Gardening the Frugal Way

Here in South Florida, we are entering our gardening season. This is what we look forward to, cooler nights, low'er' humidity and gardens!

I've never had an excellent turnout from my garden. I know a few people who have. I think part of the issue for me is I get all gung-ho in the beginning and then life interrupts and well, gardening becomes an afterthought. For all those out there who garden on a consistent basis, you know how that does NOT work :)

Anyhow. Lowes and Home Depot are charging around $5 a plant now days. WTH? That's quite a bit of cash to lay out, don't you agree?

So here are some of the things I do for the things that I CAN grow without much effort (as a side note, the Jalapeno "tree" that just won't die? My friend, how is a self proclaimed horticulturist, keeps asking me what type of fertilizer I'm using to make it produce so much. Huh. Fertilizer? Are you kidding me John??)

1. Jalapeno plant. This thing was just a pathetic we whipper of a plant when I purchased it over a year ago. Had I known it would stick around this long and do so well, I would have put it in the back "40" as opposed to front and center.  Put taller plants in the back folks!

2. Green onions. At 33 cents a bunch in the grocery store, I cringe when I need to buy them. So I just buy ONE bunch, cut off the root and white section where it turns to green, stick the rooty part in dirt and let those babys sprout. I only use the green sections anyway, so when I need some, I just go out and clip what I need, and they grow back.  FYI - After Hurricane Wilma, we kept smelling oniony stuff on the patio. Finally we saw these long green things hanging over the top of the gutter ... yup, the wind had uprooted some of the green onions and landed them on the roof where they washed into the gutter and they took off. Goes to show, they don't need a whole lot of attention.

3.  Tomatoes, peppers, etc.  Ok, This is really hit and miss. Toss the seeds from the tomato and peppers you've purchased in the produce aisle in the dirt. It really helps to label so when they start to sprout you don't think they are weeds (tomato sprouts are pretty easy to spot with fuzzy soft leaves, peppers, not so much). They will sprout and you MUST thin them out otherwise they will compete for soil nutrient and water and then ALL do badly.  I know this. I've currently got some sweet mini peppers growing from Costco. Woohoo.

4.  Lettuce. IF you plant lettuce, be sure that you stagger your planting, otherwise you will have MORE lettuce than even a group of bunnies can eat all at once.

5. Herbs. If you find yourself paying that $2.99 for the plastic container of parsley in the produce aisle, just spend the $3 and get a whole plant. The more you cut (use) them, the better they grow.  I've got some still in their "peat" pots in a pot (need to get some soil) that are just growing away 3 weeks later ...

I tend to take a casual approach to gardening and I do get food to eat ... maybe not bucketloads but enough to make it worth it for me. I suppose some of it is self therapy and such as I couldn't feed the family for months on end by my yield, but I bet I could IF I dedicated more time and effort ...

So go ahead, dig a hole, dump in some stuff and watch it grow ...


  1. I live in So. FL as well (South county Palm Beach area). I grow herbs and for the most part they do okay if I tend to them. Those pestsky lizards eat some of my basil, but I have a defense now (soap water spray). Anyhow, good post, thanks for the tip on the green onions.

  2. Darn lizards (iguanas!) ... haven't seen all that many of them since the big cold we had earlier this year ... they really liked the brocolli I tried to grow last year. Good luck and let me know how it goes :) ...


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