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10 Frugal Gardening Tricks

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Posted: Sunday, June 15, 2014 10:00 pm | Updated: 1:39 am, Mon Jun 16, 2014.

(Family Features)  Fun, frugal and environmentally-friendly, these tricks will help you get a great garden:

  1. Use a yardstick and permanent marker to mark inches and feet on the handle of your rake, shovel or hoe. The next time you plant, simply lay the marked handle along the row and perfectly-spaced seeds will be a snap.

  2. Line the bottom of a clay pot with a coffee filter to keep soil from leaking out the bottom hole.

  3. Use empty plastic water bottles or clear milk jugs to fill the bottom of large pots. They will reduce the weight of the pot and require less soil to fill.

  4. Want to test your seeds to see if they're still viable for this planting season? Do what kids do. Place a wet paper towel inside a zip top bag, drop in 3-4 seeds and wait a week to see if anything grows.

  5. One way to prevent weeds is to line your garden with a layer of newspaper. Just top two or three sheets of newsprint with a layer of pine needles, grass clippings or dried leaves for an eco-friendly and inexpensive weed barrier.

  6. Instead of planting tall sunflowers in a row, plant them in a large circle. Once the flowers reach their full height, it will be the perfect secret hideaway for children to play.

  7. Provide brightly-colored nesting material for birds to build their nests. Cut small lengths of yarn, ribbons, twine cloth strips, and then gently drape them over sturdy plants or tree branches. Spring nests will be beautiful.

  8. Keep gardening twine handy. Nail a funnel to your potting bench with the spout pointing downward, feed the twine through and your string will never go missing. For a more portable solution, place a ball of twine inside a Mason jar, make a hole in the metal lid and feed the end of the twine through the hole. Now, you can take twine anywhere tangle-free.
  9. There is no need to buy expensive potting systems for starting seedlings. Place several cardboard toilet paper rolls inside a clean plastic clamshell, like those used for supermarket salads. Fill each cardboard tube with potting soil and plant. Once your seedlings grow too tall for the clamshell, simply tear off the top lid.

  10. Canning tomatoes is an art that requires hours in a hot kitchen on a steamy summer day. Forego the work and simply freeze your tomatoes in a zip top bag. When you thaw the tomatoes, their skins slip right off and you're ready to add delicious summer flavor to your favorite recipe.

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