Save Money in the Garden With These 10 Tips
Posted on August 21 2019
If money grew on trees, then everyone would garden. But since it doesn’t, the rest of us need to find ways to make our favorite hobby a lot more budget-friendly.
The following ten tips may help your dollar stretch in the garden by encouraging resourcefulness and strategic planting. Read on to green your thumb and hopefully, your wallet.
1. Make Your Own Compost
An easy way to supplement your plants that is also cost effective is by making your own compost. Don’t let this process scare you. A great place to start is by taking an empty bin and collecting fruit, vegetable and newspaper scraps as well as things like coffee grounds and eggshells.
Eventually, you’ll collect enough scraps to create a larger pile where these elements stew together to create the high nutrient compound known as compost. On average, a bag of compost can cost around 9 dollars, whereas making your own compost is free!
2. Use Mulch
Who knew a five-letter word could lower your water bill? With mulch, you won't have to water as frequently because it keeps your soil moisturized for longer periods of time by reducing water loss to evaporation. Mulch reduces the water use of an area by 20 percent.
And you don’t even have to spend money on a new bag of mulch. Not only can you purchase torn bags of mulch at a discounted price from your garden center, but you can also make your own mulch for free by using natural yard materials like pine needles, shredded leaves or grass clippings!
3. Reuse Boiled Water to Nourish Plants
If you find yourself boiling vegetables for dinner or eggs for breakfast don’t dump that pot of water down the drain immediately after scooping your food out.
Instead, allow the pot of water to cool and pour this onto your plants’ soil. The nutrients from the boiled foods leech out as the food cooks and creates nutrient rich water your plants will love!
This is an extremely easy way both to reuse water and provide your plants with vitamins. If you’re running low on fertilizer, this can be a way to scrape by until you re-up your supply.
4. Soil Test
Soil testing may sound like an extra expense at first, but it’s a well worth investment to save you from purchasing fertilizer you don’t need to use. Say you think your veggie crop is low in nitrogen, so you purchase and apply a nitrogen rich fertilizer.
However, your plants don’t improve and in fact, they get worse. Guessing what your plants need is costly in terms of product purchasing and the wellbeing of your crops. Soil testing is an assured way to know what nutrients your plants really need that can save their lives and your wallet.
5. Stock Up on Gardening Tools in the Fall
Every hobby has its season and for gardening, obviously peak time is in the Spring. This means as Fall approaches, demand decreases and in come the discounts!
No doubt, tools are a huge expense so finding these products at a fraction of the cost is a big win for any budget savvy gardener.
6. Grow Plants from Stem Cuttings
What’s better than one plant? Several! And propagating your plants from stem cuttings can help you get there. Use your full-grown plants to make more by cutting their stems and replanting those cuttings. If properly cared for, those smaller stems will blossom into adult plants that can supply you with even more cuttings and thus, an endless supply of starter plants.
7. Grow from Seed
One of the most economical ways to save in the garden is by planting from seed. Although purchasing a starter plant from your local nursery may be easier, starts typically cost anywhere from 3 to 5 dollars whereas seed packets can range from a few cents to a dollar or two.
Plus, with seed packets you get at least 30 to 40 seeds that can become potential crops rather than the one starter plant you purchased. We’d say that’s getting your money’s worth!
8. Select Food Plants That Can Start Outdoors
It’s often recommended to start seedlings indoors and gradually introduce them to the outdoor elements to harden them off, but seedlings require extra supplies, like seed starter trays or starter potting soil, that some would rather not pay for.
If you’re one of those people, consider selecting varieties of plants that can be directly sown outside. This eliminates the need to purchase the materials mentioned above.
Some food plants that do particularly well with direct sowing include:
9. Buy Offseason
You know how it is. You stop by your local nursery or garden center with the intention of only buying one or two plants, but you end up driving off with a trunk full!
While doing so during peak season is not a great idea since you’re likely paying full price per plant, leaving with several plants in the offseason can save you some pennies compared to splurging in the Spring.
In fact, the best times to purchase plants are in the Fall, late Summer, and after major holidays.
10. Grow Self-Seeding Flowers
Again, seeds are a beautiful thing! Certain flowers are more productive than others in terms of seed production and self-seeding flowers are prime examples. These flowers are usually biennials or annuals that scatter a number of seeds into the soil on their own.
That’s right, you don’t even have to lift a finger and these flowers will sow their seeds by themselves.
Their seeds germinate within weeks for most plants which provides an endless supply of flowers for their growing season. And because each full-grown plant produces and plants its own seeds, self-seeding plants are gifts that keep on giving!
Some self-seeding plants to get started with are:
You may be asking yourself, “Where do I go from here?” to which we say, take our tips and run with them! Share this article with a friend and make these hacks a part of your garden routine so you can continue to do what you love without breaking the bank.