Do you want to start a Denver garden? Have you checked out the prices for seeds and such at your local home improvement store? Frustrated with the way Denver garden centers seem to be one step ahead of you with their pricing? Gardening has changed. It may seem that it’s no longer an affordable way to feed your family. Big business has taken over city gardening. Luckily, there are ways around the system. You can still start a Denver garden on a budget. You just have to have a little fortitude and knowledge. Here’s some tips that might help.
Start your garden with some good soil.
That’s easier said than done when you’re on a budget. Good dirt isn’t exactly dirt cheap, is it? Planter’s mix for even a couple garden beds is pricey here in the Mile High City. What’s the solution? Try using cheap partial fillers for raised beds, then filling them the rest of the way with good soil. That will bring the cost down. Or you can nix the raised beds. There are several unique ways to plant in-ground in Denver too.
Use those famous Denver dry lawn spots.
- Start scattered gardens in the yard.
- Add a little free compost. Make it yourself with fall leaves and grass clippings for next year.
- Till existing grass into your soil for quick nitrogen rich nutrition.
Start your garden from seed.
- Seeds are nearly always cheaper than starter plants.
- Learn where to look in Denver for free plants.
- Steal your seeds from plants gone to seed.
- Join a seed exchange.
- Visit a seed lending library.
- Ask your gardening friends if they have seeds to spare. Most gardeners are happy to oblige.
Take advantage of seasonal bulb and plant divisions.
Local gardeners and Denver landscaping companies divide plants in spring and fall. Watch your local Craigslist for free perennial herbs during these two seasons. Flower bulbs are abundant too. You might even get lucky and find someone willing to give you some walking onions.
Mulch is always free in Denver. Don’t you dare pay for it!
Check the Denver Craigslist for free mulch. Homeowners and landscapers are usually glad to get rid of excess supplies. You might also check for used gravel you can use for paths and walkways. The catch is you may have to provide the labor. Or, simply pick up some free wood chips, courtesy of Treecycle, the Denver tree recycling program.
Free weed control for your garden start-up:
- Use cardboard, paper grocery bags or newspaper in place of landscape fabric to block weeds.
- Pour hot water or vinegar on stubborn weeds that aren’t close to plantings.
- Hand pull weeds in the garden. (Your own labor is free!)
Don’t be picky when starting your Denver garden.
Gardening isn’t meant to be perfect. The best lessons are learned by trial and error. Humble beginnings save money and provide unique experiences. There are plenty of free and cheap ways to start a garden. Forget about keeping up with the neighbors. Grow your own idea of perfect. You’ll be happier and your wallet will be fatter.
Portions of this article were originally published by this author on a now closed Yahoo property.