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Money-saving gardening ideas

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As I was visiting some of my favorite garden sites over the weekend, I kept finding excellent ideas for being thrifty in the garden and so I decided to share them with you.

From Ellen Spector Platt of Garden Bytes From the Big Apple (whose latest book is an updated edition of "Lavender – How to Grow & Use the Fragrant Herb") come some helpful tips in Herbs for Hard Times.

She lives in New York City and grows pots of herbs on the roof of her building. Instead of keeping these just for herself, she allows anyone in the building to "pinch an inch" of any herb and use it.

It's always less expensive to grow herbs for use in cooking than it is to buy those tiny, expensive packets of them at the grocery store. (Those herbs that are easily grown from seed are even less costly.) But what if you don't have a growing area that gets much sun?

No problem, Ellen, says. She suggests that "if you have only part sun or part shade try chervil, lemon balm, cardamom (use the seeds), chives, and horseradish, plus catmint () for your tabby."

I'd add parsley to that list. I've often used it as the edging for a partially sunny flower border.

If you're new to herbs, Doug Green offers all the instruction you need in Five Easy Herbs.

In the Backyard Gardening Blog, Chris points out that we have choices when we plant something in our yards and it makes good sense to choose the alternative that you can eat

For instance,  a walnut tree for shade instead of an oak, an apple or pear instead of an ornamental fruit tree, for instance. (Blueberries make good shrubs and have delightful fall color.)

But Chris highly recommends growing asparagus, which is unusual among veggies because it's a perennial crop.

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