The only difference between gardeners and cheapskate gardeners is the amount of money they spend to achieve the same results. The truth is, like no other hobby, gardening is actually more productive when the cheapest — even free! — supplies are used.

CONTROL WEEDS

Newspaper. It’s cheap, and it works beautifully. Cover the area with 10 layers of newspaper, and then spread mulch or compost over the top. Plant whatever you like by poking a hole in the paper for the seed or plant.

Homemade weedkiller. Dissolve 2 cups salt in 1 gallon white vinegar, and add 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap. Move some of the vinegar to another container so you have room to get all that salt in there. Then replace the amount you removed and add the soap. Apply with a spray bottle. Caution: Repeated use will sterilize the soil to where eventually nothing will grow. It’s ideal for driveways, paths and walkways.

KEEP CATS AWAY

Ammonia. Sink small open containers (baby food jars are good) into the soil up to the rim throughout the garden, and fill with household ammonia. Cats hate the smell of ammonia.

Pepper. Sprinkle the garden with ground black pepper. Purchase it in bulk at a warehouse club or bulk grocer, and apply liberally to the affected area. It won’t harm the cats but rather simply irritate their paws, so they’ll go somewhere else to dig.

Plant flowers. Marigolds have a pungent odor that repels cats and other bugs and animals. Plant them among your vegetable and flower gardens.

FEED YOUR LAWN AND PLANTS

HOMEMADE LAWN FOOD

1 cup Epsom salts

1 cup antiseptic mouthwash

1 cup liquid dish soap

1 cup ammonia

1 can beer

Mix the following in a large container.

Fill a hose-end sprayer jar that mixes its contents with water. Attach to the hose, and give your lawn a generous dose. Yum. (Set the dial so this recipe mixes with 20 gallons of water. You can figure that out. I know you can.)

PROMOTE NEW GROWTH

To guarantee the healthiest plants in town, when planting trees, shrubs and evergreens, scatter 10 unused match heads and 1 cup of Epsom salts in the planting hole. This promotes new growth and helps strengthen stems and roots.

Cheap fertilizer. Add 2 teaspoons plain household ammonia to 1 gallon water. Allow it to sit in an open container (and out of reach of kids looking for a drink) for a full 24 hours. Use on plants instead of commercial fertilizer. Caution: If you use more ammonia, it will be too strong, and you will burn your plants.

BUILD SOIL

Fireplace ashes. Spread wood ash from your winter fires onto the garden beds. Also known as potash, it will gradually build the soil, adding potassium as well as 32 trace minerals. And it’s free!

Increase acidity. Drench wet soil with full-strength white vinegar (or drench dry soil with a 50-50 vinegar and water solution) to increase the acidity of the soil for plants like azaleas and gardenias.

Mary Hunt

Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com/ . This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

Share
Published by
Mary Hunt

Recent Posts

President Joe Biden’s Schedule for Saturday, July 13, 2024

Schedule Summary: President Joe Biden spoke about the attempted assassination of former president Donald Trump and then…

3 hours ago

Emergency Room Doctor Attempted To Save Life Of Man Shot At Trump Rally

An emergency room doctor covered in blood told a reporter that he attempted to save…

3 hours ago

Trump Wounded, 2 Reported Dead In Assassination Attempt

Former President Donald Trump was whisked off the stage by Secret Service on Saturday at…

3 hours ago

Elon Musk Reportedly Makes ‘Sizable’ Donation To Pro-Trump Super PAC

Billionaire Elon Musk reportedly made a “sizable” donation to a super political action committee (PAC)…

16 hours ago

Pollster Predicts ‘Disastrous’ Outcome For Biden As Trump Dominates Majority Of Core Battleground States

GOP pollster Justin Wallin predicted a “disastrous” outcome Friday for President Joe Biden this November…

16 hours ago

Rudy Giuliani’s Bankruptcy Case Thrown Out By Federal Judge

Former Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani of New York City’s bankruptcy case was thrown out by…

16 hours ago