1 Trade seeds with fellow gardeners.
Check your local garden club for seed-swap events where anyone can bring seeds to trade with likeminded growers. For the online equivalent, check out the GardenWeb forum and Heirloom Seed Swap. A membership to the American Horticultural Society (starting at $35 per year) will get you access to a national seed exchange, and you can find a state-by-state list of more than 150 seed libraries at richmondgrowsseeds.org.
2 Check Craigslist and Freecycle.org for freebies.
Landscapers sometimes have leftover pavers and scrap wood they need to offload. Check the Free and Farm + Garden tabs on Craigslist, or sign up for Freecycle, where everything’s gratis. Score!
3 Share a cutting with a neighbor.
Admittedly, this good deed has selfish motives: If you share with a friend, they’ll be more inclined to let you propagate plants from their garden. English ivy, monkey grass and pothos are all easily transferred.
4 Make fertilizer from chicken bones.
Bone meal makes excellent fertilizer for tomato plants. Clean as much meat, fat and gristle off bones as possible, then bake them in the oven on 284 degrees F for approximately 3 hours. Next, break the now-brittle bones into small pieces using a hammer or metal mallet — wear safety goggles during this step! — then grind those bits into powder with a stone grinder or mortar and pestle. (For more details, check out SF Gate.)
5 Protect your cuttings with plastic bottles.
Blogger Minna makes mini-greenhouses using the top halves of soda bottles.
6 Start your seeds in K-Cups.
Fresh Eggs Daily
Starting with seeds is cheaper than buying plants and used K-Cups already have a hole in the bottom of them that’s perfect for drainage. Save the coffee grounds to sprinkle on garden soil later — it’s a great source of phosphorous, potassium and magnesium. Get the tutorial at Fresh Eggs Daily.
Want more ideas? Check out 10 Household Items That Make Perfect Seedling Starters.
7 Mix your own organic pesticide spray.
One Good Thing by Jillee
A concoction of castile soap, neem oil and water can keep fungal infections and pests like aphids away. Get the recipe at One Good Thing by Jillee.
8 Make a watering can from an plastic jug.
Need a watering can? Try this quick trick! #GardeningTip #gardening #jug #wateringcan #garden #flowers
A post shared by @ flowerhutindy on Jan 27, 2015 at 6:08am PST
Puncture 10 to 15 holes in the cap and voila! One less thing you have to buy.
9 Get creative with large-scale containers.
Oversized ceramic planters can sell for hundreds of dollars. Jill Krause of Baby Rabies used round trash cans ($15 each) to get a similar look for less.
10 Regrow vegetables from scraps.
Lettuce, celery and green onions are a few of the veggies you can completely regrow in water, while the list of produce you can start from scraps and transplant to your garden is even longer (think: avocado, mushrooms, onions and more).
Get the tutorial at Don’t Waste the Crumbs.
11 Kill weeds with cardboard.
Flattened cardboard boxes can be used as a weed barrier in sheet mulching. Cardboard is biodegradable, meaning, in theory, it’ll decompose after the weeds are gone.
12 Save money on soil by using filler.
The brilliant minds behind Garden Maine used smaller containers to fill in the bottom of a large planter.
13 Make garden markers from upcycled materials.
Thrift store spoons served as the basis for these markers, made with Mod Podge and acrylic coating spray. Get the tutorial at Domestic Simplicity.
14 Water in the morning or evening.
You’ll use less water by tending to plants during cooler temperatures because it won’t evaporate as quickly as it would when the sun’s high overhead.
15 Install a self-watering device before you go on vacation.
The Garden Glove
There’s no need to pay someone to look over your plants while you’re out of town. A clean, empty wine bottle filled with water will do the trick. Get the tutorial at The Garden Glove.