In case you have been wandering the outer fringes of Antarctica lately, you know that we Americans may or may not be, but certainly soon will be, unless a stimulus package miracle of biblical proportions happens, otherwise, we really will find ourselves in the midst of a good old fashion recession. I live in Cleveland, OH though. We have been in a recession for the past decade so, really, so not too much has changed here.
But gas prices are up, food prices are up and it is spring and there are empty flower beds to be filled. While I don’t mind missing a few meals to cover the cost of new plants, my husband and children are not in agreement with me on this. (Sheesh, haven’t they ever heard the whole feed the soul saying…)
So, since skipping meals is out and siphoning gas is illegal, I will just have to take other measures to ensure I have a plant filled spring.
- Plant Swaps – You probably have some extra plants in your yard (mostly uber-invasive ones if you are like me) that can be traded for something different. And, chances are, there is a plant swap in your area here soon. Check you local garden clubs, libraries and newspapers. Can’t find one? Organize one. Most local parks or libraries will happily let you hold them there for free and there are plenty of gardeners in need of new plants.
- Check the internet – Places like Freecycle, Craig’s List and eBay are great places to score cheap or even free plants. Check them regularly for deals. Feel free to post a wanted ad as well. Also, keep your eyes open for compost, gardening tools and dÃ©cor as well.
- Become the local Trash Fairy – Trash picking is an ancient and well respected art (at least in some third world countries). You would be amazed at what people will throw away. Don’t be afraid to pick up what you see in the trash. If anyone asks, just tell them you are saving the planet. They don’t have to know that you are just trying to save money.
- Buy wisely – Sometimes, especially when it comes to annuals, you just have to purchase. Do so wisely. Check the base of the plant before you buy. Is there one stem or more sticking out of the soil? Chances are at least a few pots will actually have more than plant in it, so you can get two plants for the prices of one.
- Buy plants you can propagate – Some annuals, like impatiens, petunias and Coleus, are dead easy to propagate from cuttings. Buy the largest, leggiest plant you can and take cuttings from it. Stick the cuttings in water, and in a a week or two you will have a whole new mess of plants.
- Grow from seed – I suck at this one (though I do still have 30 surviving nameless tomato plants with T-minus three weeks to planting), but some people are really good at it. Grow your own plants from seeds. Much cheaper.
- Buy small – You know when you see the gallon plant and the quart plant sitting next to each other and one is marked $20 and the other is $5 and the gallon one just looks so damn pretty because it is huge and you think maybe it is worth the $15 extra… It’s not. That gallon plant is probably only 2 months older than the quart plant. Buy the smaller one and it will fill out before you know it.
So after you lose your job and they foreclose on your house and you can no longer drive your car because of rising gas prices and your children starve because eggs and milk now cost a $1 more than they did before, you at least know that you will still be able to get your hands on some plants to cheer you up.
Actually, gardeners in general tend to be a frugal and fiscally creative bunch anyway, and most of these tips are standard practice for me and other gardeners each year, regardless of recession fears. But blogging is now a form of accepted media and what kind of media would I be if I did not latch on to a potentially scary subject, blow it out of proportion and use it for my own ratings?