Saturday, April 07, 2012
Spreading The Wealth
The wealth of plants and flowers that is... I've always preferred to think of myself as frugal but I guess sometimes I'm just downright cheap because it just kills me to pay full price for plants and such sometimes. I mean, I will occasionally buy, and pay good money for, certain plants. Like an heirloom apple tree. But for the most part there are just so many ways to come by free or really cheap plants and gardening tools and I know these days lots of people don't have a lot of extra money for such anyway. So, being that gardening and such are the big "in" thing, how does one come by plants and save money too?
1. Most of the plants in my driveway flower bed were extras shared with me by friends or my mom. If you have friends that garden they most likely will have some plants that need dividing or reseed freely and most people are happy to share these.
2. I've told ya'll before about my .25 cent mums I get on clearance at the end of the fall season. Each season has their own clearance sales, so watch for these. I probably have 5 mums in this bed that I got for a quarter a piece. They might need a little TLC for the first season but I've never had any die and the next year they come back great.
3. Old abandoned homesteads are great for digging plants, just make sure you have permission. I've even dug them off the side of the road but make sure this is okay too beforehand. Several counties in my state also have "plant dig days" at the local landfills. Whenever they are about to move to a new area of a landfill they will let the public go in and dig whatever native plants you want before the area is cleared. These are always free and announced several weeks ahead of time. Your state may have something similar.
If you have any friends in the know, you can often go into a construction site before the excavation starts to dig plants too.
4. Jack and I happened upon a winter clearance sale at a gardening center and got 6 bottles of this fish emulsion fertilizer for $1 a bottle, so they often have many things besides plants on clearance. Keep your eyes open even in the winter too.
5. I'm very fortunate to have many great native species that grow all over my land; some of your friends or you may also. I have counted about 5 different species of ferns on my property, not to mention hydrangea, dogwoods, rhododendron and scads of flowers, so whenever I have an area I want to spruce up I often just go transplant stuff I already have out in the woods. You can fill in with one or two store bought plants if you like.
6. Don't be afraid to dumpster dive!! I got this cool, old planter out of a dumpster on a job I was on and my mom has been known to dig plants out of a dumpster too! The planter was broke but a steel pin in the base and that was fixed. Stuff like this has so much more character than that plastic/ foam crap they make these days. Thrift stores and flea markets are also good places to find old funky garden decor.
7. Many seed vendors will send you a free pack of flower seeds when you place an order for other stuff. I've gotten several packs of seeds this way.
8. Many people will also be happy to let you take cuttings from shrubs and trees they have or you can just propagate your own stuff this way. Sometimes it's kinda tricky to get them to take but even if they don't you are usually not out much or any money.
9. Joining gardening clubs is a good way to find friends for swapping plants and our local Master Gardeners club often has sales around town or at the farmers market where you can get some really good deals.
Do any of ya'll have any other frugal ways to acquire plants, seeds or tools for gardening?