Sunday Favorites ~ Thrifty Gardening Tips

Hi everyone! Welcome to Sunday Favorites! This is a weekly party that Chari at "Happy to Design" hosts each Sunday. It gives us a chance to repost and old post. I am sharing a post I wrote last May.

I know a lot of you have already been able to start your gardening ad planting but, many of us only wish we could start now. But, our weather is still just too cold. However, this does not mean we haven't started planning and dreaming of days gardening!

This post is all about some thrifty gardening tips. Getting your gardens in shape can cost a bit of money, so I put togeter some thrifty tips and ideas.

** Since we camp a lot during the summer, watering is a big problem for us. We did sink in milk jugs and pop bottles into our flower and garden beds and even in our large oak barrels last year. It worked great!
More on thrifty gardening!

Look at some of the containers that you throw away on a daily basis. Can they be reused in any way to help cut down on the cost of gardening?

How about milk jugs, plastic juice bottles or plastic soda bottles? Any of them can be used as a watering system. Just punch some holes into them. I recommend knowing how deep your plant roots are and punching the holes accordingly. Dig a hole near your plant(s) and bury the jug in the soil and just leave the top lid part exposed. Now fill with water. Instead of the water sitting on top of the soil, it is now at root level and will seep in as needed.

Got some of those plastic take out containers (the ones with the clear plastic lids)? Those are perfect for miniature greenhouses! Start your seedlings in them. You can do this all year long. Plants getting a little to tall? Use the plastic cake trays with the high dome lids.

So what are you going to do with all those Styrofoam trays that come with meat or veggies and fruits? How about breaking them up and putting them in the bottom on a pot before you plant. They will provide drainage for your plants.

Oh, look under that coffee table in the you see that stack of newspapers? Whatcha gonna do with them? How about making them work for you in the garden? I don't know about you but, weeds breed faster than bunnies at my house! Before you lay your mulch down, spread several layers of newspaper down. I am staking my papers down because we live by the lake and have major winds. After you are done with your newspaper, lay your mulch. This is a big time saver when it comes to weeding your garden!

Still have a paper pile? Crunch up some paper and add that to the bottom of your pots before planting.

What about all the paper cups you get from your drinks at fast food places? those also make a great plant starter pot. Especially the ones that come from ice cream stops. You know the ones, with a dome lid...think mini-mini greenhouse.

Want mulch? Want FREE Mulch? check out your local tree cutting service and ask if you can have some of the wood chips. When you are out and about keep an eye out for city workers cutting down trees. Stop and ask if you can have some wood chips. Remember keep a tarp, large garbage bags to load it up in.

Check with friends, family or neighbors about getting cuttings from their established plants. I know that I am always dividing my herbs and am happy to give them away to someone who wants some. Also check your neighborhood newspaper for "free plant exchanges". These are becoming more and more popular.

Got an old trash can or some other container? Use it as a rain bucket to capture free water. Cut out a milk jug and turn it into a water scoop (keep the lid on...LOL). If you live in a mosquito-topolis like I do, once it stops raining put a lid on the rain barrel otherwise, standing water is the favorite breeding ground for the nasty little pests!

Got a neighbor moving? Stop buy and ask if you could take some cuttings from their plants. They also may be looking to get rid of some of their yard tools before moving. You might find a bargain!


  1. Lots of good ideas Diann! I am hoping to get some plants next week.

  2. Excellent tips! You are such an eco friendly girl! I wish more people were. My husband works at a major law firm and they get tons of junk mail! Why won't somebody stop it? I am surrounded by it here at home! I am sorting junk mail that never seems to end!

    I need to start planting. But I am not sure the snow is gone just yet! Anne

  3. Thanks for the tips Diann, especially the one about watering plants.
    That will come in useful when I have to leave my vegetable garden untended for a week in June.

  4. Diann, I can barely type for the blisters! Spent yesterday pulling weeds and my neighbor's invasive, horrible Bermuda grass that seems to like my house better than his :( We're getting a rain barrel due to the high cost of water here
    xoxo Pattie

  5. Wow, those are some terrific ideas. I never thought about the newspaper under the mulch. Thanks for sharing this post again.

  6. Wonderful ideas, we live in the deep south and have to water constantly, I will have to try some of these watering ideas.

  7. I just bought a mini greenhouse at Lowes and had tossed my take out containers in the recycling bin. How did I not think about using the containers? I will from now on, thanks for sharing.

  8. I am glad you added the part about putting a lid on the rain barrel.
    Another tip for that one is to puncture a bag of manure with some holes and put it into the water barrel.
    This makes a great fertilizer when you water.

  9. Hi Diann...

    My friend, I do believe that you are the smartest lady around...especially when it comes to recycling, etc!!! These were all fabulous tips for gardening...some I have heard of and have used myself...others a brand new idea!!! Loved the tip about using old styrofoam meat trays for the bottom of pots...never thought of that one before! Thank you!!!

    Well Darlin', it's so nice to see you for Sunday Favorites once again! This was a great post to share once again...although it was all brand new news to me! Hehe! Thank you!!!

    We are still having some cold weather at our place as well but Spring has finally sprung!!! Yeeehawww!!! In fact, it is about 72 today and I have been out cleaning off the patio...first time of the season! What a mess! Hehe! Hopefully I can start spending some time out there...I love my morning coffee on the patio!!!

    Have a super Sunday, my friend!!!
    Chari @Happy To Design

  10. Thanks for the milk jug watering idea and taking cuttings from moving neighbors moving idea.
    Sometimes state DOT has free mulch, especially after a sleety winter when they had to clear downed trees from streets.


Thank you for taking the time to comment! I love to hear your ideas. If you ask a question, I will answer it here in a comment back to you. Please check back! Thank you for visiting and have a wonderful day! Diann :)