Gardens can be a wonderful addition to your home. Not only do they provide you with fresh produce, but they can add a nice atmosphere to your back yard. Unfortunately, sometimes gardening can become expensive. Here are a few ways to create an inexpensive garden that will keep the overall costs down:
Start Plants from Seed
More often than not people will buy cuttings or full plants from a local greenhouse or store instead of starting their plants from seeds. Buying cuttings and fully grown plants can be expensive, especially if you’re buying a lot of them. While the price of seeds has risen in the past couple years, it’s still usually much less expensive to start plants from seeds.
One of the problems of planting a garden by seeds, however, is that sometimes you have more seeds than you need. Instead of throwing them away and wasting that money, consider trading seeds with a friend or joining a seed exchange. There are many seed exchanges out there, both online and in many cities and towns, that are dedicated to helping people trade common or rare seeds in an effort to avoid seed waste.
Take Cuttings from Your Own Plants
Instead of buying cuttings or plants for your garden, wait until your own plants have fully grown and make your own cuttings. There’s no need to go to the store to buy cuttings at some outrageous price when you have your own plants you can use. By taking a cutting from a plant you already own, you’re saving money and expanding your garden.
Host a Plant Swap
Have you started a garden and suddenly realized that you planted way too many tomato plants? Maybe you decided to grow some mint and then realized you rarely use that ingredient in your recipes. Hosting a plant swap is an easy and cheap way of getting new plants. You might find that you really want a basil plant that a friend, neighbor, or swap member is trying to give away. Plant swaps can save you money that you would have otherwise spent on new seeds or cuttings.
Make Your Own Compost Bin
Compost is a necessary part of gardening, but compost bins can sometimes cost hundreds of dollars! Gardening is expensive already, so there’s no need to pay even more just for a compost bin. Instead, make your own compost bin. You probably have enough materials around your house to make your own composter, so before you rush out to buy one from Home Depot or scroll through Amazon listings, see if you can make one at home to save yourself some money.
There are a lot of household items you can use in your garden. For instance, if you’re starting seeds there’s no need to go out and buy individual seed pots. Instead, start the seeds in an empty egg carton or in yogurt cups. A spare piece of plywood or metal piping could be used to mark plants or help them grow straight. Newspaper can be used for weed barriers. Bottles and milk jugs can protect seedlings during harsh weather.
Always be on the lookout for seed deals! Many plant seeds tend to be on sale after their growing season has passed. But if there’s a package of seeds marked down by 50%, buy it and wait until the right season rolls around. You don’t have to use whatever seeds you buy immediately. Take advantage of seasonal discounts to stock up on plants you may want to grow in the coming seasons.
If you pay a water bill, you known how expensive it can be to water the plants in your garden. Instead, find an alternate method of watering your plants such as using a rain barrel. When placed under gutters, rain barrels catch the water that would otherwise go into drains. Use that water to water your plants instead of pulling out the hose and watering can. It will help you to save a little money on your water bill.
Don’t Buy Expensive Equipment
There are plenty of stores that will try and sell you overpriced, trendy gardening equipment. Online stores and print catalogues will sometimes try and entice you into buying “the best new gardening tool”. Most of the time these items are nothing but junk. Do you really need to pay $40 for a pair of top of the line gardening gloves? Besides, if you’re on a budget you can find plenty of well cared for gardening tools online or at yard sales.
Only Plant What You’ll Eat
Sometimes people can go a little overboard when they get involved in a new project. If you’re not going to eat certain vegetables, don’t plan them! If no one in your family likes cucumbers then there’s no need for you to start growing some. That only leads to a wasting money and food. Instead concentrate on only growing what you know you’ll eat.
(Photo courtesy of sscornelius)