Living on a budget, you already know that saving money and reducing waste go hand in hand. You're probably a pro at reusing and repurposing just about everything you touch. But did you know you're throwing away great stuff in your kitchen everyday that can feed your garden? Check out these 5 tips to grow a better garden at little or no cost.
1) Grow microgreens from seeds you already have.
Microgreens offer lots of nutritional benefits and are pretty easy to grow. You may not even have to buy seeds to start. That's right! Check your cupboards and refrigerator for eligible seeds, like mustard, coriander, and lentils, which can be soaked and sprouted.
And you don't need any special containers to grow microgreens. Save shallow containers that you normally recycle -- styrofoam, plastic, or aluminum -- and repurpose them into microgreen beds. (Be sure they're clean and sanitized first!)
Finally, find 1 or more easy-to-follow guides on how to grow microgreens. These are a few articles that offer good tips and info: Microgreens - 5 Times the Goodness of a Full-Grown Plant, Everything About Growing Microgreens: Best Microgreens to Grow, and How to Grow Microgreens.
2) Grow vegetables from kitchen scraps.
Did you know that you can grow more of those green onions you're chopping up just by putting their roots in water? Or that you can grow several sweet potato plants from one potato? Check out this Whole Foods guide -- Food that Magically Grows -- and stop throwing away your future veggie garden!
3) Pot your plants in any container.
If you're short on space for a garden, you probably have a container garden. Traditionally, "container garden" brings up a mental image of plants in pretty pots... but it doesn't have to. You can "pot" a plant in almost any container!
There are easy-to-come-by, low-frill options like the bottom of milk jugs or soda bottles. Want something a little more attractive? Try repurposing unused items from around the house: chipped cups or bowls, displaced baskets, unused bags or totes. Or find inexpensive items like these at your local thrift shop.
You can even get creative and upcycle unlikely items into planters. This HGTV article -- 16 Ways to Squeeze a Garden onto Your Deck or Patio -- shows inventive planters, like old file hangers and a canvas shoe rack.
4) Fertilize with used coffee grounds and tea bags.
Who among us throws away their coffee grounds and tea bags? If you raised your hand, stop! Both items are healthy additions to your garden.
But what if you don't drink coffee? Pick some up for free at your local Starbuck's, or ask other local coffee shops if they’ll share their grounds. Learn more about the benefits by reading Composting with Coffee Grounds - Used Coffee Grounds for Gardening.
5) Water plants with cooking water.
We all cook with water... and probably rinse it down the drain when we're done with it. But that's perfectly good water for your plants!
The next time you steam veggies or boil eggs, be sure to save the water. Once it has cooled to room temperature, use it to water your plants.
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