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AARP Bulletin

99 Ways to Save

8 Money-Saving Garden Tips

Try these cheap tricks to keep weeds and pests away from your plants

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1. Bugs be gone

Forget expensive bug zappers and pesticides. Hang a fabric softener sheet adjacent to — but not touching — outdoor light fixtures to keep flying insects like mosquitoes and moths away. They hate the scents generated when the softener sheets are heated.

2. Keep deer away

Pouring or spraying a "rotten egg" cocktail around your plants will keep deer from eating them. Just mix six raw eggs in two gallons of water and let it sit outside for a week. The smell will keep Bambi at bay.

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3. Mow it yourself

Use a manual lawn mower instead of a power mower or hiring someone to do the work. It will save you money and give you some exercise.

4. Mooch off mulch

Looking for free garden mulch? Ask road crews clearing trees and brush if they'll dump their payload of wood chips at your place. They may be willing to off-load them rather than having to haul them away at the end of a job. Also check with your local government, which may shred discarded wood and wood products and give away the resulting mulch.

5. Cover up weeds

Save money on weed killers by spreading several layers of newspaper on the soil before mulching over them in the garden. This blocks weeds from growing and it helps retain moisture, so you save even more by needing to water plants less.

6. Bye-bye weeds (Part 2)

Avoid expensive and toxic weed killers by dousing weeds with scalding water left over after boiling potatoes or pasta.

7. Bye-bye weeds (Part 3)

Most weeds can also be killed with an inexpensive and eco-friendly spray made from 1 gallon of white distilled vinegar mixed with 1 ounce of liquid dish soap.

8. Fall planting

Most people get the urge to plant new flowers, trees and shrubs in the spring, but in most climates the best time to plant them is in the late summer or fall, when their chances of survival are better and when they're often marked down at nurseries.

Contributors to 99 Great Ways to Save 2013: Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, Tara Finnegan Coates, Joan Rattner Heilman, Stacy Julien, Megan Lawson, Marlece Lusk, Bob Lyford, Anne Masters, Jeff Yeager and AARP members like you.

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BACKYARD COMPOSTING: Composting, or turning your leftovers and unwanted organic matter into rich soil, is a great way to save money — and it's great for the environment!

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