I love this time of year, it’s when all the new gardening books seem to be published! I was very excited to receive a review copy of Maureen Gilmer’s latest book, The Small Budget Gardener, because I think it covers a topic that is on most people’s minds these days: saving money.
You may know Maureen (“Mo”) from her blog, MoZone, or from one of the 17 (!!!) books on gardening that she has authored, or from her nationally syndicated newspaper column “Yardsmart,” or perhaps you’ve seen her on the DIY or HGTV television networks. Needless to say, I was interested to read what a thoughtful gardener such as Gilmer had to say about being frugal, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the book is not only about how to spend less while gardening, but also about how to use your garden to save money in other areas.
The Small Budget Gardener is broken down into three broad sections: Stretch Every Dollar; Environmental Cents; and Gratis–As It Should Be. The first part is all about buying only what you actually need and how to get good deals on those must-have tools, fertilizers, and pest control products. The second section is full of ideas for living a green lifestyle without having to buy expensive “green” products or break the bank buying organic produce. What I thought was really great was that Gilmer included ideas to actually save you money by using your garden to reduce your energy and water bills. The final section is all about ways to garden without spending a dime, like ideas on how to get plants for free from your local government.
This book is just chock full of ideas for saving money. Gilmer covers everything from tips on buying used tools at estate sales to providing lists of easily divided perennials. For example, you may already know that you can mix in coffee grounds into the soil around your plants to add nitrogen, but Gilmer also points out that you can add the ashes from your fireplace to give your plants a potassium boost. Perhaps more importantly, she talks about changing your midset. You don’t have to view being frugal as “living without,” it can be a point of pride that you’re entrepreneurial and resourceful.