Friday, February 5, 2010

List of Money Saving Ideas in the Garden

Reuse the laundry water.  We use Eco Laundry Balls, so our water is left with no washing powder remains. We intend connecting the washing machine to an outside tank so that the water can be reused in the garden. There’ll be a bit of capital outlay initially, but savings thereafter.

Composting – save on fertilisers and avoid buying in soil to top up the gardens. We have bins in three areas on the property so that there’s no excuse not to put compostable waste in one when it arises.

Make your own fertilisers - I’m still keen on the comfrey tea. Try collecting seaweed. Try worm farming and using their castings as fertiliser. Castings have a NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, potassium) ratio of 3.2-1.1-1.5. These nutrients are readily available to the plants and will never ever burn your plants.You’ll avoid buying fertiliser and will greatly improve the productivity of your garden.

Stale coffee and coffee grounds also make great organic fertiliser. They provide many trace minerals and low, gentle levels of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous

Reuse stuff – our blocks are bigger than a city site so we can afford to have some unused resources lying around. You never know when that piece of wood, or tire, or wire netting or plastic bin or whatever might come in handy.

Grow from cuttings.  Ask neighbours for cuttings of desired plants instead of going to the nursery and buying one.

Eco-source some plants.  We’ve successfully transplanted Karo, Totara and Five Finger from local properties where these have self seeded.  Ask permission first.

Keen on flax?  There’s always people keen to get rid theirs so place an ad in the local paper and offer to dig it out for them. Replant at home. Its hard, hard work, but you’ll get free plants.

Collect vegetable seeds. Okay, we don’t really do this yet, so I can’t say how to do it.

Used carpet can be cut it into wide strips and laid it down between the rows in your garden as a walking strip. Or you can use it as mulch/ no weeds layer.

Cutting up pine trees for winter firewood? If left for a while the bark falls off. Collect it and use the bark to make garden paths or mulch. It rots down eventually and serves as a useful compost.

Water in the evenings. The water is more efficiently taken up by the plants. Water less frequently but in decent amounts when you do water. This allows the plants to root deeply.

Use flax flower stems as garden stakes. This idea came out this month’s NZ Gardener magazine. The flax stems are ready to be cut, and this is what they’ll be used for on our property in the near future.

Any other great ideas?


  1. Absolutely fabulous post!

  2. Sounds great but do you actually do all that?

  3. Anonymous - yes we do all those things except for collecting the laundry water, and we do intend to eventually do that. We hope to have that in place before next summer.