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Gardening

Budget Gardening: Cultivating Joy Amidst Australia’s Cost of Living Crisis

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Budget Gardening during Australia's cost of living crisis.

Budget Gardening: Cultivating Joy Amidst Australia’s Cost of Living Crisis

 

In today’s Australia, as many grapple with the cost of living crisis, simple pleasures like gardening can feel increasingly out of reach. With rising prices affecting everything from utilities to groceries, tightening the purse strings has become a common theme for households.

However, amidst this challenging economic backdrop, gardening can not only be an affordable hobby but also a strategic response to rising food prices. Here’s some tips on how you can cultivate a garden without digging deep into your pockets and partake in some budget gardening.

1. Start with Seeds, Not Seedlings

While it’s tempting to buy young plants ready for transplanting, starting from seeds can save you a significant amount. Seed packets often contain enough seeds for multiple seasons, and with a little patience, you’ll have a garden full of plants at a fraction of the cost. As a bonus, seeds offer a broader variety of plant options than what’s usually available as seedlings.

2. DIY Composting

Instead of buying expensive fertilisers, start composting kitchen scraps like fruit and vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, and eggshells. Over time, these will decompose to produce rich, nourishing compost for your plants. This not only reduces waste but also bolsters your garden’s health without extra expense.

Budget gardening during Australia's Cost of Living Crisis with recycled bottles.

amidst this challenging economic backdrop, gardening can not only be an affordable hobby but also a strategic response to rising food prices.

3. Embrace Upcycling

Before rushing to the garden centre for pots and planters, look around your home. Old buckets, containers, wooden crates, or even worn-out boots can be repurposed into quirky plant holders. This approach not only saves money but also adds a unique touch to your garden.

4. Go for Perennials and Edibles

Perennial plants, which regrow every year, offer better value for money compared to annuals that last just one season. Additionally, consider growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs. With the cost of fresh produce on the rise due to the current economic situation, cultivating edibles can offer tangible savings on grocery bills.

5. Connect with the Gardening Community

Joining local gardening clubs or online groups can open doors to a wealth of resources. Members often share seeds, cuttings, tools, and expertise. Plant swaps are a fantastic way to diversify your garden without spending, and the shared knowledge can be invaluable for troubleshooting or learning new cost-saving tips.

Budget Gardening during Australia's cost of living crisis.

In today’s Australia, as many grapple with the cost of living crisis, simple pleasures like gardening can feel increasingly out of reach.

6. Water Wisely

Water bills can be a significant expense in gardening. Collect rainwater in barrels, mulch around plants to retain moisture, and water during the cooler parts of the day to reduce evaporation. If possible, design your garden with water-wise plants, particularly natives that are adapted to Australia’s climate and require less hydration.

7. Reuse and Recycle

Before buying new, think of ways to reuse items. Old newspapers can be used as weed barriers, broken pots can become drainage material for planters, and cardboard boxes can serve as composting material. Embracing a mindset of reuse not only aligns with the sustainable spirit of gardening but also curtails expenses.

Amidst the financial pressures of Australia’s cost of living crisis, budget gardening emerges as a beacon of hope and resilience. It’s a testament to the fact that with creativity and resourcefulness, we can find pockets of joy and sustenance even in trying times. More than just a hobby, gardening can be a way of life – a declaration that even when times are tough, growth, both literal and metaphorical, remains within our grasp.

 

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Gardening

How to make a temporary pool look good

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How to make a temporary pool look good

How to make a temporary pool look good

 

Making a temporary pool look good is not just about enhancing its aesthetic appeal; it’s about creating a fun, inviting, and comfortable outdoor space that maximises your enjoyment during those warm months. Whether it’s an inflatable pool, a frame pool, or any other type of above-ground pool, there are numerous creative and practical ways to transform it into a beautiful oasis. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to achieve that.

  1. Positioning Your Pool

The first step in making your temporary pool look good is choosing the right location. Select a spot that gets a good balance of sun and shade throughout the day. This ensures the water stays at a comfortable temperature and also protects swimmers from excessive sun exposure. Additionally, placing your pool on a flat, stable surface away from trees and shrubs minimises debris falling into the water and makes maintenance easier.

  1. Creating a Pool Deck or Surround

Building a temporary deck or surround can drastically improve the look of your temporary pool. Materials like wooden pallets, non-slip outdoor carpeting, or interlocking patio tiles can be used to create a stylish and safe poolside area. Not only does this add to the aesthetic appeal, but it also prevents dirt and grass from being tracked into the pool.

  1. Landscaping Around the Pool

Integrating your pool with the surrounding landscape can transform your backyard into a picturesque retreat. Planting ornamental grasses, flowers, or even small shrubs around the pool area adds colour, texture, and privacy. Consider using potted plants for flexibility; they can be moved around to change the look or to make room when necessary.

  1. Adding Lighting

Proper lighting can make your temporary pool area look magical at night. Solar-powered lights, waterproof LED strips, and floating pool lights are great options that can enhance safety and create a cosy, ambient atmosphere. Strategically place lights around the pool area to highlight landscaping features or illuminate walkways.

  1. Incorporating Shade Structures

To ensure your pool area is enjoyable at all hours, consider adding shade structures. Umbrellas, canopies, or even a temporary gazebo can provide much-needed relief from the sun while adding an element of style. Choose colours and materials that complement your overall design theme to create a cohesive look.

How to make a temporary pool look good

  1. Accessorising with Outdoor Furniture

Comfortable and stylish outdoor furniture can elevate the look of your temporary pool area. Waterproof loungers, outdoor rugs, and accent tables not only provide convenience but also contribute to the pool’s aesthetic appeal. opt for furniture that matches your style, whether it’s modern, rustic, or tropical, to create an inviting lounge area for relaxation and entertainment.

  1. Adding Fun and Functional Features

Water features like floating fountains or inflatable slides add a fun element to your pool while enhancing its appearance. Additionally, practical accessories like a pool cover can keep the water clean and also serve as a safety feature.

  1. Maintaining Water Quality and Clarity

A clean pool is a beautiful pool. Regular maintenance, including vacuuming the bottom, skimming the surface, and maintaining proper chemical levels, is essential to keep the water sparkling and inviting. A well-maintained pool not only looks better but is also healthier and more enjoyable to use.

  1. Personalising with Decor

Finally, adding personal touches can make your temporary pool area feel unique and welcoming. Outdoor cushions, waterproof bean bags, or even a small outdoor bar can add character and functionality to your poolside space. Decorative elements like pool floats, garden statues, or a mural painted on a surrounding fence can also add a playful or artistic touch.

Get to designing!

Making a temporary pool look good involves a combination of practical and decorative efforts. By carefully selecting the pool’s location, enhancing its surroundings with decking, landscaping, and lighting, and adding personal touches through furniture and decor, you can create a beautiful and enjoyable outdoor living space. Remember, the goal is to create an area that reflects your personal style and meets your relaxation and entertainment needs. With a little creativity and effort, your temporary pool can become the centrepiece of your summer fun.

**PLEASE NOTE: It is important to check with your local council/government to see rules and regulations around pools. It is also important to check with the manufacturer of the pool for recommended procedures regarding function, warranty etc.**

 

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Gardening

A Guide to Raised Garden Bed Covers

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A DIY Raised Garden Bed Covers

A Guide to Raised Garden Bed Covers

 

Raised garden beds have become increasingly popular for their convenience, improved soil quality, and aesthetic appeal. But what happens when the elements threaten your precious seedlings and flourishing vegetables? Enter the raised garden bed cover, a versatile tool offering protection and extending your growing season.

Why Cover Your Raised Bed?

Several factors make raised bed covers valuable additions to your gardening arsenal:

  • Climate control:Covers can shield your plants from harsh weather, including intense sunlight, heavy rain, hail, and even frost. This allows you to extend your growing season, especially in areas with unpredictable climates.
  • Pest protection:Bird netting and insect mesh covers keep unwanted critters at bay, safeguarding your crops from birds, insects, and other hungry visitors.
  • Weed suppression:By blocking sunlight, covers can prevent weed seeds from germinating and established weeds from stealing nutrients and water from your plants.
  • Moisture retention:Covers can help retain moisture in the soil, reducing the need for frequent watering, especially during hot and dry periods.
  • Heat control:Some covers can trap heat, creating a mini-greenhouse effect that can be beneficial for early season growth or warm-loving plants.

Choosing the Right Cover: A Material Matchmaker

The ideal cover depends on your specific needs and the challenges you face:

  • Clear plastic:Excellent for creating a mini-greenhouse effect, protecting from frost, and extending the season. However, it can trap too much heat in summer and requires ventilation to prevent plants from burning.
  • Row covers:Lightweight and breathable, these fabric covers protect against frost, light rain, and pests. They are ideal for early season protection and extending the harvest.
  • Insect netting:This fine mesh allows light and water to pass through while keeping insects at bay. It’s perfect for protecting fruits, vegetables, and herbs from pesky insects.
  • Bird netting:A larger mesh designed to deter birds from feasting on your fruits and berries. It’s essential for protecting vulnerable crops like blueberries, strawberries, and cherries.
  • Shade cloth:Provides protection from intense sunlight, particularly beneficial for heat-sensitive plants or during scorching summers. Choose a shade percentage based on your climate and plant needs.
A DIY Raised Garden Bed Covers

A DIY Raised Garden Bed Cover

DIY or Store-Bought? Crafting Your Cover Solution

You have two main options for acquiring a raised bed cover:

DIY:

  • Pros:Affordable, customisable to your specific bed size and needs.
  • Cons:Requires time, effort, and potentially specific skills. Materials like PVC pipe, fabric, and netting need to be sourced and assembled.

Store-bought:

  • Pros:Convenient, readily available in various sizes and materials.
  • Cons:Can be more expensive, and finding the perfect size and material might be challenging.

Tips for Using Your Cover Effectively

  • Ventilation is key:Especially with clear plastic covers, ensure proper ventilation to prevent overheating and condensation buildup. Open the cover during the day and close it at night for temperature control.
  • Secure it tight:Use stakes, weights, or ties to secure the cover and prevent wind damage.
  • Easy access:Choose a cover that allows for easy access to your plants for watering, weeding, and harvesting. Consider zippered sections or removable panels.
  • Clean and store:Regularly clean your cover to remove debris and prevent disease spread. Store it properly during off-seasons.

Cover up and save your garden!

With the right cover and proper care, you can transform your raised garden bed into a thriving haven for your plants, no matter the season throws your way. So, cover up, nurture your harvest, and enjoy the bounty of your garden throughout the year!

 

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Gardening

Tips for Successful Summer Gardening

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Summer gardening

Tips for Successful Summer Gardening

 

The sun beats down, temperatures soar, and visions of wilting plants might cloud your green-thumbed dreams. But hold on, fellow gardener! Summer doesn’t have to spell doom for your beloved blooms. With a dash of strategic planning and a sprinkle of clever tricks, you can transform your summer garden into a vibrant oasis, bursting with life even when the mercury rises.

Watering Wisdom: Become a Hydrating Hero

Imagine your plants as parched travellers stranded in a desert. Your watering can is their lifeline! Deep watering in the cool mornings or evenings, when the sun’s rays are less intense, allows thirsty roots to guzzle up the good stuff before it evaporates. Think of it as a refreshing oasis after a long, hot journey.

Remember, target the base of your plants, not their leaves, to avoid fungal foes lurking in the shadows. Consider a drip irrigation system or soaker hoses – they’re like automated hydration stations, delivering targeted nourishment while saving precious water.

Mulch Magic: Unleash the Soil Superhero

Picture a cool, comfy blanket for your soil. That’s the magic of mulch! A layer of organic mulch – straw, bark, compost, your pick! – acts like a superhero shield, protecting your precious plants from the sun’s scorching rays.

It retains moisture like a built-in water reservoir, keeping weeds at bay and regulating temperature, creating a haven for happy roots. Think of it as a self-sustaining ecosystem for your plants to thrive in. Replenish your mulch regularly (aim for 2-4 inches thick) to maintain its superhero status and keep your soil cool, calm, and collected.

Plant Power: Choose Your Heat-Resistant Champions

Not all heroes wear capes – some wear heat-resistant leaves! When selecting your summer recruits, choose plants that revel in the sun’s warm embrace. Succulents, with their plump water-storing leaves, are natural drought-busters. Drought-resistant perennials, like lavender and sedum, add pops of colour and require minimal attention.

And don’t forget the heat-loving veggies – tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants will reward you with delicious summer harvests. Consider local native plants too – they’re often climate superheroes, adapted to handle the heat with ease. Remember, research is your secret weapon! Pick the perfect players for your soil, sunlight, and water availability to create a winning team.

Summer gardening

With a dash of strategic planning and a sprinkle of clever tricks, you can transform your summer garden into a vibrant oasis.

Shade Strategies: Outsmart the Scorching Sun

The midday sun can be brutal, even for our plant friends. Offer them relief with shade cloth or temporary structures – think of them as sun umbrellas for your leafy companions. Taller plants and strategically placed potted ones can become natural sunshades, creating a cooler oasis for everyone.

But remember, the sun moves throughout the day, so adjust your shading game accordingly. Your plants still need some sunlight, so strike a balance between protection and photosynthesis.

Early Bird Gets the Blooms

Outsmart the heat by gardening early! Tackle your tasks in the cool mornings or evenings, when both you and your plants feel more energised. This timing trick not only reduces stress but also allows for better water absorption. Imagine it as your secret training session, giving your plants a head start before the day’s heat arrives.

Bonus tip: Plan your garden layout for optimal airflow. Proper spacing between plants prevents heat build-up and keeps diseases at bay, creating a healthy and thriving environment.

Summer Gardening: Challenge Accepted!

Remember, with a little planning and these handy tips, your summer garden doesn’t have to succumb to the sun’s glare. By becoming a watering hero, unleashing the power of mulch, choosing heat-resistant plants, offering strategic shade, and planning your activities like a pro, you can create a vibrant, flourishing haven that thrives even in the hottest months.

So go forth, embrace the challenge, and let your green thumb shine under the summer sun! Remember, even small changes can make a big difference. Experiment, have fun, and enjoy the satisfaction of nurturing life during the hottest season. Happy summer gardening!

It is important to be safe in the sun! If you feel unwell or medical issues occur, please contact Triple Zero (000)

 

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