There are many ways to have a beautiful garden without it costing you the earth.
Gardens are an important part of life, whether it’s your own or visiting a friends garden or park.
Below we’ve compiled an array of gardening information and links to help you get more out of your garden and save you a fortune on the way. If you have a savvy gardening tip you’d like to share with us then please let us know so we can share it here!
To start you easily saving money around your garden and helping it thrive at the same time why not try these savvy tips below.
Composting is the decomposition of organic waste materials. To keep this process going your compost heap will need adequate moisture and air. If the compost dries out then the decomposition will stop.
Where do I start?
You can buy portable composting bins at a reasonable price from hardware stores like Bunnings and Masters but if you’d like to try it without one then follow these steps.
Ground contact is very important because it enables earthworms and other soil life to enter the heap and help break it down.
First place a low covering of twigs on the area to be used so that air can circulate under the heap but worms can still gain access.
Layering of materials is the most tried and true method of composting. Any organic material can be used in the heap such as straw, grass clippings, twigs, leaves, manure, ash, kitchen scraps, old disease free plants and shredded papers.
A few items that should be avoided are large bones, oils and fats, pesticides and plastics. Meats will attract rodents and flies.
Turn the heap over every few weeks with a garden fork and check that it’s warm and that the contents are decomposing sufficiently.
How long will it take?
Different heap styles, sizes and contents all make it hard to state a set time, however, your compost is ready when it smells sweet and looks like potting mix. It takes a little longer in winter but persevere and your reward will be natural compost that will nurture and make your garden thrive.
Not many gardens have perfect soil that doesn’t require the addition of fertilisers. Plants need a lot of nutrients from the soil to grow and flourish.
1. In a drum or large container place two or three spadefuls of horse, sheep or cow manure. Fill the drum with water and cover. After a week use the liquid manure to water around your plants. Top up with water continuously until the brew weakens then simply add more manure.
2. Comfrey leaves can also be used successfully for making liquid manure. Chop three or four eaves roughly and pour over the water. Cover to prevent the smell from escaping and use as an excellent fertiliser.
3. Any weeds can also be used from the garden in the same method as the liquid comfrey manure. When the weeds have turned into a slimy mush, simply throw in the compost heap.
Mulching protects your garden from drying sun and winds. It also nurtures the garden as it breaks down into the soil. Use straw, compost, mushroom compost etc to prevent moisture loss in the soil.
Around twelve centimetres (four to six inches) of mulch should be placed around plants, but not touching their stems as this can cause rotting. Replenish the mulch when necessary to keep a depth of the above amount.
Companion planting has been used for centuries to repel unwanted pests and encourage plants to grow well by requiring less artificial means. Companion planting is based on the wants and needs of particular plants. Plants should be positioned so they do not compete with each other for sun, water and nutrients. Those that need shelter from winds should be planted next to those who can provide this, while deep rooted plants are best positioned near leafy plants.
Here’s a guide to some companion planting success’
Asparagus: Tomato, parsley, marigold
Beans: Strawberries, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, potato, rosemary, marigold
Brussels Sprouts: fragrant herbs, onions
Cabbage: Rosemary, peppermint, sage, thyme
Carrot: Chives, lettuce, peas
Cauliflower: fragrant herbs, onion, celery
Cucumber: Beneath corn, lettuce, sunflowers, zinnias
Lettuce: Strawberries, radish, shallots
Parsley: Celery, leeks, peas
Pumpkin: Beneath corn, radish
Tomato: Basil, parsley, chives, cabbage