Easy DIY Potting Mix Recipe

Do you want to learn how to make potting mix at home? Want a quality potting mix recipe? Look no further! My early experiences with bagged potting mixes were not happy ones. With a sea of choices, clueless salespeople and confusing labels, I made more than one bad choice. Maybe you have too!

Easy DIY Potting Mix Recipe - learn how to make your own moisture holding, nutrient rich potting mix at home in simple steps.

Easy DIY Potting Mix Recipe – learn how to make your own moisture holding, nutrient rich potting mix at home in simple steps.

I fried my seedlings in what I thought from the label was ‘potting mix with fertiliser’ but was actually almost 100% fertiliser. I starved my plants with the next bag that didn’t have any food in it at all. Then another bag was virtually dead dirt that wouldn’t grow anything!

I got so seriously cheesed off wasting time and money with ‘dried arrangements‘ as a result. So I decided to make my own mix. It had to be better than going through all that pain!

Now, I try to be self-reliant and budget conscious where possible, by making my own supplies. If you don’t already, give home made potting mix a go. It’s easy, saves you money and a whole lot of headaches!

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Grow Your Own Groceries

The Urban Backyard Supermarket

“Growing your own veggies is the first step to self-sufficiency.” – Clive Blazey, The Diggers Club

What if you could save time, money and energy by growing your own groceries? Why ‘shop’ anywhere else when you can grow a bounty of your own nutrient-packed food in a small urban space?

 

A nutrient packed harvest from our backyard supermarket

A selection of veggies and herbs harvested from our kitchen garden including jap pumpkin, garlic, leek, zucchini, eggplant, shallots, red onion, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, herbs and lettuce.

 

Regardless of the size of your balcony or garden – if it’s tiny or spacious, abundance is not only possible – it’s easy to achieve.  It doesn’t cost a fortune in materials … backbreaking labour … expensive equipment … or too much time.  Simple frugal gardening practices can help you save money while you grow.

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How to Grow More Plants for Less

Are you serious about saving money in your garden? Want to grow more plants without it costing the earth? There are some clever ways you can grow your garden for free.

Frugal gardening is about ‘thinking outside the square.’ With some basic skills and knowledge, there’s no need to spend a cent at the nursery to grow your edible or ornamental garden!

Save money by learning some simple skills, developing neighbourly connections and working with nature for an abundant garden.

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DIY Repurposed Garden Projects

10 Creative Space and Resource Saving Garden Ideas

I’m always looking for inspiring, low-cost and resourceful ideas for the garden – here are some of my favourite projects for you to try.

1. Peg Plant Marker – This is an easy improvised solution using everyday materials.  Kids can paint the pegs and make them colourful and if you save seeds from your edible gardens like I do, this makes plant identification a snack!

 

Dill peg plant marker. Photo: Stacey Shitani

Always scratching around to find a plant marker? MYO in seconds with a bamboo skewer, wooden peg and a permanent marker! How easy is this?

 

2. Tiered Terracotta Planter – I love this project from Amy at Positively Splendid because it’s a simple design idea to dress up your garden entrance.  (more…)

Planting Tips to Save You Time & Money

Thrifty Ways to Buy, Sow and Plant

These are a few tips from my personal experiences to help you get the most out of plants you grow and cost you less.

1. Be Prepared

Prepare your garden bed or pot before choosing the seeds, seedlings or plants that suit your climate zone.

Check the amount of space you have available before planting. Some plants need more ‘personal space’ than others. So, avoid buying more than you need or have the space to grow.  There’s nothing worse than coming home with an armful of seedling punnets and watching them become ‘dried arrangements’ by the front door because you weren’t ready to plant them!  I’ve learned my lesson by composting too many ‘mistakes’!

 

Shallots are the lead actor in this edible micro garden - I prepare my potting mix first before rotating the food crops I grow in this productive small space.

Consider the space you have to work with: I chose shallow-rooted edibles like tatsoi, parsley, baby spinach, marigolds and skinny chives and spring onions which could all share this pot comfortably!

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DIY Fertilisers – How to Use Banana Peels

Want to save money in your garden and grow healthier plants?  One of the easiest ways to do this is to make your own free DIY fertilisers with organic materials and household food waste, including banana peels. A sustainable solution!

 

DIY Fertilisers - How to Use Banana Peels to Feed your Plants for Free

DIY Fertilisers – How to Use Banana Peels to Feed your Plants for Free

 

Tips for How You Can Reuse Bananas

Like all plants, bananas contain important nutrients. You can recycle these back into your garden to build plant and soil health.

Bananas are rich in minerals including:

Potassium

This mineral helps:

  • promote general plant vigour.
  • build up resistance to pest and disease.
  • fruit develop.
  • regulate around 50 enzymes in a plant.
  • build turgor (or uprightness of stems and the thickness of cell walls) i.e. plant strength!  This is extremely important for plants like staghorns which literally hang onto tree trunks in nature and vertical vegetables like spring onions, leeks and fruiting crops.

 

Bananas are mineral rich and recycling the peels back into your garden saves money and returns these nutrients to the soil where they can benefit other plants. This is NO WASTE gardening!

Bananas are mineral rich and recycling the peels back into your garden saves money and returns these nutrients to the soil where they can benefit other plants. This is NO WASTE gardening!

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Clever Plant Container Ideas

DIY – Make Your Own Garden Planters

Why buy new when you can DIY and save money?  Need a little inspiration to get your garden started in a container?  Check out what some amazingly creative people around the globe have used to grow a garden in – just about everything!

 

School desk edible planter - just one of many Clever Plant Container Ideas @ www.themicrogardener.com

This old desk school desk has a new life in the garden as an edible planter filled with luscious lettuces, shallots and colourful flowers.

 

Ideas for Repurposed Planters … INCLUDING the Kitchen Sink!

 

Stuck for where to start?  Looking for inspiration for what to grow your next garden in?  Look no further! I hope you like these creative planters as much as I do.

 

Porcelain planters seem to be quite popular in some gardens.

A new meaning for ‘potted’ plants! These old toilet cisterns have also been given a new life as planters. Porcelain is long lasting and with built in drainage, their prior lives could be concealed behind other plants or a bamboo screen around the base.

 

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Repurposed Container Gardens – Turn Trash into Treasure

Ever wonder why some people’s gardens look so beautiful, full of character and have that special charm?  If you look closely at pictures in garden magazines or visit open gardens and nurseries, you’ll notice one of the clever design tricks they use is adding interesting features, repurposed containers and collections.

Small courtyard garden with good design creates an appealing space to enjoy.

This small courtyard garden is a good example of clever design and use of a collection of new and old pots. A seating area, water fountain, screening plants and coordinated colours also help unify this tiny space.

These little touches help to:

  • unify a garden
  • give it focus
  • create a theme
  • reflect your personality
  • add character

and enhance the visual appeal so you want to spend time in that special space.

 

“Designing your garden space is even more important if you have a micro garden.”

 

With a limited space and budget, it’s not always possible to buy new plant containers or garden art but you can still achieve a dream look and great functional growing spaces by ‘turning old into new.’  You don’t need special skills – just a little inspiration … and perhaps a little time to hunt around for the right object.

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Ten Benefits of Using Repurposed Planters

Don’t have the time or money to buy a new pot or build a garden bed?  It’s much easier than you may think to find the perfect container without costing an arm and a leg!  If you’re not in the habit of finding ‘new ways with old things,’ read on to find out why you should consider reusing what you’ve already got. Repurposed planters may be just the solution.

 

Twinings Tea Tin Windowsill Planters - Items you might otherwise throw away can be useful plant containers instead. | The Micro Gardener

These quaint little metal Twinings vintage tea tins have been reused as small herb pots. They make a cute set of windowsill planters. To avoid rust damage, sit metal tins on a tray to catch water from the drainage holes.

 

1. Save money/make money

Turning ‘trash into treasure is one sure way to be thrifty in the garden.  If you don’t have to buy a container, you can keep your money in your purse for plants or other garden supplies you really need to buy. Being creative with your hands and making attractive, affordable planters, potting benches and unique pots for other gardeners may also be a niche market to make money or raise funds for a worthy project. (more…)

Revitalising & Re-using Old Potting Mix

Do you garden in containers? If so, revitalising old potting mix and checking your pots on a regular basis are essential routine maintenance activities for ongoing plant health. If you are starting to see problems in your plants, it’s probably time to check what they’re growing in!

This is a trouble shooting article to help you improve your potting mix and solve some common problems.

Revitalising and re-using old potting mix

 

Can you Reuse Old Potting Mix? If so, HOW?

One of the principles of Frugal Gardening involves RE-USING materials = less waste and reduces our footprint on the planet. It also has the added benefit of saving us money!

Bags of commercial potting mix can be quite expensive particularly if you have lots of pots. It also dries out fast and your plants suffer.

Making your own homemade potting mix make sense (and cents)! Why? Because it lasts longer, provides all your plant needs and contains no nasty chemical additives like water crystals and soil wetters. Re-using your old potting mix definitely is more satisfying, sustainable and cost-effective. (more…)

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