If you're like me, this is the time of year we get the urge to go outdoors and make plans for our yards. I start each spring filled with boundless optimism and ideas. Will this finally be my year to garner the coveted "Yard of the Month" placard? Sadly, sometime around late June, when you can actually hear the heat through the familiar din of the cicadas, all dreams of beauty and neighborhood acclaim have withered along with my columbine.
Over the weekend I read an article in the New York Times that completely put me at ease about the process of gardening.Felder Rushing, horticulturist and host of a weekly gardening show on Mississippi Public Radio, is preaching slow gardening. He's teaching gardeners to relax, take their time, rely on perennials and accept some disorder in the process. Felder says we don't have to do everything at once. Rather, he believes in starting modestly, with a pot or two building confidence with small successes along the way.
So passionate about this movement, Mr. Rushing even planted a mobile garden in the bed of his pickup to showcase his ideas.
He acknowledges that cost is a common obstacle that many home gardeners face.
Here are a few of Felder's "cheapskate gardening" techniques.
- Turn old tires into planters.
- Use paint buckets as pots.
- Experiment with a vegetable container garden for easy maintenance and versatility. It also eliminates the need for a tiller making it more cost efficient.
- Save money on fertilizer by composting.
- Ask a local garden store for some of their discarded plastic pots to use as planters.
Slow, easy, cheap and green. I think I'll go plant a salad.
All photos by James Patterson for The New York Times