Planting a backyard vegetable garden is a terrific idea, but it can be a pricey. And time-consuming.

Today’s first reader has a great tip: Let the master gardeners foot the bill and do all the work while you have a laid-back summer. Then show up to get in on the harvest—all perfectly legal and quite ethical, too.

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CHEAPER THAN A GARDEN

I used to attempt to grow my own vegetables, but I’ve never enjoyed it. And it can very exepensive. Here’s what works for me: I pick my own produce at a local farm for steep discounts on bulk fruits and vegetables.

A few weeks ago, I picked 10 pounds of green beans at $.90/lb. (total: $9.50), and 40 pounds of beets at $.35 lb. (total: $14.00). I canned all of it, giving me 12 jars of fresh green beans and 21 jars of beets. I do this all spring and summer with everything from peaches, apples and berries to green beans and beets, and I end up with plenty to last through fall and winter. Johnette

STAIN CREAM

When a friend spilled cooking grease on her carpet, she tried everything to remove it. What finally worked was foam-type shaving cream. She spread it on over the grease stain and let it dry overnight. In the morning, she vacuumed it up and the grease stain was gone. I tried it myself and used a hair dryer to speed the drying process. Jean 

WINDSHIELD QUICK CLEAN

It’s super humid where I live, which means my car’s windshield fogs up on the inside in morning, which can be so annoying, Rather than wiping the windshield with a cloth, which streaks the glass, I keep a small squeegee in the side pocket of my front door. With a few wipes, the windshield becomes clear and clean at the same time. Lesa

 BASKETS OF NAPKINS

I like cloth napkins. We recently hosted a party and I needed more napkins than I had. My solution was to purchase mismatched, inexpensive cloth napkins at a thrift store. Then, I rolled them and arranged them in baskets. The napkins looked like colorful bouquets and were wonderfully festive! Sue

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