How to grow a great garden on a budget

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – With the recent warm and wet weather, you’ve probably noticed lawns and gardens are growing like crazy.

If you’re hoping to make plantings look great and green, you don’t have to spend a lot of green.  Here’s how you can garden like a guru with help from the experts at Allisonville Nursery.

“The pansies are really inexpensive so they’re a great flower this time of year.  They’ll take you right through to June until it gets really hot,” said Sharon Hadden, head of container gardening at Allisonville Nursery.

Hadden says in order to stretch your dollar, buy seedlings in bulk.  You can also do the same for containers or make them yourself or re-purpose an old container—anything that will hold a plant.

“For example, you can find an old cinder block and tape off a pattern.  Then spray paint it, remove the tape and you’ll have a unique and inexpensive design.  Just put your soil in the middle of the container and then place your little flowers inside.  It’s really quick and easy,” said Hadden.

Mulch is also good for savings and looks.  The first thing you should do is clear the garden or flower bed of dead foliage, then smooth out what’s already there.  From there, just spread the mulch around.  You can get different colors of mulch; most places have natural brown colors, red, black and lighter browns. Mulch keeps weeds down and cuts down on your watering bill as it’ll help hold in the moisture.

And while you’re growing new, use something old.  Allisonville Nursery can help with that.

“Just come in, we may have the old plastic little containers.  We are saving all the little plant pots we’re using.  So you can come in and just ask for them, and if we have them at the time, they are yours.  And that way you are not only getting some free, but you’re also recycling them,” said Hadden.

Another way to save money is by thinking ahead.  You don’t always have to get full grown plants.  Instead, you can gets seeds. They are tiny and economical.  They don’t provide the immediate perk of having a full-grown plant right away, but the savings are big.

“This an example of a pack of seeds for a $1.99 that we have.  It has about 20 seeds in it.  So, if you would normally buy one full-grown plant at $6, think of how much money you can save. Twenty plants will cost you $120, but it’s less than $2 in seed form,” said Hadden.

When you are planting seeds, don’t put them in the row right next to each other.  They will fight for space and you’ll end up with weedy little plants versus larger, healthy plants.  And if you’re looking for something for your dinner table, like arugula, don’t plant the seeds all at once.  It may seem obvious, but many first-time gardeners make that mistake.

“You want your arugula or whatever it is throughout the spring and summer, so you sow your seeds for a week.  Then you have a little break and then you sow in another week.  That way your plantings come in succession and not all at once, and therefore it’s coming to the table at different times,”  said Hadden.

Most nurseries like Allisonville also have selections of of trees, shrubs, flowers, and ground cover.  And they have high-quality items and the expert knowledge to help you keep them looking great.  Don’t forget the traditional and organic fertilizers and gardening solutions as well.

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