Sometimes when people start gardening they have the foolhardy idea that they will save money on food. If they stick it out a couple of years they quickly realize the error of that idea.
Nonetheless, both for economy’s sake as well as that of sustainability, I do try to make use of things that are readily available at home as much as possible in the garden.
Here are some of the things available to me that I use in the garden.
Grass Clippings: I don’t use chemical fertilizers or weed killers in the back yard. I have my yard man save all of the grass clippings that come from my backyard. They build up in a pile in my garden. I use them for mulching, composting or at the very least they don’t end up in the landfill.
Leaves: I live in a new subdivision so we don’t have any large trees. My yard man brings me as many bags of leaves that I can use. This year I made wire cages so that I can fill them with leaves and make leaf mold. I also use the newly shredded leaves for mulch.
Egg Shells: I save and dry the shells from the eggs I eat. I crush them up and add them into the worm bin as well as the garden beds when I turn them over in between seasons.
Table Scraps: Non citrus uncooked fruit and vegetable scraps are added into my worm bin. If you haven’t looked into vermicomposting, you should. Worms work hard to make fantastic organic fertilizer.
Fire Pit Ash: Wood ash adds potassium to the garden soil.
Cardboard Boxes: Several layers of cardboard underneath a new garden bed will both keep grass from growing through and attract earthworms into the raised bed soil. (Finally, a justification for more Amazon orders!)
Shredded Paper: That shredder at the office can be a goldmine for you! If you have a worm bin, that shredded paper can be soaked in water and used along with those table scraps to make beautiful fertilizer.
Rainwater: If you don’t have a rain barrel or two, you’re missing out. Captured rainwater doesn’t have chloramine like your municipal water probably does. Chloramine isn’t friendly to microorganisms, so the more you can water with untreated water, the healthier your soil is likely to be.
Garden Waste: For instance, this was the first year I grew califlower. I pulled the plants after I harvested the califlower. I pulled the plant out of the ground and fed it to the chickens. (And, I’ve learned, after the chickens eat the leaves down to the stalk, if I bring it back to the house my dogs will enjoy the stalk!)
As much as possible I try to keep a closed loop between my house and my garden. Use what I already have to make my garden better and more productive.