If your love for gardening is bigger than your budget, you are not alone. They say that money cannot buy happiness but it can buy plants and for many of us that is kinda, sorta, the same thing. Fear not though if your wallet cannot accommodate the love you have, there are ways around it.
A quick trip to your local nursery or garden center for plants and other supplies can add up to hundreds of dollars before you know it. Fortunately, you don’t need to sacrifice this month’s grocery budget in exchange for a bountiful harvest later. There are plenty of ways you can plant an amazing garden without breaking the bank.
Here are five money saving organic gardening tips to help you:
Tip #1: Make Your Own Garden Compost
A thriving organic garden needs excellent soil. This means amending the soil you have (cheaper that store bought soil and fertilizer) with high quality compost. Store bought compost is available but it is not as good as what you can do yourself and it is far more affordable to make your own nutrient-rich compost at home.
Simply add your organic kitchen scraps, grass clippings, fall leaves, and other suitable material to your compost heap and turn it every month or two to keep it aerated. Keep it moist while it “cooks” and let nature do the rest. Before you know it, you’ll have plenty of rich, dark organic compost to use in your garden.
For more details on creating your own high-quality compost at home, check out What Goes in a Compost Pile? and Are You Peeing on Your Compost? What could be cheaper than food scraps and your own urine?
Tip #2: Grow New Plants from Cuttings
Without question, buying new plants can get expensive. Fortunately, some garden favorites, such as rosemary, thyme, blueberries raspberries, blackberries, and grapes…to name a few, can be propagated by taking cuttings from the mature plants and rooting them in loose potting medium. Then, once the cuttings establish roots, you can plant the rooted cutting in your garden just as you would any other plant.
If you have a long enough growing season and the right kind of plants, this is a great way to build up your garden from just a few healthy plants. You may also need to feel comfortable asking friends, family, and strangers if you can borrow some cuttings. This process takes some time and effort, but it can definitely save you some cash.
Tip #3: Collect and Grow from Seeds and Scraps
Another money-saving tip is to collect and save seeds from your favorite organic heirloom vegetables from year to year. It’s easy to harvest seeds from many popular veggies, including cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers. However, you’ll want to do some online research on each type of seed you collect to learn how to properly store and prepare them for planting the following year. You can also grow food from scraps. Cut the bottom off of a head of lettuce or a bunch of celery and you can regrow them in a shallow bowl of water.
Tip #4: Participate in Seed Swaps
Another fun and easy way to save money on your organic vegetable garden is to host a seed swap with your garden-loving friends and family members. Everyone brings their extra seeds and trades them for something else they want. This is a fun way to share your extra seeds with others while gaining interesting new varieties for your own garden.
Tip #5: Check Local Selling Boards and Classifieds
I know it sounds weird but check Craigslist and other online marketplaces and classifieds. Right now in my area there are Black Eyed Susan and strawberry plants for $1, blackberry bushes for $5, and decent size tomato and pepper seedlings for $2 each. On Facebook I also saw a local man selling his tomato seedling for .50 cents each. You can find all sorts of plants for cheap if you keep checking online.