Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saving on Garden Needs

I can't believe how much money we're saving doing our garden this year. As I told you over a week ago, we decided to start our own seeds (and they're growing beautifully under the florescent lights we bought from Walmart). We decided we needed to condition our soil before planting this year. We have clay dirt here and while the fruit trees don't seem to mind it, the garden didn't do as well as we'd hoped it would last year, and didn't produce enough for us to do any canning.

We knew from all the calling we did last year that compost wasn't cheap if you buy it from companies that specialize in it. It runs over $100 for a truck load (and sometimes closer to $200). That's just not financially feasible for us this year with hubby's pay cut. Here are a few options we've looked into instead:

To lessen the amount we'd need, we started our own compost pile. Not only is this a money saver, but it's a great way to reduce your waste. We bought a bin from Sam's Club for about $40 and started putting our table scraps and grass clippings in it. We have such a large garden area though that the one little bin isn't going to create enough right now to cover the whole area we're planting. It's a good start though, and we're going to keep it up. For more information on doing your own composting, go to the article I found on Earth911.

Some of our neighbors got some compost from the local sewer district. Yeah, I know what many of you are thinking, I've been thinking it too. Poop dirt? Haha! Well, it's really cheap (about $7 a cubic yard) and the plants love it. It's really stinky though from what I hear and I'd make sure you wore gloves while working in it (as you should anyway whenever working in any kind of soil).

Many landfills offer compost too. It's suppose to be high quality and very cheap. We priced out two landfills in our area. The first one, Wasatch Integrated Waste Management, offers it at $25 per 1 1/2 yards. The second was Bountiful Landfill, who offers it at $30 per ton. The research I did says that a ton is about one cubic yard. So they're pretty close in price (though not as cheap as the sewer district).

If you're looking to get your compost for less money where you live, just do a search for landfills or sewer districts in your town or county and then go to their websites. Most will tell you on their sites if they sell compost. You can even call them and find out.

We've already spent far less this year in our garden supplies than we did last year, and we'll be planting so much more than we did before. If you want to learn more about what we're doing to become more self-sufficient and save money, go to my article on gardening here. You dont have to have a large space to do this.

We won't be planting until after Mother's Day (that's the rule of thumb here), but we're doing all we can to be ready before then. It's so easy and you can do it, too. It's not too late. So go ahead, save money, eat better and be one step closer to being self-sufficient, too!