How to Garden on a Budget: 10 Tips to Save You Money in the Garden
Perennials: Buy Them Once and Enjoy Them for Years
Perennials are beneficial to the gardener's wallet three ways:
- All you have to do is plant them once and they keep coming back year after year.
- A lot of perennials can be divided at home into more than one plant to put into the soil.
- Fruits and vegetables from perennial plants are usually the pricier options in the supermarket.
Some examples of perennials that will save you a ton of money are:
- Berry plants
Plant Self Sowing Annuals
There are a lot of annuals that self sow very prolifically. All you need to do is let them go to seed and they will be there again next year. Some examples of these money savers are:
- Mustard Greens
Recycle Your Used Kitchen Containers
Containers that have held chemicals or poisons shouldn't be considered, but any plastic container that you can save, can be upcycled into a planter or tool for your garden. Below are some examples of containers and what they can be turned into, but it's just the tip of the iceberg. Do a little research, and get creative with it and you won't just want to be saving your own. You will go looking for more.
- Milk jugs can be made into scoops, brooms, cloches, terrariums, planters, and watering cans.
- Soda and water bottles make great self watering containers, cordage, cloches, rainwater collection vessels, and funnels.
- If you are throwing away yogurt, and pudding containers you are throwing away free seed starting pots, and slug traps.
- Plastic clam shell containers from the deli and produce departments make great seed germinating chambers, and seed storage.
Recycle Used Nursery Pots
Save the containers that your plants come in. Clean them with hot, soapy water and let them dry completely before using them.
If you keep an eye out, and ask nicely you can also sometimes be able to get nursery pots from your local garden center. Late in the season they still might even have plants in them if you play your cards right. Just keep an eye on the plants that have been on clearance for a long time. It would surprise you what people will just give you so they don't have to deal with it.
Collect Free Organic Waste
Free organic materials are the most overlooked resources by gardeners. They are literally everywhere. It's just a matter of collecting and using them. Here are some examples of where you can find these priceless materials so you can start to use them today:
- Aside from raking and collecting your own leaves, you could also ask your neighbors or family members. Leaves are great additions to compost, and make an excellent mulch to suppress weed growth.
- Wood chips may be easily obtained by going to your local municipal collection site. Also make it a point to ask any tree trimming companies in your area. The ones in your specific area might not be free, but a few dollars for a dump truck load isn't too shabby.
- Cut down on your trash bills by saving fruit and vegetable peelings, paper, newspaper, cardboard, coffee grounds and tea grounds. They are all excellent additions to a compost pile.
- Ask for coffee and tea grounds from your local restaurants and coffee shops. Most will say yes if you provide collection containers and pick them up regularly. Grounds are an excellent source of nitrogen to top dress plants with.
Regrow Your Produce
Cut all but about an inch of the green part of your green onions, or leeks, and use it for your recipe. Then take the root end that is left over and plant it with the root end down in the soil. The part that you cut off will regrow and regrow every time you harvest it.
This can be done with other vegetables too, such as celery, romaine lettuce, and bok choy, but those don't grow near as fast as green onions and leeks.
Shop at $1 Stores for Gardening Supplies
Shopping at the Dollar Tree
At the Dollar Tree packets of seeds can be bought every Spring and Summer for 25¢. Granted, there aren't a ton of seeds in the packets, but enough viable seed to produce a decent vegetable garden for a family of four or five. They also carry herb seeds, and flower seeds.
The quality of the tools at the dollar tree is shockingly good. They carry gardening gloves, small hand tools like cultivators and garden trowels, jute twine, thermometers, potting containers, and a lot more that is worth checking out.
Shopping at Dollar General
The gardening supply section at Dollar General has a little bit more variety in my opinion. The same 25¢ seed packets can be bought, but thy also offer slightly larger packets of some vegetable and flower seeds for 50¢. The quantity in the seed packets still isn't all that much, but for a couple of quarters, is well worth it.
The tool selection at Dollar General is much the same as Dollar Tree. They do however, offer some full sized tools, larger capacity containers, and name brand soils.
Shop around. You may have different $1 stores in your area with different selections that could potentially save you quite a bit of money.
Shop Yard Sales and Second Hand Stores for Gardening Supplies
This one is a bit of a wildcard on the list. There's no telling what you are going to find when shopping for second hand items. I've seen hand tools, wheelbarrows, pruning tools, worm farms, composting drums, planting containers and starter pots, and tons more. Don't be afraid to haggle either. These people want rid of this stuff or it wouldn't be for sale.
Start Your Own Seeds
This one is a no-brainer. You don't need any elaborate setups, or expensive growing lights to start your own seeds. You just need some containers, soil, time , and creativity. If you have a larger garden then doing this could potentially save you hundreds of dollars.
Start Small And Pace Yourself
It's hard to convince yourself that you don't need everything in the gardening department. Buy your seeds as you need them to stagger your plantings. This will spread out your, plantings, your harvests, and your money and help you to better figure out exactly what you need, and what you just want.