Garden Mailboxes, Re-Purposed Mailboxes

Garden Mailboxes

Old metal mailboxes hold up well under all kinds of conditions and have many outdoor uses, where you need storage that stays dry.

I use an old one on the corner of my garden, for holding my gardening hand tools, twine, gloves, and other little miscellany that I want to keep handy while I’m in the garden.  It’s not a new idea, but it’s a good one that bears repeating!

Garden Mailboxes, Re-Purposed Mailboxes

I also found an old wooden stand that was in really tough shape, but flipped upside down, holds my rakes and shovels as well!

Garden Mailboxes, Re-Purposed Mailboxes

The mailbox cost $4.00 at a thrift store and the stand I picked up for free during Clean-Up Week in our town.

Having tools handy during gardening saves a lot of steps, time and aggravation.

Hope you find this little time-saving tip helpful!


Sharing Plants

Sharing Plants and Saving Money

If you’ve had perennials for any length of time, you know that dividing them helps them stay healthy and grow vigorously.  Plus, you get extras to transplant, sell or share!

I always love getting mature plants from people.  Mature plants from divisions are more fun than what you can get in the greenhouses, because there is always a story that goes with them!  I love hearing how old plants are, where they came from and how they got to where they are today.

Sharing Plants

I have also found that people who sell or give away their extra plants are also willing to give a little growing advice along with them!

Last fall, I divided some irises that I originally dug from the homestead where I grew up.  I’ve been growing them for over 20 years and they have followed us where ever we’ve have gone.  Those Irises have grown in Minnesota, North Dakota, and soon some of them will be growing in Iowa!

Sharing Plants and Saving Money

Mom, me and the Irises!

As you can see, the irises have been growing for many years!

I have the opportunity now, to share some of my Iris plants with my daughter!  She’ll be getting some of the Irises that her grandmother grew, plus some Day Lilies that I got from a friend about 15 years ago.


  • Established plants that have a history of growing well
  • Enjoying the company of other gardeners
  • Passing along plants from the family
  • Growing tips come with the plants
  • In this case, the plants are free!

Large buckets of plants are usually $15.00 + and I’m giving my daughter 6 buckets of a variety of large, healthy plants that are homegrown and mother approved. 😉  She’s saving lots of money!

MONEY SAVED $90.00!!


Make Your Own Fish Fertilizer

How to Make Fish Fertilizer

Fish fertilizer is fairly easy to make.

There are 6 steps, ranging from easy to queasy, but in the end, you will  have a super food that your plants will LOVE!

Make Your Own Fish Fertilizer

Here are the steps:

  1. Dig some worms, then grab your fishing rod and a bucket with a tight fitting lid. If you don’t fish, find someone who does and ask for their left-over fish guts.  Yes, they will look at you like you’re crazy, but carry on and skip to step 4.
  2. When you get to your favorite lake, put some lake water in your bucket, catch 3 or 4 fish (Sunfish work well in our area) and add them to the water in your bucket.  If you catch some weeds, like I usually do, put those in too.
  3. Enjoy the rest of the day fishing, listening to the birds and feeling the sun and breeze on your face.
  4. Go home with your fish bucket.
  5. Here comes the queasy part…grab a hatchet and chop up your fish.  I take the fish out of the bucket place them on the ground, near my compost heap and chop away.  Once you get past the first fish, the rest won’t seem so bad…..until you get splashed with fish guts.  Might want to wear goggles.  I’m just saying.
  6. Shovel your chopped fish back into your bucket.

Now we’re ready for the Fish Fertilizer Recipe

  • Lake water (about a gallon)
  • 3 or 4 fresh chopped fish
  • Browns…leaves, dead grass, sawdust (enough to soak up the water)
  • Molasses…about 1 cup (helps the mix ferment and keeps the stink down)
  • Epsom Salt…2 tablespoons to add some magnesium
  • Let it ferment for about 1 month, stirring or shaking the mix every 3 days.
  • After a month, it will be ready to use as a tea.
  • To make a tea, put 1 part fertilizer to 5-6 parts water in a bucket or watering can.  Let this set for about a week, stirring every day.  When you are ready to apply the fish fertilizer tea, water your plants a bit first, (just in case the tea is a little too strong) and then apply the fertilizer to the base of your plants.

After that, just set back and watch your plants grow!


  • Day spent fishing
  • Saving money
  • Making your own instead of buying
  • Self-sufficiency achievement points

You’ll be glad you went fishing in order to Make Your Own Fish Fertilizer and you’ll have saved a lot of money!  32 ounces of fish fertilizer sells for about $15.00.  You’ll have a gallon (128 ounces) for the cost of a cup of molasses and some Epsom salt!

Money Saved $59.50!


Free Food, Frugal Living, Simple Life

Free Food

It’s always exciting when March rolls around, because that’s when I get serious about starting my seedlings!

Of course the whole process starts around Christmas time, when that first seed catalog arrives in the mail and my eyes get all big, looking at delicious varieties of veggies and colorful flowers.  In no time at all, I have picked my seeds I want to order and I have figured out my garden plan.

Then…..I wait.

Although the time between planning and action is excruciatingly long, there are a few uplifting moments along the way.  Getting seed orders in the mail, for instance.   A box containing packets of seeds will illicit squeals and erratic dancing.  (I don’t care who sees it, I’m going to celebrate.)

This year, after the squealing and dancing, I set about playing with my seed packets; putting them in stacks according to seedling start dates, cool season seeds, warm season seeds, etc.  While holding all this potential life in my hands, the idea came to me that I should start lots of seedlings and sell the extras to pay for my seed orders!

Now I know this isn’t rocket science, but I’ve always just started enough seedlings for my garden and a few to share with my daughter and son-in-law.  I’ve been quite shy about my seedlings being good enough to sell.  But, this year I’m going to hold my head up high and offer my extras for sale!

After finding all my seed starting supplies, deciding upon a pricing point and figuring out my break even point,  I decided I could utilize all my trays and even make a bit of a profit.  Which means:



With the exciting thought of free food from our garden this summer, I embarked on my plan:

I got my dirt out.

Free Food, Frugal Living, Simple Life

I always use dirt from my garden.  My soil is very healthy and I’ve never had problems getting my seeds to start by using it.  In the fall, I fill a bucket with soil and set it in a place that’s easy to get to when I need it for seedlings.  About a week before I want to plant, I bring the bucket inside so the soil can thaw.

I also got out my trusty seedling carts (aka Mid Century Metal Dining Carts).

Free Food, Frugal Living, Simple Life

These carts are just the right height for our windows, I can store extra gardening supplies on the shelves underneath and they are easy to move outside when I harden off the plants.   Nice way to re-purpose something, too! 😉

Then it’s time for the cells

Free Food, Frugal Living, Simple Life

I re-use cells and Styrofoam cups if I haven’t had any bug or disease problems in previous years.

Herbs are first on the list.  Later, I’ll start peppers, tomatoes and basil.

Herbs are first on the list, so I got cells ready according to my figuring I had done a month or two ago. I re-use cells and Styrofoam cups if I haven't had any bug or disease problems in previous years.

I got everything marked, planted, watered, and covered.

Free Food, Frugal Living, Simple Life

Free Food, Frugal Living, Simple Life

And now, once again….I wait.  😛

I’ll keep you updated on my project and I’ll also let you know around the end of May how my sales have turned out and if, indeed, we are getting free food from our garden this year.  Fingers crossed!

P.S.   I also did a little DIY fixing on one of my carts this year.  It was missing a wheel and I don’t have a replacement, so I went hunting in a junk drawer for something that would substitute for a wheel.  I found the insert of a donut cutter, some duct tape and a zip tie.  Problem solved!

DIY Fixes, Frugal Living, Simple Life DIY Fixes, Frugal Living, Simple Life

DIY Fixes, Frugal Living, Simple Life DIY Fixes, Frugal Living, Simple Life

Thanks for stopping by!