Great lawn, landscaping doesn’t require lots of water | THE COMPLEAT HOME GARDENER

Here are 5 Dirt Cheap Garden Tips that you can bank on:

Homeowners waste a lot of money trying to have a lovely landscape. The biggest waste could be the amount of water used to keep lawns green and plants healthy.

Local water districts have been offering free classes and garden seminars to educate their customers on how to use water most efficiently to keep their lawns and landscapes healthy. (I’ll be speaking at Point Defiance on April 21 about “The Un-Thirsty Landscape” as part of the Friendly Tacoma Yards Program.)

Here are 5 Dirt Cheap Garden Tips that you can bank on:

1. Mulch around your trees and shrubs now to seal in spring moisture.

A mulch is like a frosting that sits on top of the soil to keep out weeds and conserve water. Bark dust, wood chips, gravel and composted moo doo are all types of mulches that can pay dividends later in the summer with fewer weeds and lower water bills. Mulch is an investment that saves our liquid assets.

2. Learn how to grow a healthy lawn without chemicals.

By aerating your lawn in the spring, using lime to break up clay and keep down moss and not mowing the grass too short you can skip the expensive weed and feed products in favor of slow-release nitrogen lawn foods that will keep the grass thick enough to crowd out weeds.

The most important time to fertilize you lawn is in the fall and spring before summer weeds can take over. Mow your grass when the blades are three inches tall and remove just one-third of the blade so the lawn grasses are never shorter than two inches.

One more thing – leave the grass clippings on the lawn. They will decompose to add free nitrogen to the soil.

3. Invest in smaller less expensive trees and shrubs and watch them grow.

Young shrubs in one gallon pots are easier to transport, easier to transplant and will adjust more quickly to your soil. You’ll also have the joy of watching them grow up and out for years before you have to worry about them growing too large for their space.

4. Look to your kitchen cupboard for dirt cheap pest control.

Aphid and white fly can be sprayed with a soapy mix made from a mild dishwashing soap. Scale insects can be controlled by dipping a cotton swab into rubbing alcohol and black spot on roses can be prevented using skim milk painted on the undersides of the foliage.

5. Recycle and Reuse – especially when it comes to containers.

Cardboard egg cartons make great seed starting cubbies and recycling galvanized buckets, garbage cans or even wooden packing pallets are all ways to grow more while buying less.

One of the best ways to recycle empty water bottles is to use them in the bottom one third of large pots as drainage material. The empty plastic bottles not only keep the planter lightweight and draining freely but also mean you’ll need less potting soil to fill up your container.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Life

Relay for Life of South King County moves online

American Cancer Society donations to be taken during May 30 virtual gathering

Photo by Haley Ausbun
                                A woman checks out jars of honey and jam at the Renton Farmers Market in 2018. This year social distancing guidelines are changing the look of the market.
Renton Farmers Market is back June 2

The 19th season of the market will look a little different due to social distancing guidelines

‘Don’t assume it can’t happen to you’

Federal Way resident Evelyn Allcorn shares story of her husband’s battle with COVID-19 after he tested positive on March 28.

Auburn dance studio finds creative solutions to keep going during COVID-19

Pacific Ballroom Dance moves to online classes; group returned home early from national competition

Photo by Haley Ausbun
                                Boon Boona Coffee in downtown Renton is well-known for its large cafe space, but owner Efrem Fesaha has found a creative way to keep people to to-go orders only, putting a table right at the door. The order from the Governor hasn’t been easy for small businesses in Renton, and many are just taking it day to day and hoping for financial relief from local and regional leaders.
Renton communities reach out during shut-in

Local organizations, volunteers and businesses try to make the best of quarantine

Renton and AARP team up for seniors

New fitness park to funded and will open late in the summer

Renton March 2020 Youth of the Month
March Rotary Youth of the Month

Rotary members recognize three Renton School District high school students each month… Continue reading

Courtesy of HLN. A screenshot from a preview of an episode of a new true crime show that highlights the Ingrid Lyne case, where a Renton mother was murdered.
Infamous Renton crime to make TV debut

It’s been over two years since a man was found guilty for… Continue reading

Schindler’s legacy bounces along at Baden

CEO of Baden Sports died unexpectedly in February

Photos courtesy of Linda Smith
Celebrating Black Excellence

Local organization honors Black History Month

Alyx Chamberlain, Jennifer Keil and Mario Pilapil, courtesy of Rotary Club of Renton.
Teachers of the Month for February

As part of their commitment to education, and to celebrate teachers in… Continue reading

Photo by Haley Ausbun
                                During halftime, athletes and coaches have individual meetings, while parents watch a video prepared by Highlands Community Church for whatever biblical principle teams are learning about that week at the Upward sports league.
Sports that help kids grow

Local church league gives to neighborhood