Ask Garden Eats, Gifts That Keep On Giving
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Ask Garden Eats: College Student Seeks Foliage

Q: Just moved into my first college apartment. Yeah me! I’m on a tight budget; after my bed and furniture, I’ve got little left to spare and have invested that in herbs and edible plants. I want to decorate and plants are my thing. Do you know any discounted ways to find plants?

– Brea, University of California at Davis

Garden Eats: I love my house plants; don’t know what I’d do without them, so I feel ya on this one! Do I know a discounted place? All the stores are about the same so go for the gusto if you’re buying!

Perch Plant Pod

If you decide you’re going to squeeze out a few bucks to purchase plants, go for a bigger potted plant that can be broken into smaller plants, will thrive in any corner and a variety of lighted conditions. Phellodendrons are of course one of the best all around to easily accomplish this (and for those whose thumb is still a lighter shade of green). Eventually when somebody asks you what you’d like for a gift, tell them a nice hanging pot!

Free Foliage

Ask and You Shall Receive

You could save that extra cash by turning your thrifty side into a polite and smiley seeker of free foliage. You’re a college student right? I’m sure you’re using your aunt’s hand-me-down dishes and your grandma’s sliver ware, so why not ask for plant trimmings too!

Put together a nice little note or email to your green-thumbed friends and relatives asking for just one or two clippings of their house-plants to populate your new window-sill (when you pick up your plants, be sure to tell auntie how you’ll be thinking of her every time you look at your new fern). Ask your mom to start saving jars to double as holding vessels until your new plants root and are ready for some soil.

Gentle Rinse Look for Bugs

Outdoor Indoor

Some folks are cautious about bringing the great outdoors into their house because of bugs, but with a little care, you can populate your pad with some around the property plants!

Case grannie’s yard, look at your new property and ask mom or dad if it’s cool before uprooting.

Tips for Bringing the Outdoors Inside

  • Insects. Insects love making their home inside stems, flowers, the underside of leaves and along root systems. Be sure to take care of your newly uprooted friend by returning their buggy friends to the great outdoors from whence they came. I gently rinse my plants over a tiny-holed colander to be sure I don’t wash any displaced insects down the drain. If any are left after the plant shower, just toss them back into the garden.
  • Skip plants with chewed up leaves or whose leaves appear to be ill. Whatever their illness is, it’s likely to spread to your other plants.

Happy Planting!

This entry was posted in: Ask Garden Eats, Gifts That Keep On Giving


C H R I S T I N E Dionese, co-founder of flavor ID and Garden Eats is an integrative health & food therapy specialist, medical & food journalist. She has dedicated her career to helping others understand the science of happiness and its powerful effects on everyday human health by harnessing the power of the epigenetic landscape. To balance the more serious side of her work, she loves to concoct, write about and connect people through food & drink. You can check out her latest work at The Chalkboard Magazine, The Fullest and Rochester's Boomtown Table. Christine lives, works and plays between Southern California & Upstate New York.

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