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A really, really Frugal Gardener

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A really, really Frugal Gardener

Post  Kelejan on 6/8/2014, 8:31 pm

In theory and according to official figures,  I am one of the poor, but I do not consider myself as such because I am better off than 95% of anyone else in the world, and that makes me rich.

Anyway, I do practice waste not, want not, recycling, reuse, etc. etc.

I am pleased when I come across a bargain such as I did today at our local Sunday Breakfast and Flea Market.  It cost me $1.00 and it is an M-320 Moister Meter and in a few moments I am going around my yard and measuring everything I can get it poked Very Happy  into to. I have no idea what these instruments costs and I really do not care.  I have tried it in my indoor plants and they read between 6  and 8 out of ten. In a glass of water it is a ten, so it seems to work OK.

I know others practrice frugality so what bargains have you come up with.  I during the past week have collected two garbage bags of comfrey leaves that I saw growing in large clusters about two hundred yards from me.  I have seen them for years not knowing what they were and only found out from this site that they are good for so many things.

Tomorrow I will be collecting pine needles from a little park, again within two hundred yards of me.

Earlier this year, when I had some trees cut down, I saved over $600 by keepiong everything instead of having the wood hauled away.

I do all the usual things such as collecing food waste from friends,, coffee grounds from my regular cafe etc. TP Rolls and egg shells for starter plants etc.

What really good bargains have you got for free or for very little cost?

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Re: A really, really Frugal Gardener

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/8/2014, 8:51 pm

I volunteered, partly to see what it was like and partly as part of our master gardener's contribution at a local store's gardening event, in which customers buy their plants, but bring in their own pots to up-pot them in. As part of the deal, customers get for free the extra soil they need to fill up their larger pots. Good stuff, too. Anyway, at the end of the day there were thousands of plastic pots that were going to go to recycling. Mostly four-inchers and four-pack starter trays, some one-gallons. To heck with that! When we heard that, we grabbed as many pots as we wanted, and I grabbed plenty. They even had left over potting soil, so I got about a five gallon bucket's worth of that, too. I worked like a donkey in the sun all day, but I left with some nice free stuff, too.

Umm, also I got some free 5-gallon soy sauce buckets from a local Japanese place.

And I've gotten lots of baskets from the dollar store, and gardening odds and ends quite cheaply. We have a huge mole and gopher problem. Instead of running hardware wire around and under a long, two-foot-wide area behind our retaining wall, I'm digging out enough space to put wire baskets down into the soil, and planting in those. Roots can grow through, but moles should be minimally disruptive. (They don't eat the plants, but often their digging tips them over and exposes and/or kills their roots.) And gophers should be frustrated entirely. It's an easy and cheap way to protect just enough at a time, without spending a lot of money.

At Walmart last year, I got grow bags, square ones a square foot in each dimension, for two bucks each. They've been great.


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Re: A really, really Frugal Gardener

Post  jrfrommd on 6/8/2014, 8:55 pm

ditto on the soy sauce buckets...also re-purposed parachute cord on a trellis...hope it works!

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Re: A really, really Frugal Gardener

Post  jrfrommd on 6/8/2014, 8:56 pm

oh yeah btw Pet Value has really big grow bags for 99 cents

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Re: A really, really Frugal Gardener

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/9/2014, 12:14 am

@jrfrommd wrote:ditto on the soy sauce buckets...also re-purposed parachute cord on a trellis...hope it works!

A guy on tomatoville.com says those are great as wicks in self-watering containers.

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Re: A really, really Frugal Gardener

Post  sanderson on 6/9/2014, 3:55 am

Free 2 x 4s from housing construction sites. Got permission first. Free fresh horse manure and wheat bedding straw from the University Ag Dept. Large appliance cardboard boxes from the house we are fixing for sale, in order to cover an area on the Bermuda grass in our other tenant's backyard for a 4 x 4' SFG bed we are building for them.

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Re: A really, really Frugal Gardener

Post  CapeCoddess on 6/9/2014, 11:46 am

This thread is right up my alley!  I am the maven of frugal gardening.  Wink 

Free stuff:

- All the leftover wood from construction across the street, & cardboard to build these 2 boxes yesterday along with lots more wood seen across the back:
Apparently when siding is being done on a building, the delivered Typar is held down with scrap lumber.  These are new but not perfect pine, 11"x 2" x 18' & shorter.  The contractor cut them to size for me. Smile

- Kitchen cupboards that made up my first SFG boxes.

- Compost (I've been composting for decades so had some to start with) & all it's fixin's, like seaweed  I love you 

- used white plastic utensils from the office to use as plant markers

- many 5 & 2.5 gal buckets from the grocery store bakery

- Lettuce clam packs, cell packs, used MM & drug store heating pad for seed starting

- 3 pkgs of seeds with a $5 coupon at Agway

- saved seeds from previous crops

- traded and gifted seeds & plants

- Organic chicken poo from a friend

- urine for fertilizer if needed

- Lots of pots, screens, tools, windows and such from the dumps 'Treasure Chest' section

- Cordless Drill for signing up for a Sears card

Discounted bought stuff:

- Dollar Store seeds & hoola hoops used for hoop tunnels & domes

- 50% off tulle from JoAnn Fabric store with a coupon

- Peat moss & bamboo stakes from Job Lot

- Trellis netting for 50% off at Bennys

- $4 for a jig saw for cutting wood, when my friend signed up for a Sears card

- distressed 6 pks of veggies for $1 ea

I'm sure I've missed a lot.  But I guess the only things I've had to buy full price are trellis frame stuff, vermiculite & hoop clamps (once I stopped using old clothes pins).

CC

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Re: A really, really Frugal Gardener

Post  grownsunshine on 6/9/2014, 11:58 am

Got free horse manure (3 5-gal buckets, more is available anytime)
Got free icing buckets from bakery. I've collected about 25ish(?) so far. They seem really happy that I'm taking them.
Going to get free cow manure (at dairies).
Going to get free mulch (hopefully today after work).
Went to check out free leaves and grass clippings yesterday. I decided not to take it due to poor quality.

I want to check out free compost tea, but it's a bit of a drive. There is an ad in craigslist for it.

Cow, horse, bit of chicken - I need to figure out 2 more sources....and I'm hoping to find a bunch of good free brown stuff.

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Re: A really, really Frugal Gardener

Post  boffer on 6/9/2014, 12:24 pm

2 cases (12 quarts per) of organic low sodium chicken broth. $10

lots of free used vinyl mini-blinds to cut up and use as plant markers.

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Re: A really, really Frugal Gardener

Post  llama momma on 6/9/2014, 3:03 pm

Free llama manure
Free 100+ bags of leaves from 1 source
Sort of free--Re purposed portable corrals into 8 foot tall trellises

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Re: A really, really Frugal Gardener

Post  nurzemjd on 6/9/2014, 3:22 pm

Check out craigslist's free section in your area, I found lots of great stuff there.  Do be careful though; I never go to meet someone alone and always tell my sister where we are going and set up a time for me to call her to give the all is well signal, otherwise she is to call 911, lol.  

The dollar store has some good finds sometimes.

Our local St Vincent De Paul thrift store has a back lot with all sorts of building materials as well as the Habitat for Humanity Store.  Local builders donate there leftovers to Habitat, which sells at a huge discount to make money to build homes.

I got a 3' x 8' x 10" shipping container from my neighbor that has become my corn bed!

Love to pick up plants at the discounted area in the local nurseries.  They look pitiful when I get them, but usually within a week or two of TLC they are just fine Smile

Great thread, keep the info flowing y'all!!   Very Happy

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Re: A really, really Frugal Gardener

Post  Kelejan on 6/9/2014, 3:35 pm

@llama momma wrote:Free llama manure
Free 100+ bags of leaves from 1 source
Sort of free--Re purposed portable corrals into 8 foot tall trellises

Does that count, LLM, when you own the llamas? lol!

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Re: A really, really Frugal Gardener

Post  llama momma on 6/9/2014, 4:26 pm

Sure Kelejan!  No exchange of money is invoved, so yeah, I call it free!   Razz

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Re: A really, really Frugal Gardener

Post  Kelejan on 6/9/2014, 4:53 pm

@llama momma wrote:Sure Kelejan!  No exchange of money is invoved, so yeah, I call it free!   Razz

OK, I'll let that go.   Very Happy  Kind of like the worms in my compost, they just appeared from somewhere a couple of years ago, I did not pay for them.

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Re: A really, really Frugal Gardener

Post  rabbithutch on 6/9/2014, 4:57 pm

Free composted sheep and horse manure.  Free buckets from Sam's Club and a couple of restaurants.  Free gallon size mayonaise jars from restaurants.  Haven't been to the thrift stores lately.  Probably need to plan a trip.

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Re: A really, really Frugal Gardener

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/10/2014, 2:53 am

Buckets, I guess 2 or 3 gallon, from the grocery store today. Not free, but only 50 cents each.

Neighbor lets me have all the free horse poop and chicken poop I might want.

And, two different neighbors are letting me grow some of my own stuff in their respective spare raised beds.

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Re: A really, really Frugal Gardener

Post  Turan on 6/10/2014, 1:19 pm

The biggest deal was a trailer load of wood.  My B-I-L used to work at a saw mill in Missoula.  He had been for years collecting planks that for some reason could not be sold and then stashing them in his garage.  When he had to move across country we came over with a flat bed trailer and emptied the garage for him.  A chicken coop, 2 green houses, several raised beds later and there is still more stacked in the barn.

My compost ingredients is from our animals.  I do buy sand, but that is much cheaper per cubic foot than perlite or vermiculite and I use less as well.

My first raised bed was an old bookcase lay on its back  Laughing

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Re: A really, really Frugal Gardener

Post  Marc Iverson on 6/10/2014, 5:17 pm

Turan, wow, all that wood was a major score!

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Vegetable Basket from recycled lamp shade

Post  cricket on 6/16/2014, 10:03 pm

Made this recycled basket from items I had laying around the farm.  Use it to store winter squash, potatoes, or onions over the winter.

 http://cricketsongfarm.blogspot.com/2014/05/recycled-vegetable-basket-from-lamp.html

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Re: A really, really Frugal Gardener

Post  sanderson on 6/17/2014, 1:39 am

Nice re-purposing.

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Re: A really, really Frugal Gardener

Post  camprn on 6/17/2014, 7:15 am

@cricket wrote:Made this recycled basket from items I had laying around the farm.  Use it to store winter squash, potatoes, or onions over the winter.

 http://cricketsongfarm.blogspot.com/2014/05/recycled-vegetable-basket-from-lamp.html

Nice!!!

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Re: A really, really Frugal Gardener

Post  Kelejan on 6/17/2014, 11:52 pm

If we were all like you, cricket, no one would get rich off us and the landfills would not overflow.

Looks a nice, light, tool. You also squash it into a square shape to save space.

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Re: A really, really Frugal Gardener

Post  Kelejan on 3/25/2015, 8:37 pm

I am still being a Frugal Gardener doing the same things I have been doing for the last year.

Yesterday I picked up a very good free pallet.  I had help lifting it down from the pile of concrete blocks it was resting on. Then I started to roll it home, if you can imagine a square wheel. At that time I also had a rucksack on my back full of shopping and I also had my dog with me. Someone came up to me and asked where was I taking it.  So he carried it about three hundred yards under the railway tunnel and up the slope to the top.  I think it would have killed me if I had to take it all the way. He walked up that slope carrying that pallet, it was a very densely made one with no spaces between the slats, and I could not keep up with him.
He placed it the bottom of a neighbour's driveway,  I asked him if I could leave it there, walk home with my dog and divest myself of him and the shopping, and return.  He said fine.  He tried to help me place it against a tree but as he had recently had a liver operation I told not to hurt himself. So when I returned I found he had placed on a dollie  so I was able to properly wheel it the rest of the way.

Later I was given some gravel to place on my driveway, the bit that is not concreted and gets messed up during the winter as so many drivers need all the road and then some to turn around the corner.

Today I was given three different packets of heirloom  beans from the library seed exchange. Later on my friend called in with about a dozen red potatoes that were sprouting so I will be planting them tomorrow. Also the usual veggie peelings, and a number of plastic yoghurt containers.

A contact with Glacier Valley Tree Service to receive a load or two of wood chips sometime when they are in the area, at no charge.

I am doing well, dontcha think? Very Happy

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Re: A really, really Frugal Gardener

Post  sanderson on 3/26/2015, 1:35 am

You make us proud!

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Re: A really, really Frugal Gardener

Post  AtlantaMarie on 3/26/2015, 10:56 am

Uh - YEAH! 



Got tired just reading all that you did... Wink

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Re: A really, really Frugal Gardener

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