Tara Crooks
Limitless Contributor

At the Crooks house it's Permanent Change of Station (PCS) time. We just got back from Texas to see our new house. The first thing I thought of when we pulled around the corner to see it is that it lacks curb appeal. Top of my list once our furniture hits the floor from the moving truck: plants! No matter where we live I always love it when you pull into a neighborhood and see the colors of nature popping out of the dirt. It's interesting to see what grows in different regions.


I love driving around the installations and neighborhoods and seeing all of the vibrant choices that families make to brighten up their little corner of the Earth. Some are traditional, some fun, some monochromatic and some very colorful.


For most military families, gardening means planting in containers, because installation housing typically doesn't offer much in the way of ground gardens. For some, though, they're afforded some nice yard space in which to express themselves through their gardening choices.


Either way you choose (in a garden or in containers), it is fun to create your own personal flower or fruit and vegetable footprint for your home. Let's face it, gardening is a great hobby for people of any age. There are many incentives for the gardener such as the visualization of a goal, the aroma of the soil and plants, fresh air and plenty of exercise.


Tips for Making Gardening Fun

  • Involve your whole family in the selection of plants, the work, and the reward.
  • Give each person their own "space" and allow them to plant their favorite thing.
  • Don't limit yourself to the standard. Get creative! I am a BIG fan of Pinterest for ideas.


Tips for Frugal Gardening

  • Growing fresh herbs versus using store-bought will save you a ton!
  • Look at your grocery bill and find the most expensive fruits and vegetables you frequently buy. Grow those!
  • Spend money up front on good garden soil. It will save you in fertilizer and weed-killing costs in the end.
  • Lay down cardboard on the bottom of your flower beds to kill the grass and keep out weeds. It decomposes and provides compost and food for worms.
  • When possible, start your plants from seeds, which are much cheaper.
  • Most nurseries have a marked-down section full of off-season plants that have passed their prime. Find perennials that are worse for wear but not dead.
  • Many fancy, premium-priced plants can be reproduced easily through stem cuttings and root divisions. Ask friends or fellow gardeners if you can use starters off their plants or share yours with others.