smart spending

7 ingredients of a money-saving garden

A small patch with elbow room for plants
3 of 9

"People get excited about going out and planting a garden," Smith says. "And what they do is take on more area than they should and don't prepare the soil properly. The result is lackluster. They squander their resources."

If you're just starting out with a home garden, Smith recommends keeping it to a small area, either a series of containers or a small patch (say, 4 feet by 8 feet). "What you'll find is that you can produce more than you think in a small space," says Smith.

If you want volume, "it's all about crop rotation," he says. "You don't have to back a tractor into your backyard and rip it all up."

Another problem is overcrowding the plants, Gilbertie says: "You'll get more production out of six tomatoes planted 3 feet apart than out of 12 tomatoes planted 18 inches apart."

Finding out just how much room each plant needs is easy, Gilbertie says. Hit the Internet, consult your seed catalogues or chat with the folks at your gardening center.




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