Like this? Share it with your friends!

I love to garden!

Wildflowers in Texas
Wildflowers in Texas

I should end there.  Except that it’s complicated, as love so often is.  We’re a military family, which means we’re renting.  (What, would you buy a house in San Diego if you might leave in 3 years?!  Thought not.)

It’s tough to be a gardener in a rental home.  Every time I pull into the driveway or look out the back door, I dream of  transforming this yard into my perfect garden.  I want to make one hundred trips to the local nursery until I’ve planted something green or flowering or edible in every corner.   I want to dig and hardscape and compost and on and on until it looks like a botanical garden, or at least like my mom’s awesome garden.

My mom's amazing garden!
My mom is an amazing gardener!

Do you know the feeling?  If you are lucky enough to have the time and money for a perfect garden – go you!  The rest of us need ways to make our gardens good enough.

I have grand plans to garden, but the projects need to be extremely budget-conscious.  (If I don’t have a budget, I’ll go hog wild at the garden store and blow all my cash.  It’s problematic.  If you love to garden, then you know the feeling!)  Allow me to introduce my project called the “Thrifty Gardener.”   In case you haven’t noticed, I have too many hobbies.  Paint and yarn are expensive, so garden projects need to be penny pinchers.

Best way to pinch pennies in the garden?  Seeds!

Getting started with seeds
Getting started with seeds

Here’s what I’ve done so far.  I bought “jiffy pots” that will decompose when planted, seed starting mix and seeds.  I bought mostly vegetables and herbs for the cool growing season.  (Take that, Laura!  You may have boot weather, but I’m still gardening!  How’s your kale hanging in there? 😉 )  Seeds of Change and Renee’s Garden have a great selection of non-GMO and heirloom seeds.

I’ll keep the planted seeds moist and water often until they germinate.  Then they’ll go into pots and the ground.  In the meantime, I’m going to move around the existing plants.  Important gardening lessons:

  • Put plants where they long to be!  Roses need sun (so the ones in the shade are moving up front).
  • Divide perennials when they get crowded.  (Overcrowding makes all lifeforms unhappy.)

Need help getting started gardening?  Check this out to get going.

I’ll be busy for the next couple of weeks replanting and dividing the current garden.  Then I’ll have room to add my growing seeds!  Here’s the current front yard in sorry shape…

Original scruffy front yard
Original scruffy front yard

Note the bin full of weeds and dead branches…  I have a lot of work to do!  Updates to follow including how to compost in a tiny garden.

**Update:  Here you can see how the seedlings looked!

Ta-ta for now!

Emily sig

Are you a thrifty gardener?  We’d love to hear your tips and tricks! 

7 Comments on Thrifty Gardener

  1. Oooh, composting, “black gold”. That’s next on the project list! Will give you the info I have on that for sure. We’re lucky in San Diego, the city helps us out with this one. 😉

  2. Em, I’m so excited about this blog post!! I can’t wait to follow your progress. We’re still in a condo so I STILL (after 6 years) am confined mostly to container gardening. The nice thing is that plants can move inside/outside, go to a “babysitter” for a week or two if we go out of town, etc :) It is tough, however, to grow many veggies without deep enough containers. Any tips for veggies I can try planting in 6 to 8 inch deep containers? Specific brands? Also, I know its early, but do you have a favorite source for tulip bulbs?

    • I did all container gardening last year and am doing a lot this year as well. It can be so easy even if you do have a yard! Most veggies will grow happily in a container, but I had thought that most need ~12 in depth (esp plants like tomatoes and carrots). For shallow pots, lettuces and herbs should grow happily. (Also “annual” flowers like alyssum and petunias.) Try “mesclun mix” which you can directly sow from seeds. It is so easy to grow and is very satisfying, and not worth buying the plant form as the seeds are amazing :) . I look for plants described as “container” friendly and last year grew cucumbers, lettuce, chard, green beans. More to come!

2Pingbacks & Trackbacks on Thrifty Gardener

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *