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The 15 Best Frugal Gardening Tips

by Tiffany in Gardening

best frugal gardening tipsSpring has somewhat sprung here in central Ohio. The sun is shining and the birds are singing. Yesterday a beautiful Cardinal was sitting in an evergreen tree right outside my bedroom window. I also have some rather ugly plastic flower arrangements hanging on my back porch that were there when we moved in. I don’t have a heart to remove them though because every spring a few finch families build nests in them. I have seen a lot of nesting activity this week.

I believe I am rethinking my thought that fall is the best season. I just didn’t appreciate spring until I lived in an area with harsh and dreary winters. I am ready for spring and for planting season. My dining room is overrun with seedlings just waiting to make their debut outdoors so I have gardening on the brain.

I am not the only one because the local gardening centers and nurseries are getting new life too. I saw a gal drop a huge chunk of change on gardening stuff the other day and it got me thinking about how gardening doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are a few ideas for frugal gardeners:

1. Grow Your Own Plants from Seed – Seeds are cheaper than nursery grown seedlings so growing your own will save you some green. Local seed exchange programs and community gardens might also provide you with free seeds.

2. Don’t buy peat pots when you can use your leftover toilet paper rolls, eggshells, or newspapers for free.

3. Instead of buying containers for container gardening why not recycle household stuff wheel barrel planterlike old boots, buckets, baskets, metal tins, old toys, apple barrels, wheel barrels, broken plastic tubs, etc. A few years back (in Arizona) I took two old wheel barrels and stacked them on top of each other in my front yard and planted in them. The result was so gorgeous that a picture of it ended up in a small local newspaper.

4. Make your own pinwheels. I use pinwheels in my garden to detract critters and while they are not that expensive (usually only 1.00 a piece at the store) I can save $10.00 bucks or so and have a nice time crafting with my kids by making my own…and they aren’t plastic…which is a plus. I just love the look of pinwheels blowing around in the garden, it is lovely. Ribbon attached to a stake works good too.

5. Look for open bags of soil at your local gardening center and seedlings that are past their prime. You can usually get some steep discounts on those items. Ask the cashier if they can cut you a deal.

6. Re-purpose broken watering cans by using them as planters or by cutting off the spout and using them as refill containers for bird feeders.

7. Do you or any of your neighbors have fish tanks? When it comes time to clean the tanks use the water to give your plants a tonic they will love.

8. Use a plastic garbage can to collect rain water by putting it under a drainage pipe. Then just scoop out water as needed instead of reaching for the hose to water plants.

9. Use kitchen scraps to make your own compost and put banana peels under your roses to give them a potassium boost.

10. Cut down on fanciful flowers and plant some drought tolerant plants instead like one of my personal favorites, hens-and-chicks.

11. Grow food and you won’t to buy as much at the grocery store! You can even grow your beauty products.

12. Put old saucer or plates under your pots to collect water run-off.

13. Line your pots or containers with 6-8 sheets of newspaper to help them retain moisture so they won’t need to be watered as much.

14. When it rains scoop up your indoor plants and set them outside for a little while to get a drink.

15. Shop for gardening tools, containers, and lawn and patio furniture at yard sales,  garage sales, and barn sales.

Do you have any frugal gardener ideas to share? I would love to hear your ideas!

  • Rebecca

    These tips are very inspiring! I planted parsley one year and harvested many of the seeds once the plants went to seed (after two whole years). I am planning on putting those seeds in the ground soon. I’ve never tried planting seeds I’ve gathered myself . . . I hope it works. The great thing about parsley in a mild climate is that you can use it every day for two years.

    Rebecca’s last blog post..Product Giveaway for Your Toxic Cleanser Confessions

  • Great tips! I’m way up in Northern Michigan and spring seems like a month or more away!

    Sommer’s last blog post..A Green Hour

  • Great ideas! This has put me in the mood for gardening- I just need it to stop raining here in Seattle!

  • Gift of Green

    Great tips that we will refer back to this summer! Make sure that mosquitoes don’t use it as a stagnant place to lay their eggs – we have a HUGE problem with West Nile Virus in our area and cannot have any uncovered still water. We have a lid on our rain barrel and the drain pipe goes into a hole on the top.

  • Gift of Green

    By “it” I meant the garbage can for collection rain water. Sorry!

  • What a great list! I love gardening but I have a black thumb. Gardening has personal meaning to me so it’s something that I keep trying to get better at. Can you tell me what the name of the plant is in the last picture? Thanks!

    Joanne’s last blog post..Why Make A Homemade Gift Basket?

  • I am also the frugal type. Loved your blog !! We have winter rainfall with no frost in winter but then we have hot dry scorching summers. Nothing grows in summer. The succulents just hang on. Our winter and that is our growing season is also starting now. I am itching to do some gardening. We have a succulent garden with lilies, oxalis, mesembs and aloes blooming in our winter.
    Enjoy your gardening !

  • Thanks for the great post. I used this post as a starting point for one of my own.

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  • deb(bie debbie doo)

    Great tips – thanks for sharing – this year i’ve got a raised bed and am trying again at this gardening thing – i really want this to work!

  • Lynn from

    WOW!!! This is the best compilation of frugal gardening tips I’ve seen! (And I’m pretty cheap, so that’s saying a lot!) Plus I love the links to the crafts…awesome, awesome, you just are the blogging queen! :)

    I can’t believe I never thought of taking indoor plants out for a drink…that one I’m going to pass on for sure, plus re-using containers for plants…just some great stuff here, Tiffany!

    Thanks for this great contribution to the Green Moms Carnival!

  • I am saving my own seeds for the first time. When I harvested last year, I rinsed and dried the seeds and then stored them in paper envelopes in my garage. Seed saving is free, and it preserves genetic diversity, to boot.

  • Lisa @Retro Housewife Goes Green

    Thanks for all the tips, Tiffany! It’s 50 and rainy right now but I hope to get some things planted soon!!

  • Great post!!!!

  • Deb

    Love these! Especially the lining of containers with newspaper! Excellent!

  • Deb

    Love these! Especially the lining of containers with newspaper! Excellent!