Thursday, June 16, 2011

Four Tips for Lazy/Cheap Gardening

I'm a big fan of finding little ways to save time and/or money in the garden.  With a little creativity (and lots of trial and error) I can usually get the job done with less.  Here are a few tips I've found:  

#1: You don't need a wheelbarrow if you have a sled.
Whether you're loading up logs or weeds or woodchips, a big ol' snow sled works great for hauling garden materials.  

I saved about 6 trips across the yard by hauling firewood on the sled instead of carrying it!

#2: You don't need to hire someone for money if your friends will work for cookies. 
We needed to cut up some firewood, but we don't have an axe.  Luckily, our friend Erik had a chainsaw and all I had to do was bake a batch of gluten free Mexican chocolate snickerdoodles (Ok, maybe I had to make 2 batches.  But only one was for Erik).  Now we're set for fires all summer!

#3: Just because you love your car doesn't mean you can't haul mulch.

I'm not about to dump bulk wood chips in the back of my sweet ride.  But I don't really want to pay for delivery either.  And it's SO much cheaper to buy mulch in bulk.  Solution?  Line the back of the car with the rain shield for an old tent that we got rid of last year.  Put one of our kiddie pools in the back of the car.  Load up the wood chips.  In case you use this method, you'll probably want to know that 40 five-gallon buckets of wood chips equals one cubic yard.  And you can fit about 10 five gallon buckets' worth in a small kiddie pool.  The other method I used was to buy 10 bags of mulch, then save the bags and refill them at the landscaping center.  I could fit 2 five-gallon buckets worth in each bag, so it just took 2 trips to get one cubic yard.  

#4: Take advantage of your cats

I'm not going to kill any little bunnies or birds eating out of my garden, but if my cats want to, I'll gladly reap the benefits.  In addition to Trouble Cat's cold-blooded murders, I have another anti-bunny tactic. I like to brush the cats, collect their fur and spread it around the garden beds.  I have absolutely no scientific evidence of this, but I hypothesize that the cat scent will deter rabbits and other little critters.  

What are your favorite gardening tricks that save money or prevent you from working too hard?


kelli said...

great tips! i start plants from seed which seems to be cheaper, and i get them really cheap from ohio heirloom seeds in the winter when there is a wide variety. i also save my own seed, but shhh, don't tell monsanto.=)

foodfeud said...

I love the sneaky cat-hair scatter method. And the mixing of seasons with the sled!

Brie Marie said...

Liz, I was at your place for the garden tour, and was excited to see what you are doing. Then I realized, that you are Mike's partner (acquainted from the co-op, neighborhood and bus) which made me even more excited. I was hoping for more of the lazy/cheap gardens on the tour. Thanks for sharing.