Spring is here, and that means gardening is on the horizon. When the temperatures start warming up, and the last frost comes and goes, you can pull out your seeds and plants and start your garden for the season! If you plan to do a garden but want to do so on a budget, check out these great tips and tricks below. Gardening is a great way to enjoy fresh produce without having to go to the store, but it can be expensive over time. Implement these handy tips and keep your budget in check!
Effective and Easy Ways to Garden on A Budget
If you are new to gardening, my biggest tip is to start small. Whether you grow a few of your favorite fruits or veggies, or just want to plant a few stunning flowers in your front yard. Start small and grow with each year. Do not stress yourself out with having a massive garden the first year.
Vegetables and flowers are cheaper when you buy seeds instead of plants. Talk to any of your friends or neighbors and see what plants and flowers they have had success with in your area My neighbor has the most beautiful yard, so he would be the first person I would ask, before heading out to buy anything for my yard. Once you have decided what you want in your yard, head to the store and buy the seeds you need. Most seeds do not have to be started indoors to start their growth. You can almost always plant them straight in the garden which can be a huge time and money-saver.
However, if you are going to want to start your seeds indoors, save back any containers you use throughout the year. Whether it be cottage cheese, butter, or salad containers, they will all work great for tossing in some soil and plants to help those seeds sprout indoors. This will save you from having to buy seed starter packs. You can even cut down milk jugs or soda containers to make them work as a seed starter.
Swap Seeds With Other Gardeners
Chances are you will not use a whole packet of zucchini seeds in your garden or other flowers or produce. Consider talking to friends and neighbors and swap your half packages for one of their half packages. It helps cut down on money spent, and you still get a variety. Or, if you know a friend plants from seeds make a list of what you both plan to plant and then split the cost of the seeds and share.
Some plants like carrots, radishes, and other flowers and produce thrive in acidic soil. Save back your leftover coffee grounds and mix them into the soil a few days before you plant your seeds. If you are not a big coffee dribker, check with your local coffee shop to see if you can get their coffee grounds. I know a few of our local Starbucks locations gladly offer their customers their coffee grounds for this exact reason. Coffee grounds are a natural way to help fertilize the soil. There are also some other great hydroponic plant food. Just make sure the plants you are planting like the acidity or it could have an adverse reaction on their growth.
Homemade Weed Killer
Don’t spend $30 on a bottle of weed killer, make your own using vinegar. Simply take a spray bottle and pour in white distilled vinegar. Then spray this on any weeds that you find sprouting up. Try to do this on a hot sunny day, and you might have to repeat the process. Just make sure that you do not get this on your flowers or produce as it will kill them. This also works great for keeping the neighborhood deer out out of your garden. I love the family of deer that live in our neighborhood, but do not like them eating everything in my garden. I do not want to spray harsh chemicals on my garden, that might harm the deer, so I use vinegar instead.
Garage Sale and Thrift Stores
Be on the lookout when you go to garage sales this summer or head into a thrift store. Look for gardening supplies like tools, pots, etcetera . This is a great way to get the items you need without paying full price for them. If you buy planters, just make sure to wash them really well, just in case the plant that was previously in it had a fungus issue of some kind.
If you really plan to grow a garden each year, consider using homemade compost. You simply mix it around using peelings from fruit and vegetables, old flowers, grass clippings, egg shells, fallen leaves, sawdust, and small twigs. You then mix it all together and let it sit and compost. Then next year you will have homemade compost. I however, have a dog who eats everything (ask my vet), so I am unable to do this.
What are some gardening tips that you like to incorporate to save money each year?