Want to start a garden but want to do it frugally? These tips for gardening on a budget will help you get started without spending a lot of money. This is a guest post from Nancy, from the former blog Surviving and Thriving on Pennies.
Most people think you need to invest a lot to start a garden but that’s not true. I grew up gardening with my grandmother but when I started my own family I literally had to start from scratch.
Over the years I have learned ways to get around buying anything and doing most things myself. Here are a few tips to help you get on your own journey to gardening.
- Plan- After August most stores are starting to clear out their gardening items and get in seasonal items. Wait as long as you can then hit every store you can for anything you need. Seeds can be stored for up to 3 years so buy them while they are cheap. Store in an airtight bag in a dark place or even in the freezer. It’s a great time to get that hose you couldn’t afford, rain barrel you drooled over and that special tool you need.
- Search- Yard/garage sales are great places to find anything garden related. I get most of my tools, pots, and garden items from these places for less than a buck usually and sometimes even free. Don’t forget to haggle and hit those free boxes.
- Spread the word- Tell all your friends or family that you’re looking for any garden items that anyone is giving away. Tell them on all your social sites as well. It’s also a great way to barter. For example, let’s say you grew way too many green beans and need to get them off your hands. Simply tell them you have a surplus of beans and want to trade with another gardener. I get so much beautiful produce this way and it’s completely free.
- Get creative- Instead of buying tomato racks build one yourself using sticks and string. Need more growing space? Plant things where you normally would not. My thing this year is to mix my flowers with my produce. Don’t have a pot? Simply buy soil in bags, lay on the ground, poke holes in the bottom and slits on the front then plant your seeds. Have a friend giving away wood from a project? Use it to make a garden bed. You get the idea.
- Compost- Starting your own compost is the easiest thing to do and it’s completely free. Just google easily to make compost and make one that fits your property. This soil will be better than anything you can buy and is completely free! Many chain coffee places offer free coffee grounds to the public so go ahead and toss those in. Have a fireplace? Toss in your fireplace ashes (completely cooled). Just remember not to add weeds, animal waste or dairy. You can add pretty much anything else.
- Learn- Watch your garden space before you actually start your garden. Watch where the sun hits, where the sade hits, and try to come up with a plan of where you want to grow things. Plant your seeds according to the requirements or you will get no produce in the end. Hit the library and internet so you can learn the tips and tricks to gardening.
- Have fun- If you have kids try to plant fun and interesting plants. Maybe grow burgundy beans instead of green beans. They turn green when cooked. Kids think its magic and will eat it no matter what, which makes parents happy. Let kids pick out things they want to grow because they are more likely to want to eat that item. Try planting in unusual things. Boots, wagons, and pretty much anything that will hold soil.
- Be kind- Avoid plastic at all cost, do not use pressure treated wood, and try to be as organic as possible. You have to remember that your feeding your family this produce. Plastics can leach toxic chemicals into the soil, chemicals in treated wood leach into your produce, and any chemicals you spray onto your plants will be leached into your plants. The internet and books are the best places to find organic alternatives. It’s not only good for your family but its good for the earth. Be kind and tread lightly.
Looking for more frugal gardening tips? Check out Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening: A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Healthy Garden.