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Books – The Frugal Gardener

Editorial Reviews

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The Frugal Gardener should have a place on every serious gardener’s shelf, no matter what his or her budget. Catriona Tudor Erler has assembled a fantastic collection of suggestions for economical gardening strategies, covering everything from pruning-shear purchases to making the most of your plants. In this case, “economical” also translates to “environmentally sound,” as Erler’s recipes for do-it-yourself pest control rely on items like dish soap, garlic, and hot peppers.Separate chapters cover topics like cost-conscious plant choices and growing techniques, tool care, and inexpensive garden design. You won’t find wasted words in this book–every page is absolutely covered with quick suggestions, recipes, and planting charts. Some of her advice is deeply practical, such as 15 places to find free manure for mulching, but inexpensive doesn’t have to mean plain. Her suggestion for a topiary friend in a child’s play area is utterly adorable, and couldn’t be simpler: “use hedge shears to slice off anything that doesn’t look like a bunny, then keep the lines of the creation clear with an occasional haircut.” The illustration of a romantic patio provides real inspiration–just spread gravel along a path to an area under shady tree and add furniture and torch lights! But don’t think that saving money is always Erler’s main focus; she’s sure to point out that low-cost items may not be the best deal over the long haul and that sometimes it pays to invest in a pricier item. Buy this book as early in your gardening career as you can: it will easily pay for itself in your first season. –Jill Lightner

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