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4 ways to garden for less

By Jeff Fruhwirth · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Posted: 2 pm ET

Spring has sprung, and I am ready for the weather to turn to summer. Lately, I've been thinking about all the foods I've eaten from my garden the last few years. The veggies were so flavorful and so much fun to grow!

Gardening can be an expensive hobby. But if you do it right, you can save money when getting plants started. With a little work for a few months, you will save even more money on food.

First, you will need to find seeds. One way to save money on seeds is to talk to friends who garden and ask them if they have any seeds to spare.

Or, you could even use the library. Some public libraries allow you to check out seeds. In the fall, collect seeds from the biggest plants you grow and return them to the library.

What should you plant? If you're a beginner, consider some vegetables such as zucchini that are almost impossible to kill. You don't want to spend the summer working hard, only to have very little to show for it come fall.

I like to use an old cardboard egg carton when starting seeds. Not only is this material free, but you can just plant the carton in the ground when you're ready. There is no need to remove the plant from the carton, because it will biodegrade.

When you are ready to plant, you need to find some seed-starting soil. Ordinary potting soil can get too damp when you're starting seeds, so you have to use a mix to make sure that you don't infect your seedlings with a fungus when trying to get them started early. Here's a great guide from the Oregon State University Extension Service.

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