By Anja van den Berg
Creating a beautiful garden doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Here are some money-saving gardening tips that will help you stick to your budget – and even save water.
- You cannot have too much mulch
The first and easiest step is to add a thick layer of mulch around your plants. Mulch could be anything that will cover the soil sufficiently to prevent it from getting too hot and from water evaporating. Leaves and bark work very well and will gradually break down to provide you with some nutrient-rich compost. Other options include pebbles, pine needles, straw, nut shells or fruit pips, and even newspaper.
Rather than paying for mulches, you could opt to cover your soil with a green, living mulch. Pennyroyal makes a great groundcover as it quickly covers bare soil and reduces evaporation, It’s also an insect repellent. Other options include creeping oregano and creeping Jenny.
- Harvest Rainwater
Save on your water bills by installing a rainwater tank and use this harvested water to irrigate your garden, either by attaching your hosepipe to it or hooking it up to your irrigation system. According to Rod Cairns, managing director of JoJo Tanks, for every 1mm of rain that falls onto 1m² of surface area, you can generate 1 litre of water. So, if the annual rainfall is 500mm and you are capturing rain off a 500m² roof, you could collect up to 250 000 litres in a year.
- Make your own compost
Compost improves the water-retention capabilities of soil and encourages earthworm activity, which aerates the soil. Make sure you dig in compost at least once a year to keep your soil healthy. You can turn your kitchen and garden waste into valuable (and free) compost! Either create a heap in a corner of your garden or invest in a composter. Choose a spot in sun or semi-shade. Start the heap off with a layer of twigs or small branches, then add alternate layers of green waste (green garden clippings, fruit and veggie scraps) and brown waste (dry leaves and twigs), aiming for more brown waste than green. Keep the heap moist or turn it regularly to speed up decomposition. You should have dark, crumbly compost in about four months.
Water early in the morning, or early evening when it’s cooler and when there is less chance of evaporation. Also, be careful of over-watering: plants prefer a thorough watering less often instead of daily light watering.
East Coast Radio: https://www.ecr.co.za/lifestyle/house-home/6-water-wise-gardening-tips/
Garden & Home: https://www.gardenandhome.co.za/gardening/how-tos/10-money-saving-gardening-tips/