Save 2 tons of money by wielding a Garden Needs list

homemade plant markers are easy, reusable and cheap

Homemade markers are easy, reusable and cheap, and that means I don’t have to put plant markers on my Garden Needs list!

We beginning gardeners are optimistic and a bit naive. We may not know enough to know what we don’t need.

Anyone in a bright orange apron and a nametag looks like Santa Claus, and the great big big-box store is his gift bag, all sparkly and bright. oOoOoOo

Got a shovel? This one will do the trick, but THIS one over here with the diamond-dust encrusted edge will do the trick even FASTER.

Need a hoe? Fo’ sho. This little beauty will get in between even the most tightly packed rows of asparagus and corn and lettuce and –

And suddenly not just any hoe will do. It’s the carbon steel laser sharpened ash-handled power-glide grip’d Super Hoe for yo’.

You’ll need potting soil. AND seed starter soil. AND a bucket, and a wheelbarrow – can’t be carrying those pesky soil bags down that hillside until you put in those flagstone steps. Oh yes, you’ll need some flagstone steps. And a raised garden bed for when you get down the hill. And a hose. Or rather four hoses. One will stretch to the new greenhouse he’s about to talk you int- …

You drove there to get what? A seed packet of tomatillos? That’ll set you back about $1.49. By the time you and orange Santa there make your way to a checkout counter, you’ll be able to add $492 ‘n change to that modest sum.

Ask yourself one question. Did you bring your Garden Needs list? No? Excuse yourself politely from the orange apron and walk outside. Buy nothing.

Your Garden Needs list is your common sense, your conscience, your knight in shining armor standing as protector between your wallet and the orange aprons. Before you put any item on your list, use this trick.

  • Do I have something that’ll do the job?
  • Do I have to BUY something, or can I borrow, rent, make do?
  • If I have to buy something, how much am I willing to spend for it?

Shop virtually, online or with paper catalogs, before you get in the car to buy supplies. KNOW what you need to work on the current project in your garden and prepare for the next project. Write down what you’ll NEED, not what you want. Big difference.

I want an electric blue ride-around tractor with a snowplow, a weed-eater, a hitch and color-coordinated trailer, AM/FM radio, a sunblock holder and an orange striped umbrella.  This does not go on my Garden Needs list until I hit the lottery. Maybe then.

Now, back to being serious. By preparing this Garden Needs list before you set one foot out of the house, you are bulletproof. You can’t be talked into getting things not already on your Garden Needs list. When someone in an orange apron tries to talk you into that gold-plated hedge-trimmer set, just nod knowingly and brandish the Garden Needs list in his general direction.

You’ll be amazed how much time and money you save, how in control of your garden costs you are, and how great you’ll feel that you saved all those butter dishes that are the perfect size for starting veggie seeds.