No Cost (Or very nearly) Soil and seed- are where you can save the most
Composting is a way of 'making' your own soil. There are many ways to compost, something for everyone you might say.
Types of composting include: A. Outside bin B. Indoor worm bin-in a cupboard or in the garage C. Outdoor worm bin-in the shade D. Compost in containers or tubs-put weeds or plant clippings in these as you have them. E. Trench or sheet-are types of on-the-spot decomposition
To get specific information please see our section on composting.
Cheap Seeds: You can save your own for some things, but it takes a little planning.
Your normal groceries can be a source of free seeds or plant starts. It's important that seeds you save must be from very ripe fruit or veges and that they be kept dry, and cool, after you save them.
Some examples are:
Seeds from red, yellow or purple bell or chili peppers, green ones are unripe and cant be used.
Strawberry seeds are on the ouside-save the most-ripe berry you can get (raspberries and blackberries might work the same way, haven't tried them yet).
Use extremely ripe tomatoes, cucumbers or zucchini or pumpkin for seed saving.
Apple, orange and avocado seeds will grow, but the features of the resulting tree is hard to predict.
I've had good success using dried beans from the bulk department of the store. If you want green beans, dollar tree has good quality seeds.
Often I squish seeds I wish to save between paper towels or coffee filters and have them sitting near a window to dry in a room with good ventilation. When the seeds are dry, takes at least a few weeks, I can peel them off the paper and store in an envalope or small plastic jar of some kind-whatever you have around.
Note: if you use paper envelopes, they are best stored in a glass or plastic container so a mouse won't have an gourmet meal on you.
Green onions-save the a 1/2-1 inch portion with the roots attached, plant root-side down and water. Don't let plants dry out.
Old potatoes-grow eyes, the little weird alien bumps, which can become new plants. Cut your potato into 1 inch cubes. Allow to air-dry for an hour or two and they're ready to plant. Usually in a trench, cover with a couple inches of soil. Keep adding soil as the plant grows-your new potatoes will grow along the burried stem.
Butter lettuce-the kind with the root still attached will work just like the green onions (above) if it is fresh.A pineapple top will sometimes grow into a fun tropical plant. Don't waste your time with kewis because you need male and female plants for fruit production, and you'd have to grow them for years before you knew what you had. If you want to do some serious seed-saving: Will Bonsall's Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardeninggives detailed instruction, your library may have a copy, but the book is worth purchasing. Got mine on e-bay. Storey guides also has a book on seed saving.
Flower seeds- many can be saved by just watching for the dried flower heads, they need to look pretty brown usually.
These are super easy- just snap off a number off the dried blooms and pop them into a small paper bag, kind of roll the top down and write the name of the flower on the bag (or its discription), site where it was growing (location, sun or shade) and year. About three months later they will be dry enough to store.
I've had better success with flower seed I've saved this way than expencive purchased seed.