Growing up during the great depression, my Grandma had a simple motto: Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without! This motto applied to her household and the backyard garden as well. Gardening more out of necessity than pleasure, Grandma had an array of thrifty tricks she used to make sure she maintained her garden with the least amount of expense. These tricks required nothing fancy, only simple household items everyone has in their pantry. If you are gardening on a budget, take a look at these 7 thrifty tips!

  1. Old hosiery. Do you have old or worn out nylons around the house? Don’t toss them! Hosiery can be used to tie plants to their supports. Because the nylon is soft and flexible, it won’t damage plants as they grow. By using old hosiery to line the bottoms of flower pots, you allow the water to drain out but keep the dirt in. Last but not least, slip them over ripening fruit so critters can’t nibble on it.
  2. Coffee Grounds. By sprinkling coffee grounds at the base of plants, you create a scratchy surface that slugs and snails won’t want to cross. It will also repel certain species of flies. Adding coffee grounds to your soil will also help improve the drainage! Not a coffee drinker? Most coffee shops will give you their grounds for free if you ask!
  3. Bar Soap. The strong scent of basic bar soap repels deer from eating your plants. It can be grated around ground plants or broken apart and put into a piece of hosiery and hung from tree branches. Bar soap with a strong deodorant scent seems to work best.
  4. Aluminum Pie Tins. Don’t toss that pie tin from Sunday night’s dinner! Rinse it well and reuse it instead. Pie tins are great for scaring garden pests away! The annoying noise they make when flapping around in the breeze, mixed with the flashes of light they reflect, can scare away pests and critters. Just poke a hole in them, add some string, and hang them from branches or shepherds hooks.
  5. Milk caps. After you chug that gallon of milk, save the cap. Fill it with beer and place near slug-vulnerable plants. The slugs will be attracted to the beer and meet their demise instead of eating your plants.
  6. Newspaper. Don’t toss that daily newspaper; it has a ton of garden uses! It can be shredded and added to your compost pile or placed in areas to snuff out weeds. Just dampen and secure it with rocks over any area where you wish to kill weeds or even grass. I have heard of people crumpling the paper into balls and setting the balls in the plants to trap earwigs.
  7. Styrofoam Packing Peanuts. Since styrofoam is not recyclable, it is important to find a way to reuse it. Packing peanuts are a great way to improve drainage in potted plants and act as a filler. Before adding soil to the pot, add your packing peanuts. They will act as a lightweight filler allowing you to pick up your pot easier, allow water to drain through, and save you money on soil since you won’t be needing as much.

So make Grandma proud. Gather up your household items and head to the garden! Even if you are lacking a green thumb, you will be adding some green to your wallet with all of the money you will be saving.

This has been a guest post by Katie from South Bend, IN
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7 Thrifty Garden Tips from Grandma