Starting Our Frugal Garden From Seed

Gardening for some is a passion and for others just another chore. For me, enjoyment of watching something grow, mature and flower is fascinating. Plants don’t all have to be about huge flowers, they can be the focus or the backdrop or just plain useful. Every year we grow our own food in the garden, though I’ll be the first to admit we couldn’t live off the land we have, it’s more of a novelty thing. There are advantages other than cost to growing your own, the flavours are far superior and the knowledge that you didn’t spray everything in sight with chemicals. I can remember when I was growing up in England that quite a lot of people had apple trees in their back gardens the obligatory rhubarb patch as well as a sprinkling of gooseberry bushes, damson trees and in rough open space you could find blackberries by the thousand. Coming home from school at a young age we would often scoff free damsons off some old ladies tree. I do believe it was called “scrumping”, though that term is more synonymous with stealing apples off a tree. I’m sure growing up in an area that was dominated by old Victorian houses helped as it provided […]

Budget-Friendly Christmas Decoration Ideas For The Home

Budget friendly Christmas decorations can easily be accomplished with a little imagination when creating a holiday theme in your living space. One of the best parts of Christmas has to be walking into a festive and warmly decorated home. Along with a little music and the right lighting, the atmosphere is set to make this holiday season a memorable one. The personalization behind homemade holiday displays provides a nice touch and eliminates the need to buy costly decorations. Be sure to borrow the following budget-friendly Christmas decorating ideas for your home. Start At The Entrance Since Christmas begins at the front door, here is a lovely entrance decoration that is easy to put together for next to nothing. Collect some fragrant greenery such as holly, spruce, or eucalyptus and bundle it together with floral wire. Then tie a few ornaments onto a wooden floral pick, and push the pick tightly into the greenery boughs. Finish the arrangement with a satin ribbon, and hang it on the front door for a simple and elegant Christmas look. Wine Bottle Candle Holders Candle holders can be a great way to add a warm handmade glow to any household. Begin by removing all the labels […]

Turning Leaves Into Compost- Where There’s Muck There’s Brass

It’s that time of year again….the leaves have already turned colour and a there’s a good splattering over most people’s lawns that have already fallen. So is now the time to save some money? Sure it is and here’s what I do to save me some money come spring. WHAT DO I DO TO SAVE ME MONEY? Every year I collect up the leaves from the trees in plastic bags, wet them and tie them up with a couple of holes punched in the sides. I personally store them to over winter down the side of the house (mainly because my compost heap is already full), you could start compost heap number 2 if you like depending on the size of your garden. In the spring I’ll empty out roughly two-thirds of the compost bin for use around the garden/pots/baskets and then re-fill with the leaves from the bags interspersed with other roughage. The half rotten mixture will take no time at all to rot down once the weather warms up. WHY I BAG MY LEAVES? The main reason I don’t throw the leaves away in brown yard waste bags is the amount of nutrients they’ll add back into the garden for […]

How We Renovated Our First House For Under $25,000

We renovated our first house for under $25,000 can you believe that? Purchasing your first house is an exciting yet stressful time for anyone. Trying to decide between ‘turn-key’ or a ‘fix-er-up-er’ is often a decision people face. There are advantages to both, but for us, we knew we wanted something we could make into a home with a little good ‘ol fashion blood, sweat and tears. This was always going to be our first home. We bought knowing we would probably be here 5-10 years until we built up enough equity to afford our forever home. Finding a home we could put some sweat equity into, but not get so deep into renovations we were knocking down walls and moving bathrooms, proved to be more difficult than I thought it would be. We were looking for a nice house that needed a little TLC.  We eventually found a house and managed to snag it up for a steal of a price. The sellers were motivated to sell due to a job taking them out-of-town. Saving as much money as possible on the purchase was important because we had a long list of things we wanted to renovate all within a […]

Fall Gardening..Go Grow Something And Save!

Fall Gardening or just gardening in general is something I am very passionate about. It not only saves us money in our grocery budget but it is healthy for us and keeps us moving. When Mr. CBB approached me about doing a post for his site I jumped at the chance. I decided though since we all have different strengths with gardening that I should just share how we garden here at our Lil’ Suburban Homestead. When we first moved to the coastal area six years ago we were frustrated with our gardening results initially. We learned quickly that we were going to have to amend our soil and do a lot of raised bed gardening and use a lot of pots to get that soil mixture just right. We use a container mix from our local mulch yard (they blend it already and it includes topsoil, sand, and peat moss) but then we add our own compost, if it needs it we add more sand and peat moss and sometimes some vermiculite.  This takes years of figuring out I have to say my husband “The Viking” in my life has really fine tuned this and kind of knows what works […]

SOW, GROW AND SAVE

SOW, GROW AND SAVE After checking the prices in the produce aisle, how many times have you plopped some cherry tomatoes or asparagus into your shopping cart with a resigned look ala Mary Richards in the opening credits montage of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. What’s a person to do?  Resist artichokes?  Swear off broccoli and stock up on mac-n-cheese mix from the box? How about some good old-fashioned “if you can’t beat, ‘em join ‘em” action and start planting your own vegetables and fruits?  Yes, you can save money by growing your own food, whether you have a few container plants on the balcony or a nice sized garden in the back or front yard. The amount you save depends on how much you plant, your initial and ongoing investment in the garden, and how you use what you harvest.   If you want to save significant amounts of money and you have the space, plant seeds and go big. Otherwise, even with conservative efforts, by growing your own organic vegetables and fruits you can save on grocery store costs and reap other benefits as well.   You’ll contribute positively to the environment and your health by avoiding produce that’s been treated […]

Landscaping On A Budget In Canadian Soil- The Series Part 1

Get Ready To Landscape Your Dream Home Now that spring has sprung many people are anxious to get outside to start on their landscape projects. However, for many the mere thought of doing landscaping can lead to sleepless nights and visions of empty bank accounts. Over the years I have worked with many clients who have fallen into this category, they want to bring their yard to life but they are worried about the costs associated with undertaking the project. In many cases they are first time homeowners who have never landscaped before and have heard stories from friends and family of how much their backyard retreats have cost. They also may have simply wandered into a garden centre only to have been overwhelmed by names and price tags. On top of that, many folks today are both budget conscious and “green” conscious and want to bring both of these items to the table when beautifying their property. Landscape design: The plan As a landscape designer the first thing I ask my clients is about their budget – right away you need to know how much you want to spend on the project initially and long-term. Let me explain, when you undertake […]

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