Getting started Gardening guide for Canadians

It is my great pleasure to share with you today my tips on how to save money gardening.

I love growing vegetables with my kids. We are currently planning our garden after snagging a good deal on seeds.

Seeds

Take advantage of sales such as scratch and save cards at Canadian Tire. I’ve taken advantage of such specials and saved anywhere from $5 to $10 on my purchase. Bring a friend along and you can split up your purchase and save twice as much. Collect your Canadian Tire dollars and use them to bring down your costs.

You can save a lot of money on plants at the nursery if you buy seeds ahead of time and plant them yourself. Now is the time to start your seedlings. Dollarama has those little pods to start seedlings. You can also find all types of creative ways to start your seeds indoors before planting on Pinterest or Instagram.

For example, you can start seedlings in egg cartons, empty one serve yogourt containers, eggshells and much more. All you have to do is make sure these are placed in a warm spot such as on top of your fridge. Once the seeds start germinating, you can place them on a windowsill. Don’t need that many seedlings? Why not share with a friend?

Compost

Why not start your own compost from kitchen scraps, grass cuttings and dried leaves? Many municipalities hold a sale on “Earth Machines”, compost bins for household use sold at a discounted price. Be prepared to line up early to get these great deals. If you can’t get an Earth Machine, you can also build yourself a homemade composter from pallets or an old garbage can in which holes were drilled.

Composting is easy; simply collect your kitchen vegetable and fruit scraps and place them in your compost bin. Add grass cuttings and browns (shredded newspaper or leaves) in equal parts according to their weight and make sure the mixture is well aerated and wet like a wrung out sponge. Stay away from composting dairy and meats as these require a lot more heat than produced by your smaller household compost to decompose. I prefer to not put any weeds however, some people put in weeds provided they have not gone to seed.

Space

You don’t need a big yard to garden. It is possible to grow lots of veggies quite successfully in containers. For example, my municipality has recently moved to bigger garbage and recycling bins. What to do with the old blue boxes? Well, these are perfect to fill with earth and grow potatoes. I have a four by four foot square raised bed and grow 4-5 tomato plants in this space, along with cucumbers that I have climb up trellises.

I grow lettuce in an old washtub and swiss chard in a large planter. Look for old containers you may have lying around the house that you can re-purpose or hunt around on Craigslist or Kijiji or at garage sales. With a bit of luck, you may also find some people willing to give away or trade garden plants. If you are planning to buy, look for varieties adapted for smaller spaces such as patio tomatoes. Don’t forget to water your containers generously a lot as these tend to dry up much more quickly than a garden.

Watering

If you have downspouts, you can set up a simple system to collect rainwater from your downspouts to use to water your garden. Make sure you install a screen to avoid mosquito infestations from stagnant water and make sure it is safe if you have young children.

I can’t wait for the snow to melt and the risk of frost has passed. We rent a plot in a community garden which is a great way to save on watering costs if the water is provided at the site. It is also a great way to meet people in your community, to exchange tips on gardening and to spend time outside enjoying summer.

I hope you have a wonderful growing season and a plentiful bounty.

This post was writtern by Liliane, one half of the bilingual duo behind Coupon rebelle, a Canadian bilingual couponing blog aimed at helping you save money.

Profile imageAuthor: Steven Zussino on March 29th, 2013. Steven Zussino is the co-founder of Grocery Alerts Canada. He loves to help Canadians save money on groceries. He also runs the blog, CanadianPersonalFinance.com.

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