Garden season is fully in swing! You do have a garden going right? It works well with any austerity plan or SHTF plan. Providing good, cheap, wholesome food, with positive ripple effects into your family’s physical and financial health. It’s always a delight to work in the garden, but I’ve found that these Cheap As Dirt Amendments make things go smoother.
Compost – DIY yourself some compost, your garden plot will thank you. Lots of veggies do well with a “side dressing” of compost as they start to form their edible parts. Side dressing is just fancy garden talk for dumping some compost neatly next to the row of veggies. Compost is literally made with kitchen waste and lawn debris. Add sun and rain water, and voila! Compost! Cheapest way imaginable to insure the health of your planting soil.
Egg Shells – Egg shells are super cheap, again we’re talking about kitchen waste here folks. Keep a couple of shells per tomato plant in your garden. If you usually plant 5, then keep a dozen shells, if you usually plant 10, make sure you keep at least a couple dozen eggshells. In the spring, as you plant your tomato plants, crumble up a couple of eggshells in the bottom of the transplant hole, this helps prevent blossom end rot. This works for peppers and eggplants as well. Eggshells can also be ground up into a dusting that will deter slugs, in much the same way as diatomaceous earth does.
Newspapers – Newspapers work great as a mulch layer, they’ll effectively block weed seeds for quite a awhile before breaking down. They are essential to the “lasagna method” of starting new garden soil. Newspaper pots are a cheap way to make compostable seedling pots.
Straw – You can DIY straw, even on a small lot. Some grasses (ornamental or prairie grasses) make a lot of straw naturally. Some heirloom varieties of grains make lots of straw. Or you can buy it cheap at most farm stores or garden supply stores. Spread on your plots it can help modulate temperature and moisture levels in your soil, keeping conditions right for strong healthy plants. Soil can cause diseases in tomato plants, and I’ve found that a bed of straw around the base of the tomato plants really minimizes those soil-borne diseases.
There’s no excuse not to keep these around. Use them generously in your garden for best results. They are cheap and effective solutions to common garden needs.
Got any others to add to my list? Do comment and let us know.
– Calamity Jane