Today: Apr 07 , 2020

Gardening While Saving

Saving Money on Gardening Costs. 10 Ideas for Less Expensive Gardening. Frugal Gardeners can Create their Dream Gardens

Gardening is a real hobby, and like all hobbies, it's easy to get carried away. Even after you have the necessary tools and supplies, there are always new plants, new hats and gloves, and new gadgets to try. But that doesn't mean your garden has to drain your wallet. Some of the best gardening tips don't cost a dime, while some save you money for seasons to come. Here are my10 no-pain-always-gain ways to save money while gardening and still have the garden of your dreams.

Make Compost Happen

It's so obvious that our current gardens are compost goldmines and completely free. But, incredibly, many gardeners let this mother lode (their garden clean-up) go to waste. At the very least, mowed grass and leaves piled in a corner of the yard eventually will become compost.

Stop bagging those needles and leaves and dragging them to the curb in the fall.

Dried leaves make an excellent compost in as little as one season. Half-rotted leaves are called “leaf mulch,” and there is nothing like a layer of leaf mulch on your garden to attract earthworms and all kinds of beneficial insects and organisms. That’s what nature does in the forest. And it’s much cheaper than buying bags of shredded cedar bark.

Start Your Plants from Seed

The price of a packet of seed keeps going up, but so does the cost of plants. Seeds are still the best deal in town. You can grow dozens of annual plants for a fraction of what you would pay for a 6-pack of the same flowers. Begin with annual flower and vegetable seeds; perennial flowers from seed will try your patience. Most perennials take 2-5 years before mature enough to bloom!

Because seed packets almost always are more than a gardener can use in a season, try setting up a seed exchange with gardening neighbors and friends. It will increase the variety of blooms in your yard/garden without having numerous left-over packets of seeds.

The savings from growing vegetables from seed can pay for the rest of your garden supplies, mulch and all.

Install a Drip Irrigation System

This is a dramatic money saver even if you only pay for electricity to pump from a well. Irrigation systems are composed of a lot of little pieces, making them seem very complicated and expensive, but truly are neither. All those pieces just snap together as you lay out your system in the gardens. Even drip irrigation that is programmed to go on several times a day will use less water and money than a good soaking with a hose. That's because less water is lost to evaporation, and less water is consumed because what is used regularly is going straight to the roots. You save money, and your plants are happier.

Collect Seed, Take Cuttings, Divide, Spread

Take seed-starting a step farther and become a seed saver. Open pollinated plants grow true from their seed. Heirlooms and old-fashioned flowers are good candidates. You can also multiply your plants by rooting cuttings and by dividing perennials from your or friends' landscapes. No law says you have to wait until a perennial “needs” dividing before you divide it. Divided younger plants may start out small, but they catch up fast.

Start With Smaller Plants

Plants are priced by size. It’s nice to have an instant garden, but if you’re trying to save money, buying smaller sizes can cut your bill by two thirds. Another option is to buy one sizable perennial plant and divide it immediately into two or three smaller plants. Plants like irises actually bloom better when divided and spread more quickly throughout the landscape.

Pool Resources to Buy in Bulk

Bulk purchasing always cuts costs. Bulbs, in particular, are a real bargain when you buy large quantities. But who really needs a 1,000 daffodils? If you have 5-10 friends willing to go in on a large quantity purchase, the cost is divided, and you still have a broad swath of daffodils in the yard at a fraction of the cost.

You can also go in with a couple of friends and buy an extra large plant, then divide it so that you each get a piece. This is a smart way to get pricey, unusual plants at a bargain price. Bulk buying also adds up to significant savings for things like mulch, fertilizer, and plant stakes.

Recycle and Salvage

We throw away a lot of things that could serve other purposes in the garden. Newspapers make great weed barriers. Shredded paper is even good at the bottom of containers, to help retain moisture.

Bottles of all sorts can be used as protective caps to get seedlings through cool spring nights. Egg cartons and yogurt containers are great for starting seeds. The cardboard rolls from paper towels and toilet paper can be used as cutworm collars. And if you have a good salvage yard near you, it’s a great place to look for cages, stakes, and great supports for climbing plants. You may even find interesting containers.

Host a Plant Swap

Host a plant swap with your gardening friends. Everyone has too much of something. While you’re dividing and redesigning in the spring, have everyone pot up some extras to exchange. A tag with the plant’s name, color, and growing preferences can be incentive to a buyer. It’s also fun to have gardeners show and tell a little about the plants they brought. This is a beautiful way to build some memories with your gardening friends.

Yard Sales

Antique prices are sky high, but bargains abound at yard sales. Some of your neighbors stopped gardening years ago, and when they finally clean out their garages you can find some deals. Many of the older tools, buckets, netting, pots, and gloves are better quality than the imported stuff offered at Box stores. Once all this used garden equipment is found and placed in the driveway, no one wants to drag it back into the garage for another sale, so prices are usually pretty reasonable and often negotiable. You may be the one who should be having a yard sale. I mean really, how many pruners do you need, anyway? Have a yard sale and designate the proceeds to your garden.

Collect or Re-Direct Water

Water is one of those garden expenses we don’t really notice until the bill arrives at the end of the month. Yet a garden can go without water for a long time. A rain barrel has got to be one of the most natural garden tools to use. You insert your drainpipe into the hole in the barrel and wait for rain. They’re making it even more tempting these days with some beautiful rain barrels designed to complement different house styles and materials.

Re-directing your faucet or washer isn’t just a money-saver, it’s a water saver. This just makes sense in drought-prone areas. It takes a little work to re-plumb your gray water, so you will probably want to call in a professional, but the savings are dramatic and long-term.

Monsoon Sale ~ End-of-Season Savings

For seasonal businesses sales drop through the winter. Garden centers maybe not as seasonal as a Halloween shop, or Christmas décor store, but we do experience that drop. Our goal is to be down to the most essential landscape materials, evergreen shrubs, and the showy trees of fall and winter. It costs a lot to water and maintain plants to be held over for the next spring season. We would rather discount them heavily and give our loyal customers a deal at the end of the season.

This transition has already begun and continues through Labor Day.
Snap up these bargains fast because they don't last long!
It's a good time to take home that pottery, garden art, or privacy hedge you just couldn't afford otherwise.
~ The deals and selections are now through Labor Day! ~

Watters Monster Monsoon Sale
August 24 – Sept 9
All Spring & Summer Plants Must Go!
While supplies last.

Gardening Classes

Simple Seed Saving ~ August 18 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.

Learn the benefits and the ease in saving seeds from your favorite plants such as tomatoes, beans, and peppers. There is magic in learning this fine art and satisfaction in continuing an age-old ritual. Guest instructors Belle Starr & Bill McDorman are co-directors and co-founders of Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance. They educate gardeners of any skill level (or none at all!) to save seeds...simply! To date, they have re-engaged more than 1,000 people in this ancient tradition through their Seed School educational programs.

Ground Covers, Vines, Erosion Control ~ August 25 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.

Tired of looking at that brown, barren hill behind your home? Soften that sharp-edged rocky look with these easy-to-grow alternatives to a grass lawn. These fast-growing plants stay low, tight, and withstand summer heat with minimal care. A few plants go a long way when students know which plants to use locally. Learn which shrubs, herbs, and vines will soften all that rock, keep soil from eroding, all while presenting an attractive landscape.

If you can’t attend this class, watch the Livestream on Facebook. Like our page to be notified when we go Live.

Sept 1 - Gardening for Newcomers

New to northern Arizona or just new to gardening? This class is Gardening 101 for everyone hoping to turn a brown thumb green. Learn all the mountain secrets to local garden success from soil preparation and planting to watering and fertilizing. This is an information-packed class guaranteed to increase blooms and fruit this year and reduce frustrating gardening mistakes!

If you can't attend this class, watch the Livestream on Facebook. Like our Page to be notified when we go Live.

Sep 8 - Secret Gardens with Hedges & Privacy Screens

Beautiful mountain views on one side, neighbor's RV on the other? This class shows off the best, fastest growing plants to fill in for privacy screens! You can screen unsightly neighbors, enhance your view, or block pesky traffic and cut noise and light pollution. Experts will be on hand to help individuals with unique situations. FREE

If you can't attend this class, watch the Livestream on Facebook. Like our Page to be notified when we go Live.

Sept 15 - Wildlife & Bug Prevention

Late summer is not only the peak of bug season, there's also intense pressure from furry visitors in our yards. Students start with best practices to keep javelina and pack rats away, then quickly move to solutions for grasshoppers and tomato worms. You can have a nice yard with these easy-to-use tips and a few key plant choices. Frustrated gardeners will have all the tools they need to keep the garden pest free!

If you can't attend this class, watch the Livestream on Facebook. Like our Page to be notified when we go Live.

Sept 22 – Fruit Trees – Health and Harvest

Fruit trees not only beautify our landscapes, they give us actual food to eat! This class focuses on which varieties are the best for our community, how to care for them, and how to get your best bounty ever. We'll take you season by season through the year-round practices that produce results for the best health and biggest harvest you've ever had.

If you can't attend this class, watch the Livestream on Facebook. Like our Page to be notified when we go Live.

Sept 29 – Planting for Success in our Mountain Soil

We've planted thousands of plants throughout northern Arizona, and now we're going to share our secrets with YOU. Watters' Planting Manager, Ella Amos, gets her hands dirty every day planting new landscapes for our wonderful customers. Years of planting success and the knowledge she's gained through her experience make Ella the perfect Guest Instructor for this class. She'll share the techniques and trade secrets she's learned to help you be a smarter, savvier, more successful gardener.

If you can't attend this class, watch the Livestream on Facebook. Like our Page to be notified when we go Live.

October 6 – Irrigation in the Waterwise Landscape

Irrigation systems can confound even the most experienced gardeners! Learn the benefits of drip irrigation, the best emitters and parts, and how to set a system up or add to it. With the right system, you can save water and have healthier plants at the same time. Students will also learn which plants are considered “waterwise,” and how to grow a beautiful landscape while saving our most precious resource – water!

If you can't attend this class, watch the Livestream on Facebook. Like our Page to be notified when we go Live.

Oct 13 – Top Trees for Fall and All

Privacy, shade, color, evergreen, and blooms – trees are the foundation of the landscape! With so many choices, picking the perfect tree can seem overwhelming, but not after this class. Students will learn which trees are best for their garden wish list, and which can provide stunning, year-round interest when planted together. Our horticultural team will be on-hand after the class to help with individual tree situations.

If you can't attend this class, watch the Livestream on Facebook. Like our Page to be notified when we go Live.

Oct 20 – Container Designs – Easy as 1-2-3

The fall plants have arrived, and this is the month to transition from summer blooming flowers to winter hardy pansy, viola, mums, kale, dusty miller and more. Expect inspirational color from your container gardens right through the holiday season to come. Students learn the best soils, foods and flowers that keep on blooming. Bring your empty containers and experts will be on hand after the class to help personalize your style.

If you can't attend this class, watch the Livestream on Facebook. Like our Page to be notified when we go Live.

Oct 27 – Winter Wellness – How to Keep Plants Healthy in Winter

Which plants need to be brought inside for winter? What's the best way to keep them healthy when they're brought inside? How do I protect the plants in my garden from frost? Do I have to water in winter? We'll answer all these questions and more in this winter preparedness class. Learn the best practices for helping your plants through the chilly winter months so they can be at their best in Spring.

If you can't attend this class, watch the Livestream on Facebook. Like our Page to be notified when we go Live.

Nov 3 – Fall ‘To-do‘ list for a Healthy Yard

Get the most out of your landscape with this easy to use checklist of fall care. Bring the color out of your fall gardens, reduce bugs next spring, or simply put your landscape to bed with these easy to use ideas.

If you can't attend this class, watch the Livestream on Facebook. Like our Page to be notified when we go Live.



Ken Lain, the Mountain Gardener

Ken Lain is attracted to sunshine, beauty, happiness, success and health through gardening, and wishes to point the way to others. Throughout the week Ken can be found at Watters Garden Center located at 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd, Prescott, or contacted through his web site at