Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Gardening ‘can be done cheaply’

Gardening is said to be one of the most popular pastimes in the US – indeed, according to the University of Delaware, it is enjoys a larger uptake than boating, golf or skiing.

It is easy to see why – these other activities have very high cost barriers to entry, while almost anyone can get outside and do a little work.

However, it is easy to let small costs mount up and in order to avoid this, horticulture agent for the University's Co-operative Extension Carrie Murphy offered some tips on how to keep things cheap.

She explained that vegetable gardeners are most commonly associated with the piling up of large expenses.

However, there are also ways to make this kind of task much less of a strenuous commitment than it could become.

In a recent interview with the Weekly Volcano newspaper, owners of the GardenSphere nursery in the Proctor District of New York Gabe Valbert claimed that timing is key to making vegetable planting as hassle-free as possible.

It was noted that growing in greenhouses can be an effective move, as it allows the individual a greater degree of control over the climate the plants are exposed to.

However, Ms Murphy warned that other kinds of gardener are also vulnerable to allowing their expenses to rocket.

"It's very easy to get caught up in the excitement of picking out new landscape plants and find yourself over-buying," she acknowledged.

"I'm a minimalist," the expert continued, adding: "I get by fine with a spade, shovel, pruners, cultivator, soil rake and leaf rake, plus a hori hori knife."

The hori hori knife is a kind of swiss army knife for gardeners that is useful for preening, pruning, weeding and other similar jobs.

"Taking cuttings to start new plants doesn't work for every species," Ms Murphy warned. "Some plants root readily, others are more challenging and others are impractical to start from cuttings."

She also advised individuals ensure they adopt a very patient attitude to the needs of their green space. This is because it can be a very effective cost-cutting measure.

For instance, she says she moved into a house with an old shrub that would have been easier – but more costly – to remove, but instead she nurtured it and it became a revitalized lilac plant.

"I've never really been a fan of lilacs but three years after cutting this one back it looked great," she remarked, adding: "I'm glad I didn’t rush in and make hasty decisions."