Inexpensive Gardening Ideas

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​​Gardening-woman-300x199.jpgAging parents and other seniors who are on a budget often look for inexpensive ways to have fun. Those with a green thumb - or just a fondness for things green – who like to keep a little green in their wallets may want to consider some of these inexpensive ideas for gardening.

  • Consider reusing equip​ment. Start-up costs of gardening can sometimes add up, especially when it comes to buying spades, trowels, and other pieces of equipment.  Aging parents may want to think about getting secondhand equipment. The local thrift shop may have some perfectly good pieces. An online resource like Freecycle ( may have people who are willing to give away garden tools or exchange them for something else.
  • Protect the gloves. Gardening gloves are often essential, but they can wear out. Aging parents and others can help them last longer by using duct tape. Turn the gloves inside out, line the interior fingertips with duct tape, and turn them back to right side out. This extra reinforcement helps keep holes from tearing through the gloves.
  • Weed right. Weeds are an enemy of any garden. Many gardeners use expensive weed killers; however, for many weeds, spraying them with cheap vinegar can be just as effective.
  • Contact the Department of Sanitation. Often local sanitation departments have programs that provide free mulch or compost. Call the departments in the area to see if they offer such a service.
  • Grind it out. Save coffee grinds (and get grinds from friends). Many organic gardeners report that coffee grinds are an excellent fertilizer.
  • Get kelp. When visiting a beach, round up some seaweed to bring home. Plant it in the soil, as seaweed contains many minerals that can be beneficial for plants in gardens.
  • Reuse boiled water. Steaming or boiling vegetables removes some of the nutrients from the food and adds them to the water. Rather than tossing this water, save it, let it cool, and then use it to water plants so that they can take advantage of these nutrients.
  • Soap it. Aphids can be a problem for many plants; pesticides are an expensive way of treating them. For a cheaper method, mix together a couple of teaspoons of liquid dish soap in a bottle of warm water and spray them with that.
These suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg, but they can help aging parents get started on a less expensive way of beginning or maintaining a garden.

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