SPRING IS HERE, BUILD A Garden For FREE! It's TIME to dig up the yard. I mean lose the lawn. Maybe keep a little patch in the middle, but the edges? BANISH GRASS! Take the lawn out as if you were cutting brownies out of a pan, divot by divot. Turn the divots upside down, over in a shady corner where they will rot down into rich soil over next six months. Stack the divots upside down, in an area you will call 'your COMPOST pile area'. Add all the autumn leaves you can find. Throw in a few bags of manure, wet it daily until it turns to rich, black soil. I keep a pile in corner of back yard, and the biggest pile is in front yard, along the driveway strip, next to neighbor's hedge..
NOW, quit the health club. Get your money back, and use it to buy soil amendments 'cuz we are going to FIX THOSE GRASS-FREE AREAS around the edges of your back lawn. Right? YOU HAVE this LAWN-less zone now, on the edges of your back yard.. Add amendments to the soil, gypsum, manure, peat, sand. Fork it around and edge the bed with wood found in alleys. Or Bricks. Or stones from the mountains. So that the bed is raised higher than the path. Get bags of gravel used in FLOOD TIME to prevent water entering bldg. Slash 'em and let gravel cover all paths.
Before you started, you should have planted flats full of seeds out of packets. By the time the beds are all amended, your little plants will be a few inches high, (in your black, plastic flats where you start them, always starting them from seed packages.) and you plant them in the raised beds.
RE: COMPOST. I find people bagging their leaves year round, and I brake at trash piles, pick them up. They are partially rotten from being in the bag. GOOD! Brown bag your own leaves, hide them on the property And open them up a year later, use that as compost. I have no problems using other peopleís leaves. Rarely do I find a coke can in there, and If I do, I take it to the recycler, get my money. I recycle cans all year long! Then chicken manure, available at every egg farm, composted with your leaves. You get fabulous soil for nothing.
If you think you're having difficulty getting beds to look as "lush" as the pictures in the gardening books donít worry. TIME will confer that polished look as the plants grow sidewise. NEVER plant perennials close together as they will grow huge and youíll have a HEDGE instead of a bed.
PLAN your garden in your mindís eye. Imagine the finished yard. See how when you lay plants out, you automatically put those tall growing plants in the back? The butterfly bush, the calla lillies? You can trust your Ďfrom the hipí impulses. Alyssum goes in front as it's always flat. The free catalogues show the plant, and describe its 'height' and 'habit.'
The question is, where do you get a calla and a butterfly bush? Not from the catalog where they ask $2.50 for each package of seeds. NO, you get them from friends. Calla lillies multiply anually if you want the corm but on TOP the blooms turn into seeds. Any pal with a calla lilly will give you as many seeds, bulbs or roots as you can haul off. And the latter? Butterfly bush? Clip off a branch or two from a pal's plant, stick in the ground, in the shade with a glass jar over it, & you will have it! Clone any plant you want with cuttings. Do this times l00 and you have, for free, any plant that ever existed. Cuttings require dappled sunlight, partial shade is all, and moisture. To make your own rooting solution, bend and break a lot of willow twigs in water, let stand overnight. A soak in that liquid will cause rooting!
Last, the supermarket will give you potatoes, tomatoes, carrot tops (they may not make a carrot below but the resulting plant gets tall and lacy and will make seeds.) Passion fruit, papaya seeds, pineapple tops, cilantro or coriander seed, nuts, beans. The citrus and avocado trees, from seeds inside what you buy to eat.
To inspire you to get started, let me tell you what you will have in a few months, what you'll attract in making your garden. A bee hive in an old tree, and the automatic pollenization of every fruit tree. I love those bees. One settled on my PC keyboard. I put a piece of paper near him, said, climb on. He did. I carried him to back door. He got NEAR it and took off in flight, into yard. That tree there is his home. His pals have a big ole hive inside the tree trunk. SMART FELLOW. Wonder if they'd let me have some honey?
You will attract Butterflies, and build birdhouses, youíll find old picket fences, that people throw away and create cunning little fenced off areas here and there. Paint them a fresh white. Visit Architectural remnant shops for Garden feature art. Youíll create tall cutting flowers, bouquets in every room, fragrance from sweet peas and hyacinths and lilacs. You'll create bird baths & water fountains, goldfish pond, vegetables, herbs, wildflowers, stones & stone walls. Youíll find crazy old architectural elements, and find ways to hang them on the garage wall above the flowers. Youíll create bird feeders, hanging baskets. Youíll find moss, and learn to make it grow in the shade under camellias and on old, moist terra cotta pots. (Blender and buttermilk is the way.) Youíll create secret paths, arbors, ivy, wattle fences, (built of twigs and branches) Youíll have fuchsias dripping out of pots on your sun porch, hummingbirds, roses, trellises, garden benches, hammocks and porch swings, ferns, wildlife, and your very own pet chicken wandering thru it all daily and then coming into the house to lay you a bright blue egg! Behind the computer like my little red hen, Puck Puck does. She's an only child but she makes eggs!
Now letís take a look at the elements Iíve mentioned above & think of how you can create a garden filled with the things you love without paying a kingís ransom. Here are the goodies you are going to get for free.
Birds & other creatures come to live in your garden because they now have a food & water source. Water isnít costly. A dollar a day for 8,000 square feet of house and garden is what it takes. Flowers & vegetables - $.25 per pack at those 99C stores. And people like me will mail you any amt for free, just send stamps. We have dishes overflowing with seeds from our own yards. Indigo morninglories, squash, beets, hopi blue corn, broccoli, tomatoes, tomatillos. Calla lillies. Ferns, moss, other greens & wildflowers, find them in the woods, along roadsides and at friendsí homes - FREE Birdhouses, fences, garden benches, planters, swings. Scrap wood is found in every alley. Any little boy with a hammer, saw and some nails can build a birdhouse. Birds aren't fussy. Pallet wood is - FREE Arbors & fences (make Wattle style from willow branches, living trees) - FREE Goldfish pond (could be made in a large bucket, buried trash can, wine barrel, dug hole, wheelbarrow, anything watertight). Also good, black plastic lining the hole you dig, rocks holding down edges. Dime goldfish. DO IT YOURSELF METHOD.
TONS OF COMPOST free. I brake for leaf bags. Everyone puts their leaves out on the street, bags of them. Today I braked for a few, could only fit four in my Honda hatchback. Just throw them down anywhere, toss some soil on top, wet daily with hose. AMAZINGLY GOOD soil comes from that. My neighbors put their trash out at night in big, green barrels. I wheel them to my heap, which is along front driveway, entire length of driveway, and dump, and return them to the neighborís gate. No longer on street. Rich, black soil. FREE.While you can sow packets of annual and perennial seeds in different places around the yard don't. If you have snails, slugs, sowbugs, donít do it. They get eaten, like bug salad! Use flats from the nursery, grow on a raised table that snails can't climb. Set them out when big and strong, un-munchable.
Architectural elements - wood or metal decorations that once adorned an old home (find in the trash, from a home that is being remodeled, scrap yard, ask a contractor who does remodeling) - almost FREE Hanging baskets - anything that you can plant flowers in & hang! Could be an old basket, bucket, wooden box, plastic or metal bowl, burlap or heavy cloth. Just fill with a light soil mixture & plant. - very cheap! FREE Stones - Some people will pay you to take them off their property! You could build a garden fence or cottage out of them, if you get enough. FREE FERTILIZER- Go to the healthfood store, find the address/ email of a chicken man on the box of cage free eggs, call him, get your buckets into the car, drive over. 1$ a bucket of smelly rich, fowl stuff, instantly compost it with soil, grass, leaves, burying it as deep as you can. Almost FREE.
When the plants bloom & toughen, replant them in their new homes within a flower bed of your choosing. This saves 100s of $$, because perennial plants can run anywhere from $4 - $30 each! With a packet of seeds, you might get 100 - 200 plants for $0.10! With this example, you also see how someone could earn a good amount of extra money by planting some extra packs of seeds!
Around the country spring is in the air! Thereís no garden like a free garden and that means cancel the costly health club. Digging and troweling is how youíre going to raise your heart rate! Secrets of an old digger. USE GARDEN GLOVES. Save old flat pillows so you can kneel on any surface without injuring knees. Knees are very touchy. Get a pointed shovel for digging plots.
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