Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cheapskate Garden Tip 10

Cat + Fly + Screen
Originally uploaded by zebble

Hi All,
Warning to cats: don't try this at home!
In case your cats rip a window screen, or the screen ages to the point where you must replace it, consider cutting the screen to sizes to fit in the bottom of your garden pots.
Set in the piece of screen before filling with potting soil.
This is an ideal way to let water drain out while preventing soil from falling out the bottom of the pots.

This tip is very green since it prevents torn screens from ending up at the city or county landfill, and costs us cheapskate gardeners zero zip nada.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Kissing Trees and Arbor Day

"Kissing Trees"
Originally uploaded by MaestroBen

I found this photo of Kissing Trees on flickr, and it was appropriately taken in Nebraska, where the first Arbor Day was celebrated in 1872.
The official U.S. Arbor Day is the last Friday in April, with many states celebrating it on different dates.
Tree planting days are now world wide, thank goodness, with Uganda having a tree day on March 24 and Venzuela on the last Sunday in May, among many countries with tree planting days.
So go ahead and plant a tree soon, no matter the day.
In 2001 the oak was chosen as the official National Tree, so feel free to plant an oak or any trees you favor.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Cheapskate Garden Tip 9

Save Money By Growing Your Own Produce vs. Store Bought
Here is a big encouragement to grow your own fruits and vegetables: it can save you money.
Experts say that one square foot of garden yields about $1.00 worth of produce, so a typical 15 foot by 20 foot garden, or 300 square feet, can yield $300.00 of produce.
The average gardener spends about $70.00 on a 600 square foot garden. If your garden is that large that could be a savings of $530.00 on produce.
For beginners, I advise you to start small.
A four by six foot vegetable garden is an easy and manageable way to begin.
For apartment or condo dwellers, even five or so large pots on a sunny balcony or patio, filled with herbs, tomatoes, zucchinis and strawberries can yield quite a lot.
So get out there and grow veggies and save some bucks.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Book "Gardening Eden" giveaway and review

I read "Gardening Eden" by Michael Abbate, where he shows us the Biblical roots of caring for our earth, and easy tips on how to improve our own behaviors to benefit the planet. The book blog tour is going on now, April 20-24, and I have a free copy to send to one of the folks who leave a comment here.
In the book's introduction Randy Alcorn writes that sometimes evangelical Christians are not in the lead in caring for God's creation of the earth, and how the Bible directs us to work in the Garden of Eden and to "take care of it". Genesis 2:15.
Abbate includes 50 ideas for what we can do to care for our planet, and some of them are money saving tips, which are very welcome.
Some ideas he explains: grow vegetables, even just one tomato in a pot!
Get a programmable thermostat that turns the heater off or down at night and when folks are not at home. Set the temperature no higher than 68 degrees; this is comfortable.
Dry clothes on a line outside, weather permitting, and on a wooden clothes rack in the house in harsh weather.
The beauty of these tips is that of the fifty, you may already do 10, 10 are not achievable for you, and this leaves 30 to consider. If each of us can do 10 more (or even one more) of these things, it will have a big and positive effect on our home, the earth.
When I was eleven, I joined the conservation group "Defenders of Wildlife", and continue my membership every year since then so my love of God's creatures and our earth go back a long way and this topic is especially dear to me.

Leave a comment here to be considered for the free copy of this book, and share your favorite green tips too.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Cheapskate Garden Tip 8

Originally uploaded by sillydog

Seed swapping is fun and inexpensive. Daves Garden at has a huge Plant and Seed Trading area.
7,000 gardeners are listing 34,000 plants and seeds that they offer, and that they want.
On the main web page click on "252 Forums", and on the left of the forums page click on "Plant and Seed Trading."
This is free and you don't even have to sign in to read the posts here. Since the gardeners often list what town and garden zone they live in you can keep postage costs down by finding gardeners near you, or maybe even a gardener in your town that you can hop on your bicycle to swap with.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter's Gift

Did you see yesterday's post with the photo of the flower cross?
Today is Easter and this photo sums up why we celebrate Easter and love this day, and this gift, so much.
I hope each of you who read this post will have some celebration today, whether modest or grand, and trust that if you are alone or burdened, know that God loves and cares for you completely, and so do lots of prayer warriors around the world.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter flower cross

Easter flower cross
Originally uploaded by Avondale Pattillo UMC

The first time I saw a flower cross in church, I was enchanted by the beauty of the cross, the flowers, and all of us taking a flower up to it, and adding it to the cross on Easter.
We gardeners had all been asked to bring flowers from home, so that made it a true communal project. What a perfect combination of flowers and Jesus, for this Christian gardener.
Happy gardening to all, and Happy Easter too.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I Love Oatmeal

I Love Oatmeal
Originally uploaded by Amarand Agasi

In my opinion oatmeal has everything to recommend it, from scads of health benefits to delicious taste.
My bad cholesterol level was slightly elevated one year ago, and I made one big change: yup, oatmeal most mornings. Last month my cholesterol was back in the normal healthy range. Hurray!
I buy the big cardboard canisters of Quaker Oats, that say "one minute oatmeal" on the box. Put 1/2 cup oatmeal and 1 cup milk or water in your microwave oven for one minute and 30 seconds, stir the oatmeal, and cook another 30 seconds.
I cook the oatmeal in one percent milk, and when done craisins, brown sugar, blueberries, strawberries or whip cream from a can make this a fun and fast meal.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Cheapskate Garden Tip 7

Run Little Rabbit Run (Away from my Garden please)

wild bunny in our garden
Originally uploaded by cathy cullis

Rabbits are pesky garden visitors. They are so cute, but will eat flowers and vegetables that we work hard to grow.
Some of us cheapskate gardeners resent sharing with bunnies, and devise ways to keep them out.

My friend, Brenda Nixon
reports success in repelling the rabbit invasion by using human hair near her favorite plants.
She brings home her hair clippings after each visit to the hair salon and sets small clumps of the hair near favored plants. Some salon owners will give customers bags of hair swept up from their shop floor, which saves the salon owner from disposing of the hair, and is recycling at its finest.
Dog owners save clumps of dog fur from home grooming of their dogs, and use it in the same manner, putting dog hair near favored plants, at row ends and along rows of vegetables. Dog groomers often are happy to give gardeners bags of clipped dog hair.
Happy gardening.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Cheapskate Garden Tip 6

Make Friends With An Obese Cow
My friend Cathy // is in the alfalfa hay business, and she suggests that gardeners make friends with an obese cow. Cows produce lots of fertilizer. Just be sure to season the manure since fresh manure will burn your plants.

Being in the alfalfa hay business she told me they have customers ask to come and sweep out their barn, and then use the hay scraps in their garden for mulch, soil lightening and fertilizer value.

You can also offer to sweep up at a feed store that handles alfalfa and use those scraps on your garden. This is win win for you and the store or rancher since you do the sweeping, they have less hay scraps to dispose of, and your garden gets the benefit of free hay.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Cheapskate Garden Tip 5

The March of the Old Forks.
My dear friend, AKA Dr. Watson, gave me this great idea that she has seen in a garden.
When I plant long rows of vegetable seeds I sometimes forget what I planted in which row, as I wait for sprouts to appear. And even when the dainty green sprouts appear, it sometimes is not clear which veggie is arising. I need a tomato or zucchini to show up, then I know for sure.
I don't have any garden row seed packet holders, and now Dr. Watson has shared a fun idea with me.
Dr. Watson suggests to take old kitchen forks and stick the handle in the ground at the end of a row of seeds, and put the empty seed packet between its tines.
Eventually forks become worn out, and we earth lovers and penny pinchers don't want to throw anything away. Now the forks have a chance at a new life.
This is a useful tip that costs little or no money, and is upbeat when seen in your garden.
If you don't have any old, tatty forks at your house, garage sales and flea markets often have rafts of them for sale at ridiculously low prices. I might even say at dirt cheap prices.
Anyhow, the idea of little regiments of old forks, gaily holding up seed packets while marching across my garden, is a pretty thing to contemplate.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Cheapskate Garden Tip 4

Seeds, yes, seeds.
Seeds are so cheap compared to plants. I bought some seeds half price last week, for 79 cents a pack, from a major company.
For a wider variety of seeds you will probably pay full price, which is often under $2.00 a packet.
I bought some Botanical Interests seeds, Baby Round Zucchini and a Kohlrabi and Sugar Peas, for a total of about $6.00, and which will produce a bounty of vegetables, or that is my plan!
For sure fire results I find that the most reliable sprouting is from large seeds: zucchini, bean, pea seeds are big and packed with nutrients so are very dependable in sprouting. Carrot, radish, lettuce, mustard and Swiss chard have tiny seeds, yet are dependable too. I grew the Bright Lights Swiss chard from Burpee pictured here and it really has gorgeous stems of yellow and pink and red.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools Day and a Cool Meme

I searched flickr with my name, and found this gorgeous photo of Cinque Terra, Italy. It reminds me of several fishing villages I have visited, including the boats in Bebek, a suburb of Istanbul, where I attended college.
I read about this fun meme at Victoria and Kim's blog at
and they read about it at Garden Reflections blog.
To participate simply add "is" to your own first name, as in "Elizabeth is" and google this, and post the first five results in your blog.
I found by googling "Terra is":
Terra is helping scientists unravel the mysteries of climate and environmental change. (Any chance I can get a Nobel Prize for this? Or just the cash would be nice).
Battle for Terra
Terra is a collaborative indie filmspace
A half-human, half Esper, Terra is ... (main character in Final Fantasy VI). Wow, half-Esper, I must investigate this, since my family geneology has left this out. I hope Espers are noble folks.
Welcome to Terra, Malibu's finest homegrown restaurant
Hey, tell us what you find when you search your name plus "is".