How to Make Your Small Garden Pay

Making a small garden pay has seldom been of any concern but in the current economic environment if you can earn a few dollars, share something good from your small garden, and make it easier for others to add to their small garden landscape it is a win – win situation.
As winter recedes many bulbs, tubers, canes, and hardy perennials exhibit signs of life in a small garden. Often the plants appear in places and numbers they are not appreciated in a small garden area. Following are a few suggestions on what you can do with some of the unwelcome plants to make your garden pay and share the abundance your small garden won’t permit you to keep.

First, take a walking tour of your small garden with the ideas outlined below in mind. You may not think you have anything in your small garden that could be of use until you look around with the idea of finding ways to make your small garden pay.

Next, collect all the miscellaneous plastic pots stacked in the corners, on shelves, and outside along the garage that have accumulated from prior nursery purchases for your small garden and fill them with a handful of gravel and some potting soil. If you do not have such a collection visit your local nursery’s and see if they have recycle bins that you can retrieve used pots from or ask friends if they have any pots collecting cobwebs in their sheds.

Look for volunteer starts of the trees in your yard. If put in pots the saplings can become the future shade or ornamental tree in someone else’s landscape. Japanese Maples, Chinese Elm, Aspen, Cedar and Holly are just a few popular trees that you will commonly find seedlings of scattered around your original tree. Potted and placed in an area or your small garden that will continue to get sun and moisture but are protected from freezing the saplings can grow without crowding your small garden. A thick cardboard box with sides as high as the top of the pots and stuffed with crumpled newspapers around the pot for insulation works well. This is one of the best ways to make your small garden pay since it is cost free to you.

Many perennial garden plants self seed and are found in random spots in your small garden. Dig up the ones that are in unwanted places and put them in the containers previously prepared. Position the potted plants to keep them growing until spring truly arrives.

Examine the areas in your small garden planted in bulbs or rhizomes. Iris are a prime example of garden plants getting too thick for the small garden space they are in. After replanting your iris bed divide the remaining pieces into groups of 6 or 7 and place them in baggies partially filled with sawdust. Be sure to punch several holes in the top of the baggies so any moisture can escape. The same can be done with any type of bulbs, tubers or rhizomes that have become overcrowded in the small garden or that you are ready to part with. Label and store these baggies in your garage or shed until it’s time to sell them.

If your small garden includes berries check the number of starts. Strawberries are prolific and the time comes when there just is not enough room for all the runners in a small garden. Old four or six pack type containers work well for strawberries starts. If raspberry canes are poking up beyond the area designated for them cut cleanly through the connecting roots and plop them in a pot. Berry starts are always popular and are a great way to make your small garden pay.

Keep an eye out for announcements concerning local farmers markets. Contact the organizers and find out what their requirements are for having a table or booth. You may want to find out how long the market lasts and how often it is held. If you can, arrange for a spot for just one day to see how well the plants from your small garden sell.

Price plants so they are easily affordable. It is a good idea to price your garden plants in such a way that if you sell half of them the cost of your space at the farmers market is covered. With this in mind try to have enough plants from your small gardent to sell that you can keep the prices low. Since they were volunteers from your small garden and you used recycled elements that should be easy enough to do. A large garden plant for $2 or $3 will go quickly. Your baggies of 6 or 7 bulbs or rhizomes could go for about the same price. Smaller plants and multi plant packages priced at $1 or less are popular. Label the garden plants clearly with name, color, and size and be willing to share about growing the plant successfully to those interested in purchasing them. A day as a vendor at the farmers market can be fun and you can make a little bit of money from your small garden in the process.

If you live in a well trafficked area have a garden plant sale. Place your ad in the garage sale section of your local newspapers and put up a couple of signs at local through-fares. Set your small garden plants out along your driveway or patio and see what rolls in. A morning can bring in a tidy amount that you can plow back into your small garden or use for other garden projects.

It’s all good! The plants have a new home, you’ve recycled plastic pots, your garden landscape looks great, and you made your small garden pay back some of what you have put in to it and maybe made a few new friends!

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