they certainly do the job in a garden.

      Hooray for you, doing all those things. Love your suggestions!

      Thank you young lady; have a great day!

    • profile image

      SilverGenes 4 years ago

      You have some excellent suggestions here, Bill. I've done many of these things already through necessity living on a lighthouse but haven't tried the greenhouse yet. I also want to try that system building the circular garden on compost. Thanks for more food for the brain! :)

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Bill. Great tips. I've been thinking about getting a rain barrel for a while now. It's amazing how much stuff that would otherwise be trash can be used in the garden. I also like the greenhouse idea.

      Great Hub as usual. Will share, VU and everything else.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      What great ideas. It has gotten me thinking about our yard that is just filled with small rocks...Thats a long story. We would have to build up as there is really bad soil here. I love the way you improvise and find ways to do things and get results of a yard full of wonderful fruit, veggies and flowers. It seems like a simple idea to find the least expensive way to do things and recycle what we have. Wish everyone would follow suit. Love the ideas and I really enjoyed reading this hub..from real life story....Voted UP.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kelley, there are actually a lot of things you can do; check out my hub about edible forest gardening; all of those items are for shady areas.

      Thank you my friend and have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alex, you live in a lighthouse????? How cool is that? I am now jealous!!!!

      I hope some of these tips help in the future; thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Bill! We are pack rats, Bev and I, and we are always looking for free stuff that we can use in the garden. It is so easy to find and use with no expense. Hope these ideas help you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, Bev and I are constantly looking for free lumber and other giveaways....never know what you need to build. It helps that we both have wild imaginations. :)

      Thank you; I hope some of these ideas help you in the future.

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

      I think your garden is beautiful Bill. Why shouldn't gardens have unique personalities too? As for the chicken coop, I wouldn't think of betting against you. Kudos to you an Bev for growing your own food and keeping it simple!

    • bac2basics profile image

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Hi Billy.

      I´m on the same page. In fact one of my first hubs was how to make a garden on the cheap. Too many home and garden makeover shows are trying to push us into spending much more than we can afford. Consumerism gone mad. Voted up etc Billy. Enjoy those fresh eggs when you get your chickens :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Linda! It was time to take a deep breath and get off the rant today. I'll have a new rant on Sunday. :) In the meantime, take care and enjoy your day.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      bac2basics, it's ridiculous how much money people spend on gardening. I won't do it, not when there is free stuff out there for me to use. It may not look great but you can't beat the price. :)

      Thank you and have a great weekend!

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Bill, great hub, lots of useful advice. This year has been my first as a fledgling gardener but I managed to grow my own peppers, tomatoes and lots of strawberries and lettuces. I found some great frugal advice online from a frugal living site and we have something here called Freecycle where you can give stuff away and get stuff from others giving it away. There seems to be plenty of seeds and other gardening bits and bobs on there so I am taking a leaf out of your book in 2013 - gardening on the cheap!

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 4 years ago

      These are truly frugal tips. Have hundred of pallets behind our company, and our boss wanted to give them away, as you mentioned. I just suggested to call some people and give them away for winter needs. Never did venture into gardening, I guess I will one day. Those pics are awesome and show first what you are writing about. Don't mind the mess, as long as I see a use to it. Great "greener" hub my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Julie, great comment....I like the freecycle idea....I might be able to use that in our neighborhood or community. Great thoughts....thank you my friend and happy gardening!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joseph, I'm also using pallets as the flooring for the chicken coop....so easy to use, and easy to attach a frame to. I learned a long time ago the great uses of pallets.

      Thanks buddy and have a fantastic weekend!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      We have a small garden and do follow some of these wonderful gardening tips. It is always a pleasure reading this series of living simple and frugally.

      Voted up, useful & interesting

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Rajan! I'm glad some of these ideas work for you. Have a great weekend!

    • Farmer Rachel profile image

      Rachel Koski 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Great hub, Bill - of course I approve! Scrap lumber is a great source of "stuff" to use to build "stuff", but don't forget about mother nature herself! We use a lot of raw wood from trees that needed trimming, or died. People in suburbia could probably score some branches and boughs from their neighbors' trees; "tree trash" that goes down in storms is particularly good! You can build all kinds of cool-looking stuff for the garden from raw wood, including trellises :) Love your low-cost gardening philosophy. 'Round here, David and I call it "ghetto farming," and we do just fine! As far as your chicken house goes, one word - chicken wire. So cheap! Give them some sort of roof and some chicken wire and you're good to go. I hope you'll be composting their nitrogen-rich manure!

      I love your Living Simple series, gets me all enthusiastic!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Rachel! Regarding chicken wire, I'll be darned if I can find it cheap around here, but I have all winter to come up with something....craigslist will surprise me almost daily, so I'll keep on the lookout. I love your term "ghetto farming." It perfectly applies to our backyard. LOL I think you need to do a hub about ghetto farming....might be a big hit!

      I appreciate your great comments; have a great weekend! We are having such great weather that we are forced to work in the garden this late in the year....in our shirtsleeves! :)

    • rcrumple profile image

      Rich 4 years ago from Kentucky

      Bill -

      I remember you discussing this before, but in much less detail. I can see where this can be extremely cost efficient for anyone that can have a garden on their property. You gotta add one more spot in your vote area that says, "Great ideas, I'd love to try them but I've got a lousy landlord that won't allow it!" Great Hub, my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rich, let me speak to that ass of a landlord! I'm sure he'd listen to reason, right?

      Thanks buddy; Bev and I are having a blast coming up with creative solutions that cost practically nothing.

      Have a great weekend; you are appreciated!

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      You're living my kind of lifestyle - simply! My husband and I follow many of your tips. I also learned a few extra tips today. Like, how easy it is to build a compost bin. I have always shied away from it because it looked so intricate. I want something easy and your idea sounds like something I can do. Hubby and I never pay for potting containers. We go to the local home improvement store and ask them for any unused containers and they give them to us - free! They don't re-use them, instead they send them someplace to be recycled. So, if we get to the store before the containers go in for recycling, the manager just hands as many of them to us as we want. Another thing they give away is those little slats that go between the layers of pallets. We used those to create a decorative weave for the chain link fence in our garden area. The store would only have a few at a time, but each week we would go and pick up whatever they had available and little by little, over time we were able to finish the fence project - free.

      With a little bit of research - and asking, we manage to find a lot of free stuff in the world. It's like you say, we just need to be creative. I am definitely finding the joy in living simple.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marlene, I love it! I'm trying to picture what you are talking about when you say the little slats....I'm having a hard time imagining what that is.

      We should be neighbors; we could just accumulate free stuff, put it in a general pile, and share with each other. :)

      Thanks for the great comment and have a great weekend.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Oh, William I would love to be your neighbor. It would be fun sharing free stuff between us.

      I wish I could send a picture so you could see what I'm talking about. I'll try my best to describe them.

      What they look like: Roughly cut wooden lattus strips that are 1.5" Wide; 1/4" Thickness; and 8' Long.

      What they are used for: Creating air space between the pallets of wood to allow the wood to dry evenly.

      You will find them in the lumber area of Lowes or Home Depot. My husband says there is a term for them, but he can't think of it right now. They look like long wooden ribbons. We discovered that Lowes breaks them up as soon as they are pulled from the wood pile, so there is hardly a chance to get them from Lowes. But, Home Depot leaves them around for a while and if you catch them on the right day, then you will be able to pick up a few of them on the spot. Sometimes they are broken, but that's what Gorilla Glue is for, right?

      I hope that helps. If not, I'll take a picture of it and post it on my Facebook page where you can go see it.

    • profile image

      SilverGenes 4 years ago

      Bill, I'm not at the lighthouse now. That was back when my daughter was born. She thought the entire world was made of islands until she was four years old - kind of like Water World without the violence LOL. A lightkeeper from 1904 brought earth back to the rocky island bit by bit in his 14 foot boat until he had enough to garden. It built up over the years with composted plants so I had a fantastic place to grow just about all our food. It was an incredible experience!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marlene, thanks! I think I know what you are talking about now. Somewhere in the deep recesses of this old brain I remember seeing them. Great idea and one I think we will try ourselves. :)

    • LaThing profile image

      LaThing 4 years ago from From a World Within, USA

      This is a wonderful hub..... I love having a little veggie garden. I have done it few years, and all that effort is worth it. Like you said, it's a lot of work, but really helps with the budget. I love the pictures of your garden, very organized :)

      Voting up and very useful!

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      OK. No wonder there was such confusion. I spelled "lattice" wrong. Anyway, I posted a photo of it on my Facebook page. You'll see it right away. It's titled, "Posted for billybuc." I think you can get to my Facebook page from my HP profile page. I'll "friend" you!

    • sen.sush23 profile image

      Sushmita 4 years ago from Kolkata, India

      Billy, I would start with the great little video you have put up- on simple living. I rather hope that the impetus to work, to be innovative, to be diligent- does not continue to be dependent on the resultant 'ability to hoard'. However, with consumerism being defined over and over again, in terms of signs, instead of things, since the past century- and into other more complex intangibles, it seems a difficult habit to give up. The garden hub has lots of ideas that one could make use of - I will try to get my own rainwater barrel. I too am new to gardening- and some ideas like cheap, reusable containers have been blinking off and on. I see that you suggest the same- Thanks for sharing this simple yet useful and thought provoking hub and voted up.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 4 years ago from Minnesota

      I love your ideas here Billybuc! We have a garden each year and although we grow lots of veggies, it can get surprisingly expensive...We don't have a compost yet and I think that would be great place to start. Thanks as always for sharing your simple living with us! We all can learn so much from your example.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Being a fairly avid gardener I thought I couldn't possibly find out anything new but surprisingly (cause I'm always right, not) I did. We use diatomaceous earth in our pool filter....never knew about using it for bugs! Pure genius Bill!

      Thanks for the tips. Another great Living Simple hub.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      What a talent you are Mr Greenfingers, definitely GREEN!! Love your pics and what you have accomplished , truly inspiring. It reminded me of our rain barrel we had in our family home growing up. Mum was the gardener then . How she would have loved reading this hub!

      Love the greenhouse idea, the raised beds and compost heap! Great Great article my friend and mega thanks for for my inclusion, I appreciate that most sincerely.

      Voted up everything, shared and pinned!! You and Bev have a fab weekend :-)

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      My family planted a garden every summer when I was growing up. I have fond memories of pulling weeds, pulling tomato worms off the plants, etc. And the harvest! That was the most fun of all. Of course, the strawberry patch was our favorite. : ) Love your ideas for saving money, especially the duck to eat slugs and fertilize. Talk about killing two birds with one stone! Voted up and shared. Another great installment in the living simple series.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alex, what a fascinating place that would have been for a child to grow up around....thanks for the share! Have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LaThing, I really hated to share pictures of it from this summer because next year is going to be so much better...I'm so excited about the additions we are making.

      Anyway, thank you for the visit and have a great weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well Marlene, I tried to find you on Facebook and failed miserably....if you get a chance, look me up....Bill Holland from Olympia.....and I would love to see that photo....thank you!

    • suzzycue profile image

      Susan Britton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great Hub on gardening Billybuc. Nine times out of ten if you use something you find ,you can make it look good enough but it is the food we are after. Nothing tastes better than picking your own homegrown tomatoes. Well done tips for the number one activity ,gardening.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mpropp, I think you'll love having that compost bin if you build it. No more smelly garbage in the house.....if it's organic it goes in the bin and let nature take care of it. :) Thank you for the visit and enjoy your weekend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I learned about the D. Earth from another Hubber....I had tried everything and none of it worked, and I refuse to use insecticides.....and then out of the blue, a Hub about it and it works great.

      I'm glad you got something out of this. Thanks my friend and have a wonderful weekend.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suzie, it was actually your hub that was the inspiration for mine, so thank you my dear. Glad you enjoyed this random compilation of ideas. Bev and I are planning on a great weekend; you do the same.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Vespa.....tell you the truth....I hate weeding. It's the one part of gardening I truly detest....but watching things grow, and harvesting.....such a cool experience. I never get tired of it.

      Thanks, as always, for the visit, and enjoy your weekend.

    • suzzycue profile image

      Susan Britton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you Billybuc. Always happy to inspire someone. Have a great weekend and I will too.

    • profile image

      Samnashy 4 years ago

      Great tips for gardening. I think we will see an increase in gardening and producing our own food. It's good o know where your food comes from. I love the local farmers markets and all the fresh produce., it tastes so much nicer than that of the supermarkets.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Suzzycue; you are right, nothing tastes better! Have a great weekend my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Samnashy, I think you are right, we will see a great increase in gardens in the near future....money is getting tighter and people are eating healthier. Thank you for the visit!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sen.sush, thank you for a great comment. We only use things we get for free in our garden; we make everything that we need. It may not be the most beautiful garden in the world, but it serves our purposes and that's all that counts.

      I hope we see an end to consumerism and the need to own things; it is such a waste of time in the search for true happiness.

    • Rusticliving profile image

      Elizabeth Rayen 4 years ago from California

      Absolutely love container and square foot gardening. Been doing it for years and it is the best way to grow your veggies and plants. I love your outline and suggestions and tips. Thumbs up my friend!

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 4 years ago from Hawaii

      You already know I love gardening! I'll have to see if I can work a link in to one or two of my small space gardening hubs. For me, getting down in the dirt and planting seeds is almost a religious experience, and it is amazing to watch tiny seeds grow into something beautiful/edible.

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 4 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      Many excellent tips Bill! I had to leave my garden behind, but at some point I will be back in a place where I can have another one.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lisa, thank you! There are so many ways to be creative and they don't cost a penny. I love it all!

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Bill, I'll bet you can make a chicken coop for even less than 50 bucks. If anyone can do it, you can!

      Years ago, I bought this little wooden contraption that presses strips of newspaper into pots for seedlings. You can just stick them right into the ground. It's pretty handy and a good way to recycle.

      I think a garden that uses recycled materials has much more character than one with brand new supplies. It also reflects one of the messages of an organic garden--take good care of the earth while you're here! -Liz

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Natasha, I think my favorite part is seeing the seedlings poke out of the ground. I feel like a new parent every spring. LOL

      Have a great weekend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mark, I have no doubt my friend! There are changes down the road and I am quite confident you will come out on top. Have a great weekend buddy, and thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Radcliff, I have to see one of those contraptions you are talking about....what a great idea and I'd love to have one. I'll be searching for it this weekend.

      Thank you for the visit and I agree completely with your last comment.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Billy

      You seem to have a handle on the gardening. Great tips.

      I agree. I would never spend money to start seedlings. I like to cut the bottoms off of plastic containers and poke hole in the bottom.

      You are the man with many abilities.

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh thank you Radcliff; I really appreciate that!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Beckie, I am a man who learned early that necessity is the mother of invention. :) We make do with what we have; another lesson from my dad. :)

      Thank you dear lady!

    • tipsheets profile image

      tipsheets 4 years ago from Philippines

      very helpful!

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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      What a great article. You sure can get lots of things for little or no cost that will be great additions to the garden. Another winner. Awesome and up.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you tipsheets...glad you liked it.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Deb! Around our household, if it costs money it's bad. LOL I appreciate the visit and I'll have your highlight coming out tomorrow.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      I had a gentleman's garden: though attractive it required a minimal amount of care. As I am house bound now no one takes care of the yard.

    • Duffee profile image

      Duffee 4 years ago

      Excellent Hub. Tomorrow I am tasked with cleaning up the garden bed for the fall...(no pumpkins this year) but after reading your hub, I can't wait for spring. : ) Cheers!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I use many of your tips. I plant a small garden every year, tomatoes, bell peppers and cucumbers. I have already cleared the area for next year but first winter..Yuck..

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      Dennis L. Page 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border

      Voted up, useful and interesting. It is always a joy to read another gardener's article. I have seen the wood pallet compost bin on line before and thought it was really a great idea, although I haven't done it myself. I have dug a series of holes in my garden and then filled them with coffee grinds and vegetable scraps.

      Although the bulk of our growing season is over, I will be planting my garlic now and then wait the nine months to harvest it. Lettuce and cabbage are still growing, along with the chives.

      I'm fortunate in knowing an old Italian friend who is kind enough to share some of his heirloom seeds with me (nothing genetically engineered) and the results have been wonderful.

      Like you mentioned, I refuse to use any chemicals on my plants. One trick I've found to combat slugs from my lettuce plants is to lay down strips of copper wire between them. For whatever reason, slugs hate copper.

      Super great article and I enjoyed it immensely.

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      Ajeet 4 years ago from Mumbai, India

      Any special tips for container gardening?

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Martin, I am sorry that no one takes care of your yard now. You are a class act; I respect you for showing not bitterness about your condition; always upbeat and supportive and that says quite a bit about the man you are. Thank you Sir!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Duffee, it's funny, but winter isn't here yet and I'm already excited about our plans for the garden six months away.....the eternal gardener! :) Thank you and have a great weekend!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, you are up early this morning.....oh, I guess not....time difference and all. Let's hope winter is gentle on your area this year. I know we don't want a repeat of last year when we had a huge snowstorm and lost power for seven days.

      Have a great weekend Ruby!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pagesvoice, thank you and yes, copper wire does work for sure. We are having the most amazing growing season here; we still have veggies growing their second crop here. I have never seen anything like it in these parts.

      Happy gardening to you and have a great day! Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      AjeetKhurana.....there is a link to a container gardening hub on this hub....written by a good friend....in fact, Suzie has several hubs about that subject.

      Just about anything that will hold soil can be used, as long as they are perforated so water can seep out.

      Have a great day and thank you!

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      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      I love that you're branching out with your topics Billy! Another well-written and informative hub. Keep up the good work.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Crystal, my mind never shuts down; ideas come out of nowhere. My main problem is finding the time to write about everything I want to write about. :) Thank you young lady and have a great weekend in Georgia!

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      Sasha Kim 4 years ago

      Wonderful hub!! I've been trying to convince my husband that we should compost... but he's not convinced. He's worried it will breed more flies and smell too much. Is he right?

      My favorite is your idea to make a temporary greenhouse right over the garden bed!! That is fantastic!! I will certainly have to use that idea ^_^

      Can't wait to hear about your chicken coup ^_^

      Voted a bunch and shared!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sasha, compost bins will smell a bit, but not as bad as you might think. Just keep it away from the house and if possible downwind from the house. Keeping dirt on it, and turning it over once a week, helps the smell considerably.

      I hope you try the greenhouse idea; it really helps in the early spring when there is still a chance of frost. You can add thirty days to your growing season.

      Thank you my friend; enjoy your weekend.

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      Christy Birmingham 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Great tips here Bill! I know little about gardening and even I can understand many of your points. With money tight for many people this is a great hub. I vote up and sharing too.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Christy, that's how I feel when I read one of your craft hubs. LOL I know very little but you make it sound so easy I'm willing to be I could do it. :)

      Thank you so much; have a great weekend!

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      whonunuwho 4 years ago from United States

      Great hub, Bill. My wife and I have been growing many of our own veggies and enjoying it when we are able to harvest a good crop. It has more meaning at the dinning table, doesn't it.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Whonunuwho, thank you sir! Yes indeed, there is much more meaning when we grow it ourselves. Have a wonderful Sunday!

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      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      When we had a garden, we had ducks. They would go through the plants and pick off all the bugs and slugs. They were our sons pets as well. Great ideas for frugal gardening. I like the rain barrel idea as it will make the best water for the plants.

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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      I grew up having to work in my parents garden which was 2 full acres. We grew everything imaginable. When I moved to the South, I just couldn't figure out how to grow a good tomato plant. Other things do better though. Thanks for sharing these excellent tips.

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      Patsy Bell Hobson 4 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

      It's always helpful to share good information. Gardeners always love reading about gardening. I like the simple living focus of your pieces.voted up and useful.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dianna, you are right about the ducks; they do have a tendency to poop on the lettuce, so we are building a lettuce table this year and getting it off of the ground. :) Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tammy, truth be told I have horrible luck with tomatoes......and corn. Everything else we can plan on having at harvest time. :)

      It has been a pleasure being your friend these past nine months. Thank you!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Patsy, you are so right....gardeners stick together. :) Thank you!

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      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Love the look of your gardening space. We have so much shade in our yard but take advantage of the few sun shining spots we have for growing veggies and herbs. Great hub. Up votes and sharing!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Peggy! Shade can be a big problem for vegetables. Unfortunately, I have no tips for that. :)

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      jessefutch 4 years ago from North Carolina

      I've always wanted to add a greenhouse! It's almost time for our annual indoor planting ritual. We're in Eastern NC, so we're lucky enough to grow veggies well into November and beyond. This hub will definitely help me cut my gardening cots. Thanks for the great info. Voted and shared.

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      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Can't have a garden in an apartment, Bill, but I can certainly grow potted plants and will take some of these into consideration! Thanks for the tips!! I will share them now.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jesse, I'm glad these will help you. Must be nice growing veggies that late in the year. Thanks for the visit.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michelle, that would definitely be a hindrance as far as a garden is concerned. :) Thanks as always and have a great Sunday!

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      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      Simply brilliant ideas. Very useful and helps save up too. Great hub, voted up and shared.

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      Brenda Barnes 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Hi Bill. This year we had container gardens in wooden boxes that my son in law found for free. A machine shop apparently got parts in them and then set them out by the curb. They are made of pallet slats, are about 3 feet high and 4 feet square. They worked so well. They are not pretty but those tomatoes sure were! You have given me some great ideas here that I will certainly use next year. We are going to expand also and grow winter vegetables also.

      PS-I love having a compost bin. it is amazing what one can compost. Our is in one of those same wooden boxes. Thanks for your suggestions and help.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Vellur! I love saving money and I love gardening. This hub shows both of my loves.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hyphenbird, there are so many wooden boxes available if one keeps their eyes open for deals. Great suggestion and I'm glad those worked out for you. Good luck winter gardening, and thank you for the visit.

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      Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Some wonderful tips here billy, I use a lot of them - I get quite excited about the contents of my compost bin!

      Voted up and useful.

      Your garden looks great, many thanks Lesley

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Leslie.....LOL....I get excited about the same thing. Every time I turn the compost over I look to see what wonders are there. It is the little things in life that are so rewarding.

      Thank you!

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      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Useful hub! We love our rain barrel. It is amazing how much water we save using it versus tap water for our plants. I am also a great believer in perennials and have some friends that I swap with often. If you were closer, I would give you some of my lamb's ear and black eyed Susans!

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      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      These are great ideas, Bill. Thanks for all the suggestions. Gardening is a wonderful activity, even if someone only has a tiny space available or has to grow plants indoors. It would be such a shame if someone wanted to start a garden but decided not to because they thought they wouldn't be able to afford it. Your tips are very useful!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, great job, and I would trade perennials with you any day. Funny you mentioned black eyed Susans because we are going to plant those next spring.

      Thank you my friend!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alicia, i agree totally! Gardening does not have to be expensive. We just got through building two more raised beds and it didn't cost us a penny....scrap lumber people were giving away. Thank you for a great comment.

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      Theresa Ast 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Billy - Terrific Hub. Great suggestion. You and my father could have been brothers (although you are much much younger). There wasn't anything he couldn't re-purpose or reuse several times over and "jerry-rigging" was his middle name. :) Had he known about Craig's List, he would have loved it. :) ~~ Theresa

    • Made profile image

      Madeleine Salin 4 years ago from Finland

      This summer I had potatos, carrots, beets, chard, lettuce and beans in my garden. The potatos are small, the carrots are stuck in the ground, but once you get them out of there they taste very good. I hade one bean and the beets didn't grow much. It has been a cold and rainy summer so I'm hoping for a better season for my vegetables next year. I guess I'd need a greenhouse.

      I enjoyed reading this hub very much. It's nice to see what you and Bev are doing to be able to live simple. Enjoy your week! :)

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Billy this one is for me. I'm already doing some of these, I always make use of water butts, I use the egg containers, they are also biodegradable and easy to plant out, without disturbing the seedlings too much.

      Another great informative write.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Theresa, thanks for telling me I'm younger than your father. LOL NIce touch!

      The key is not caring what something looks like after you have made it or jerry-rigged it. If you can get over that hurdle then it's a kick seeing what things you can use. Love it!

      Have a great week!

      bill

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Made, my dear friend, it's so nice to hear from you. I wish you and your family well!

      It was a cool first-half of summer here as well; consequently the corn and peppers did not grow. Hence, we will have that greenhouse next year for sure. They are so easy to build for under $10 that I'm surprised more people don't have them. :)

      Thank you dear lady; have a great week! Sending hugs your way.

      bill

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, it's good to see you! I'm a confirmed frugal gardener. We just did a lot of work in the garden yesterday and didn't spend a penny. Love it!

      Have a great week my friend, and thank you!

      bill

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      Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

      Great tips for my garden. I have just started making my compost and I hope it will not take long until I could use the soil from it. I have started planting in our garden bell peppers, tomatoes and some seedlings I got from my friend, as I´m at the moment for a few months in my home country, so I can plant anytime I like. Voted this up and shared to my followers.

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      Connie Smith 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Great info, Billy. I especially appreciate that you discourage the use of toxic pesticides. They are ruining our planet, killing off good as well as bad bugs (all of which the birds will eat for you), and polluting our water supplies. Voted Up and Pinned!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thelma, I wish I could be planting now, but winter is fast approaching. Thank you for the comment and happy planting!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Grandmapearl, you are oh so right, and you won't find a pesticide anyway in our yard or garden. Thank you for taking the time to read. I hope all of you have a very mild winter. :)

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      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Great tips, Bill. I actually have 2 homemade composters in my yard. I've dedicated one of my green tips to how to make a composter from a plastic garbage can. Additionally, another of my green tips addresses how to rid your garden of pests, organically.

      I will use your rain barrell tip. I've been wanting to make one for quite some time now. With the rains we get in Central Florida, it certainly will save on the water bill in addition to adding Mother Nature's tears to the landscape rather than the hard water we have in my town.

      Cool hub my friend; right up my alley!

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, I'm glad you enjoyed it; I had the feeling you would approve.

      Rain barrels are very easy to make; so easy i often wonder why more people don't use them.

      Thanks my dear friend.

      bill

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      Linda Compton 4 years ago from The Land of Enchantment

      Hi Billybuc,

      Great article. We are living totally off the grid in NM and loving it. The garden will happen next year. We've now got 7 hens and a very handsome rooster; and have been the grateful recipients of fresh eggs for over a month now. Building a "real" coop so they can be safer for winter. Loved your video, too. You and your beloved be well. L.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Linda! We are in the process of building a chicken coop as well, and we'll be getting our hens next spring. I appreciate you dropping by and best wishes to you.

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      timewarnercablenc 4 years ago

      really like your garden :)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      timewarner, thank you and I appreciate the visit!

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      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Planning now for next spring and summer's gardens is smart business. These tips will be helpful to many who are making plans to garden frugally! The video has a great plan for a rain barrel. Don't know that I've seen a better one anywhere.

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      RTalloni, thank you for the visit! The video is spot on; we have done it and it is quite simple to do.

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      Jessee R 4 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      I personally feel at peace when I am gardening.... tending saplings and touching the wet soil.... for me it is breath-taking... :)

      As for the scribe Sir Bill.... I know m late.... but I am here... thanks as always for the enlightenment :)

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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rahul, there is something about working the soil that is good for the soul. I'm pleased that you enjoy it, and thank you for your kind words. Good to have you back my friend.

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