Budget Hack: Growing a Garden for Dirt Cheap
Having your own garden or mini-farm will save you money in the long run. Growing your own food costs next to nothing in comparison to shopping at the grocery store, but getting started on your garden might seem financially daunting. The initial costs will pay off tenfold, and the tips in this article will help you save money while getting started growing.
Grow from Seeds
Buying seed packets at the grocery store or home improvement store is vastly cheaper than buying starter plants. Seed packets cost $1-$3 at most and contain up to 500 seeds. Starter plants can cost $3-$6 each for a single plant. Seed packets will only take about a week to sprout, depending on soil, light, and type of plant, and it’s smart to start growing them in flats indoors while it’s still chilly outside. Once your plants mature, you can harvest seeds from them to keep growing in future seasons.
Go to a Seed Swap
If you have tons of seeds from a few different types of plants, but want to expand your garden, a seed swap is the perfect opportunity for you. These seed swaps bring together gardeners and farmers to trade seeds they have for seeds they need. This is a great way to get seeds for your garden for free or next to free. You can find a local seed swap by doing a quick online search.
Repurpose from Your Kitchen
We’ve all gone grocery shopping and gotten overly enthusiastic in the produce department. Those extra onions, potatoes, and garlic that sit on the counter too long don’t have to go to waste. If you don’t use your produce in time, don’t waste it. Instead, repurpose it by planting the parts of it that will grow and you won’t have to worry about buying onions, potatoes, and garlic ever again.
Sometimes, plants will already have sprouted sitting on your counter. In this case, just cut your veggies and fruits down to their cores (you can find instructional videos online) and plant them in soil in a pot or your garden. If your produce hasn’t sprouted yet, you can still plant it, and with the proper attention, it’ll grow into its own plant.
Forage for Materials
When you think of planting a garden, certain costs may not cross your mind. Terracotta pots, wood for raised beds, and stakes for tomato plants are all garden essentials that cost a little extra. However, you don’t necessarily have to spend money buying these items at the store. For instance, you can forage for sticks or stakes you may have around the house for your tomatoes and other vining plants or borrow pots from friends or family members.
Make Your Own Soil Amendments
Making your own soil amendments for your garden is another way to save. It requires a little extra time, but will be worth it when you’re growing your own food and flowers. To get started making your own compost, get in touch with local farmers to see if you can clean out their barn in exchange for keeping some of the materials. Once you have the fertilizer, mix it with twigs, leaves, and whatever other organic materials you can find and give it time to meld together before you use it in your garden.