- Author: Patricia Brantley
Everybody likes a deal, especially if that deal is FREE, or almost free! Gardeners and Master Gardeners are no different. In fact this Master Gardener has had to watch out for a few flying elbows at the occasional event when someone has uttered those words “come and get it!” There are deals to be had that you don’t have to risk life and limb. There are giveaways by companies, organizations, and your neighbor if you just take a look around.
Some of the easiest ones to pick up are items are that are “one man’s junk”, for lack of a better word. Both major coffee/tea chains freely give away their used grounds for soil amendment. These are usually kept in a particular place that is easily accessible. If there are none in the bin that day, keep checking back.
Some companies or agencies want you to sign up for their e-newsletter to receive something. The recent one I found was for California Native Seeds at http://www.applyresponsibly.org/ . You take a water wise quiz and at the end enter your information to be sent your seed packets.
Newspaper makes great “landscape fabric”. We’ve been putting it down as a layer before we put down our growing medium for a few years now. For us, it seems to work just as well or better than any we would buy. Just be sure to use a newspaper that uses soy based ink like the San Francisco Chronicle. Unwaxed broken up cardboard boxes work well as a weed block too, or just to plain get rid of the weeds. Be sure to weight these down if they aren’t going under topsoil right away.
Wood chips for garden mulch or even decorative purposes can be had from many arborists. The arborist that cut down some poorly placed trees was more than happy to leave the chipped wood with us and even said he’d be glad to drop some more by if he was in the neighborhood and we needed more.
Garden Supply Company has a pretty good free vegetable garden planner. You can choose the size of your garden by square feet and then either choose a pre-planned garden from their selection, or you can create your own. It seems like that base it on the square foot garden design. You can even change the name of the vegetables if you’d like say to Patti’s Parsnips, or fill in the names of all the different varieties of tomatoes you’ve planted this year. They even allow you to email it to yourself (or your gardener if you’re say Martha Stewart and have one on staff). It will include planting and care directions for those you’ve chosen. http://www.gardeners.com/Kitchen-Garden-Planner/kgp_home,default,pg.html?SC=XNET9009
There is a plethora of goods out there for the gardener to be had for basically nothing, so go and get it, and hopefully you’ll be able to avoid injury.