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Inexpensive Gardening Organic Tips

cheap-organic-gardeningSaving the Earth and protecting children and pets from dangerous chemicals are the reasons most gardeners cite for giving up pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, but guess what? Making the switch to organic gardening methods will save you money too! Here are six examples of how going organic will put money back in your pocket. Think of them as money management tips!

# Plant Veggies, Spend Less on Doctor Bills

A recent article by a Texas research biochemist summarizes some bad news: many scientific studies show that the vitamin content of fresh fruits and vegetables is on the decline. That’s alarming, because fresh produce should be an important source of vitamins and minerals in our diets — without them, we’re more vulnerable to getting sick.

Fortunately, there’s a simple way to protect your health and reduce what you spend on costly doctor visits, cold and flu medications, and vitamin pills: plant some vegetables. Fresh-picked home garden produce is brimming with nutrition, and recent studies confirm that organically grown produce can be even richer in nutrients than conventionally grown fruits and veggies.

# Fight Pests with Flowers Instead of Pesticides

More than 90 percent of the insects in your yard and garden are your friends, not your foes. Ladybugs, lacewings, and even many kinds of flies and tiny wasps are an important natural pest control force.

Their larvae (the immature stages of the insects) gobble up aphids and other pests, or parasitize the caterpillars that would like to turn the foliage of your flowers and veggies into a holey mess. One easy way to attract these good-guy insects to your yard organically is to plant a garden of perennials and herbs with tiny flowers, because the adult beneficial insects eat pollen, not bugs.

Yarrow, purple coneflowers, daisies, tansy, cosmos, marigolds, and zinnias are great plants to start with, and you’ll love how they look growing in sunny spots all around your yard. Buying a few packets of annual seeds and several potted perennials is much cheaper — and much more fun — than buying pesticides and a sprayer!

# Fire Your Lawn Care Service

How much do you pay for a lawn care company to treat your lawn? Chances are it’s way too much. So ditch the lawn service and hire a local teen to mow for you instead.

To encourage a healthy lawn the organic way, have your hired help set the mower high — at least 3 inches high. That way, your lawn grass naturally shades out weeds (no more herbicides needed).  Be sure your helper uses a mulching mower that returns grass clippings — which contain valuable nitrogen — to the lawn (no more bagged fertilizer needed).

Once a year, have your helper spread good-quality compost too, about 1/4 inch thick. The compost will melt into the lawn almost immediately, adding a wide range of nutrients as well as beneficial microbes that help prevent lawn diseases.