Summer is nearly here, but already the fruits and veggies are starting to arrive at farmers’ markets, along with robust bouquets of flowers. Want to grow your own buds this season, but a small budget makes you hesitate? Here are some ideas to get your green thumb some good exercise. Gardening is easy…just read the tags that come with the plants, and feed your soil!
Apartments without Balconies: If you have no bit of earth or outdoor space to call your own, you’re definitely going to want to invest in houseplants, ladies. Depending on the sunlight that filters into your abode, choose plants labeled “partial sun” or “no sun.” Flowering maples, ixora, geraniums, and oxalis are fun alternatives to a traditional ficus (green woody plant). If you have a sunny window, herbs will grow dandy with fresh air. Pillage thrift stores for interesting containers, making sure to have drainage holes to let out “dirty” water.
Apartments with Balconies: The Dollar Store is your new best friend for cheap, plastic containers, including window boxes. Thrift stores can also lend their old purses and baskets as stylized alternatives. Even old suitcases and picnic baskets make great plant containers. Fancy a cup o’ tea? A collection of teapot planters lined along a (wide!) ledge is a definite conversation starter, and can also be very sentimental.
Townhomes or Houses with Small Yards: Paintcan planters stepped upon a ladder can make a stunning focal point. Muffin tins filled with mini succulents can add some charm to a small table. Old leather shoes make generous planters for herbs, helping to keep soil damp enough to aid growth in full sunlight. A wagon-garden never gets old! Make it a fairy’s mini palace, or a portable kitchen garden with lettuce and above-soil-growing veggies. Herbs, tomatoes, and strawberries (though they take a few years to really get going), radishes, bush beans, Echinacea, and lettuce are rewarding edibles. Sweet peas, sunflowers, jasmine, and lavender are “sensual” flowers, catering to the eyes and/or nose with a variety of scents.
Houses with Big Yards: The biggest thief to your budget in big yard gardening is water. Opt for plants native to your region to maximize the eco-friendly benefits. Site such as waterwisebotanicals.com and a quick Google search can help locate plants that will save you loads of cash. Building some raised beds? Make a weekend project of reusing wooden pallets. Have an ugly concrete path? Rent a jackhammer for the day and break up the walkway into 3-4’ slabs. Chip off the edges for a rugged rock look. You can even stain the concrete…just make sure the chemicals stay far away from any plants. To cover an unsightly fence, plant a vine such as morning glory, trumpet vine, or bougainvillea. Fruit and nut trees take a few years to bear anything substantial, but patience will yield a fantastic reward! Buy them in the off season as “bare root” trees to cut costs up to two thirds. Try ethnic favorites: Meyers lemon, pomegranate, fig, blood orange, cherry, Asian pear, almond, walnut, and pecan.