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Save Money Gardening Using Recycled Items
The Beauty of This Article
Rarely do you find a writer who unashamedly boasts about the value of his/her article, but that is exactly what I am doing today. The value of this article lies in the fact that it serves three purposes: it helps you to save money; it helps you with gardening ideas; and it helps you to find creative ways to recycle.
Three for the price of one, and since you aren’t even paying for this article you are getting three for the price of nothing. How fantastic is that?
You don’t need me to tell you that times are tough. The economy is in the tank and it has hurt us all financially. Pay no never mind to what the government is telling you, or what the economic experts are telling you; the fact of the matter is that your buying power is weaker today than it was twenty years ago, and it is growing weaker daily. So saving money is something you should be interested in.
Do I need to tell you the value of gardening? Do I need to expound on the “warm and fuzzies” you get when you grow your own food? Do I need to tell you about the feeling of accomplishment you get when it is harvest time and you know you are eating something that you raised from scratch? Is there anyone who disagrees with the fact the homegrown vegetables taste so much better than Monsanto-engineered vegetables?
And finally, is there anyone who does not understand the value to society that accompanies recycling? Is there anyone out there who does not understand the damage done to the earth when we continue our current mining practices? Recycling means less minerals needed, and less minerals needed means less mining and less depletion of natural resources.
So you see, this article really is quite valuable. I guess, then, it is time to find out how you can save money, grow great food and help the earth. Read on!
A Statement of the Obvious
I love frugal. Anyone who has followed my writings over the years knows that to be true. I work too hard to make my money; I can’t stand wasting it when I don’t have to. Add to that the fact that I refuse to buy into the consumerism craze that has ruined this country for decades. We have lost touch with our roots. We have become the worst of all societies, a convenience society, willing to spend billions on items and services we are fully capable of producing or supplying.
But I am heartened of late. I live in a city, namely Olympia, Washington, that encourages community gardens. Here you will find a resurgence of gardening, that time-honored pastime that took a back seat during the 80s, 90s and into the 21st Century. Here you will find gardens in a majority of the yards, backyard and front yard, and a city that embraces those practices. Here you will find a large Farmer’s Market and a handful of smaller ones, all offering local produce, cheeses and meats, and all organically grown.
Yes, I am heartened. I read daily about this movement towards self-sufficiency, and I talk to neighbors and online friends who are once again seeing the wisdom of growing our own food. It warms the cockles of my heart and encourages me to continue in my quest for the perfect urban garden.
So now that you are here, and now that I have shared my vision with you, let me take you around our property, all 1/8 of an acre, and tell you about some items we use that save us money.
More pallet ideas
- How To Make A Patio Chair Using Wooden Pallets
Here is a great project that requires very little knowledge or skill, and the great news is it will cost you practically nothing to build.
Free Wood Anyone?
Any gardener who has not discovered the wonders of wooden pallets is a deprived gardener. I don’t care where you live; you should be able to get your hands on some wooden shipping pallets for free. Look behind big businesses near their loading docks. You should spot a pile of them. Many businesses will be more than happy to have you haul them away.
And what do you do with those pallets? Oh my goodness, where do I begin? I have written articles about making a chicken coop out of pallets, which we have done. I have written articles about making lawn chairs from pallets, which we have done.
In addition, you can easily make a pottery bench using a pallet and four sturdy pieces of wood for legs. You can make raised beds from pallets. Simply remove the nails from the pallets and use those slats for the raised bed. Nail them to corner stakes and presto chango, a wooden pallet becomes a planter.
You can also use pallets for vertical gardening. Tack garden netting on one side of the pallet, fill it with dirt, plant your veggies while the pallet is on the ground, and after the roots have established themselves you can stand the pallet up and lean it against a wall. This is easy to water, too, since you simply pour water at the top and it flows down to all the plants in the pallet garden.
Tool shed anyone? How about a compost bin? Both can be made simply by screwing four pallets together in a square and then attaching a piece of plywood on top with hinges. One does not have to be a carpenter to do these creative projects. Hey, we even have a pallet fence that separates two sections of our yard.
Now turn your imagination loose and come up with some more ideas.
Odds and Ends
I’m sure most communities have garage sales, so you don’t need me to tell you about the great bargains there; however, in Olympia, it is common practice for people to put items they no longer want out on the curb for free takeaway. That’s how we came up with the toilet in our garden. That’s right, I said a toilet! That toilet made a funky planter for us last year and it will do so again this year.
We also found a free dresser alongside the road last year. What does one do with a dresser? Take the shelves out, put four legs on it, punch holes in the bottom, fill it with dirt and you have a great lettuce table for growing lettuce free of slugs. Dressers are also great for storing long-lasting vegetables after harvest. Just put it in a cool location and you can save veggies for up to two months.
Do you have any old sheets of plastic around the house? Here’s what you do with those: take two pallets and lean them against each other so they make a pyramid. Now staple the plastic on to the sides and you have a free greenhouse. The inside will increase in temperature by 30 degrees on sunny days in early spring and you protect your plants from late frosts. You can do the same thing using storm windows once you take them down after winter.
Do you have rocky soil? Take four pieces of wood and make a square with them. Then take an old piece of wire mesh and staple it onto the frame and then sift your dirt to get rid of the rocks and pebbles.
- Frugal Greenhouse Designs and Idea
Garden like a professional using these inexpensive methods of making a greenhouse.
I Could Go on and on and On
But the point is this: most of your needs around the garden can be met by using things that you already own. We all have junk accumulating around our yards and in our garages. Use that junk in your gardens and save money in doing so.
Do you want to fertilize your garden? For God’s sake don’t go out and buy fertilizer. If you have chickens like I have suggested several times then you already have all the fertilizer you need.
What I am suggesting will not be found in Better Homes & Garden Magazine. No, my suggestions are much too rustic for that fine magazine. If you have an overwhelming need to spend money then for goodness sake, buy the latest issue and follow their advice. If, however, you want to save money and have a feeling of accomplishment, then follow Old Bill’s advice and make do with what you have. The environment will thank you for it.
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)