Gardening can save you money. Growing your own vegetables is cheaper than buying from the grocery store. Not to mention, the quality of food you can get in fresh-picked veggies. Many say it’s an inexpensive hobby. But wait — Is it?
Remember that starting things like gardening also requires a bit of an investment. You don't only need soil, sunshine and water, you also need seeds and other tools in gardening like a spare, rake, watering can, etc. If you don’ttake the money-saving initiative, these costs can add up to a wallet-draining hobby instead of a cost-saving journey.
Most people start their first garden to save money as the primary goal. This might be your goal too. It seemed easy at first but come to think of it, water, soil and seeds...all these natural things can cost. Sunshine is the only one that is free unless you need to create your own. Also, there are tools that need to be bought to get started with gardening. But you don’t need to worry. I will share things you can do to save money while starting your spring garden.
1. Early Preparation: Save Seed
Seeds aren’t that very expensive but if you have a large garden and love buying seeds, it can add up. It can cost you $100-$200 per year depending on how addictive you are in buying seeds. Haha
You’ll have an initial investment but after that, saving seeds can cost you $0. Also, by doing this, your seed acclimated to your growing conditions. Long season, short season, rainy, hot, humid, arid, whatever it may be! Your plants will be more robust, productive, and pest and disease resistant. The most amazing benefit of it is you can use your extra seed to share and exchange with friends. You can even give it as gifts or sell it and save more money!
Some seeds are easy to save and some aren’t. It is easy to save peas,beans, lettuce, tomatoes, andpeppers. They have flowers that are self-pollinating and seeds that require little or no special treatment before storage. Seeds from biennial crops such as carrots or beets are harder to save since the plants need two growing seasons to set seed.
Note: Don’t save seed from diseased plants.
2. Instead of Buying — Grow Your Own Indoor Plants
If you buy plants, you’re essentially paying someone else to start your seeds for you. This is not very good for your pocket. If you go to the store to buy a bunch of vegetable plants already in pots, it can cost over $100. Whereas if you grow it yourself the total cost including supplies will only be less than $20.
For example, purchasing one tomato plant at the nursery cost $3 while you can buy a packet of tomato seeds that lasts you a couple of seasons or more. Besides, tomatoes are easy to start indoors! Believe it or not, starting seeds indoors is very simple. You just need containers to plant in, germinating mix and light. You can use toilet paper rolls or reuse containers to start seed. It will allow you to cut costs even more.
If there's a lack of time (or patience) for starting your own seedlings, there are still ways to save by getting free seeds from“seed libraries”. Many communities offer this where you can collectas many seeds as you want to grow. In return, you simply let one or two of those plants you grew go to seed. You then collect the seeds and return the equivalent you took home at the beginning of the season. But be careful, some states have legislation that prohibits the sharing of seeds. I highly suggest to do a Google search to point you in the right direction for information on seed libraries in your area.
You can also maximize plant giveaways put on by local nurseries or gardening clubs. Don’t miss out on great opportunities like these. Sign up for the email newsletters of your local nurseries and garden societies to be updated.
Lastly, it really is true that you can buy anything online — you'll find cheap seedshere.
3. Use Alternative Compost Option
It can cost a lot of money to have a good garden soil, compost, and fertilizer. What you can do is to use compost materials from your own kitchen. Designate a pile to add your vegetable scraps, shredded paper,wood mulch, egg shells, chicken shavings and old leaves. It is best to shred the leaves into smaller pieces before adding them to the soil. They are the perfect ingredients for making a nutrient-rich compost for your soil. Even if you can’t get it to heat up, it will still break down beautifully.
You can also use coffee grounds. Whether from your own home or from a coffee shop, make a great soil amendment. Coffee grounds are rich in important nutrients such as phosphorus and magnesium that help plants grow. If you don't drink coffee, check with the closest Starbucks. Their"Grounds for Your Garden" program has offered free bags of their used grounds to locals.
Another thing you can do is to check with your municipality if they have a compost program. Some cities offer free compost to their citizens!
4. Shop Garage Sales and Buy Used Tools
It’s hard to start gardening without the basic gardening tools. It’s normally inexpensive to buy each but it can cost a lot if it all adds up. One of the hacks you can do to save money is to purchase used tools from restore. There is a store called Habitat for Humanity ReStore. It’s a stores of the nonprofit organization, “Habitat for Humanity”. They build affordable housing for those in need. You can find building supplies, landscaping supplies, and even gardening tools and supplies at a huge discount. The items here are donated so your money goes to support Habitat for Humanity directly. Isn't it satisfying to know that you can save money and help those who are in need at the same time?
Aside from ReStores, other sources of affordable gardening supplies could include online resale sites, local thrift shops, garage sales and even dollar stores.
5. Recycle and Conserve Water
Watering is an expense you need to think about when getting started.Water cost will vary a great deal depending on where you live and where your water is coming from. For those who are living in the city, the cost of water is quite high.
But no matter where you live, water conservation is a must to save money! A great option for conserving water is to recycle rainwater. Collect rainwater in a barrel and reuse it in your garden. Besides conserving thousands of gallons of water, surveys indicate people who use rain barrels save up to $35 a month on their water bill during the summer months. You only need to buy rain barrels and it makes it free to water!
Do you have any suggestions? We definitely want to hear it! Comment down below.