While I will always promote gleaning your gardening gear from the recycling bin or second-hand via garage sales and thrift stores, there are times when buying new is required. A lot of gardeners looking to save money have been turning to the dollar store over the past few years, especially since many chains have been expanding their gardening aisles and selection has grown. For that reason I have put together a guide to products that I have purchased in my local stores and have found to be useful and of decent quality. Oddly enough, much of the best garden gear is not found in the actual gardening aisle so it helps to think outside the box and look around the entire store for objects in the housewares, craft, and stationary aisles that might suit your needs.
- Plastic Dish Pan Basin: These bins are fantastic for a variety of purposes and I keep a few on hand. I use them to mix up and moisten seed starting soil (and other potting soils, too) and as a working surface for filling pots. They can also be used for bottom watering delicate plants and as a wash basin for soaking and cleaning used pots. Brand new cat litter pans also work well for this purpose, although the dish pans tend to be deeper.
Davin surprised me with this drawing on our kitchen chalkboard this morning.
I know that some of you in the warmer regions have already started your tomato seeds. Around here I still have a month(ish) to go before I will start my first batch of dwarf varieties.
Which varieties are you growing or planning to grow this year?
I live in the northeast and am starting a bunch of mine today underneath lights. The following are a few tips gleaned from my own past blunders and successes to help you get started with yours.
Onions & Shallots: Depending on the type, onions are fairly flexible plants that will tolerate a certain amount of rule-breaking on your part. Bunching onions aka scallions tend to be tougher and can be direct sown outdoors in mid-Spring with some frost protection (a cold frame, bottle cloche, or cover).
Every once and a while I go into an old folder of photographs and randomly choose an image to post about. Today it is this Guernsey Lily (Nerine bowdenii) ‘Isabel’ that bloomed in my garden this past fall.
I originally bought the bulb in a late-season clearance bin in 2011, planted it in the sandy soil at the back of the garden and completely forgot about it until it made itself known in late-2012 when a flower spike poked its head above the ground.
I needed a bookmark, so I made one. Random scraps of paper and bus transfers do the work of marking my place in a book, but they are not special. They just are.
I knew it had to be botanical, because… exhibit a thru z… and it was a pressed leaf that provided the inspiration. I often slip leaves into books only to discover them months or years later. This is why I always flip through the pages before I get rid of a book. They sometimes hold more secrets beyond the words that are written inside.
In this case it was a leaf from a tulip tree leaf (Liriodendron tulipifera) that I picked up on a walk last fall. The tulip tree is a North Eastern native that is gaining popularity around here. The leaves are simple and elegant and they turn a beautiful golden yellow in the fall. I find I want to take them all home.
I stitched my bookmark onto a piece of scrap cotton. It is 2″ X 6″ but I realize in hindsight that 8″ would have been a nicer length. The leaf was yellow when I put it into the book but had browned with age. I used variegated thread to represent this colour shift, but any solid colour will work, too.