Your garden allows you to observe and enjoy nature while keeping you active and providing you with a calming oasis in which to relax and unwind. Such a blessing often comes at a hefty price but you can practice thrifty garden care with a little thought and a few helpful tips. Many simple measures can be taken to keep costs down and here are a few to help you go about doing just that - without losing out on good lawn care and effective garden management.
1. Plant Perennials
Annuals bring a welcome splash of colour to flower beds and window boxes but they are short-lived and require replacing year after year. By opting for alternatives among the wide range of equally vibrant perennials you will enjoy plants that can live for many years. Consider drought resistant varieties that will cut down on excessive use of water and save yourself even more money.
2. Adjust Your Mower
Raising the cutting height of your lawnmower to three to four inches during the summer months will protect the grass roots from the sun and keep them cooler to retain moisture. A healthy, vigorous crop of grass will reduce scorching and deter weeds from taking hold. Assist the process and replace nutrients into the soil by leaving the grass clippings on your lawn. You will diminish the need for watering and fertilizing and cut out the cost of landscape refuse removal or dumping.
3. Lawns and Soils
A slow-release fertilizer applied to your lawn once a year during the fall is sufficient for most gardens. To avoid the application being washed or blown away, it is best carried out when the soil is moist then lightly watered. This will save on having to put more fertilizer down.
In a good, nourishing soil, some of your plants may need little or no fertilizer at all. Too much nitrogen and other fertilizer ingredients can damage or kill your lawn or garden plants so use sparingly and to the requirements of individual plants. Use compost food scraps and yard trimmings to provide cheap, beneficial additives for your lawn and herbaceous borders to further save money.
4. Make Your Own Pesticides
Consider using natural alternatives to chemical pesticides. Used incorrectly, pesticides can pollute water and kill helpful as well as harmful insects. Non-detergent soaps, hot pepper sprays, used dishwater or one teaspoon of liquid soap to a gallon of water will all act as a deterrent to pests.
There are many attractive plants that naturally repel insects. Introduce marigolds into your flower beds to keep beetles at bay while mint, garlic and chives discourage aphids.
All of these will save money on expensive pesticides that could ultimately damage your garden.
5. Use Water Wisely
Finally, use water wisely. Water usage constitutes one of the most expensive areas of garden maintenance. Check hoses and sprinklers for leaks and operate during the coolest part of the day to combat evaporation. Why not make use of what comes naturally by installing a barrel or similar container to collect rainwater that can be freely used at any time! Even bath water can be saved and used, thus saving noticeable sums of money every year.