As any slope-gardener will tell you, they’re in it for the view. Whether they're staring out…
No time of the year is late to start a budget. However, when it comes to your garden, there is no better time than now to start thinking about gardening on a budget. If not for anything, the gardening season is still a few weeks away, and this gives you enough time to get your garden financial planning right.
Although gardening can be an expensive enterprise, nevertheless there are many ways to watch the budget. Some of them can be as simple as buying smaller plants, while some techniques like DIY compost will require more effort. The good news is, with some careful planning and research, you’ll be able to save money on your gardening budget. That said, here are some tips that will help you save money on your garden.
Use smaller plants
This is a good start for gardening on a budget if you can wait out the time. You’ll spend less money when you buy smaller plants. For example, you can purchase a 4-inch pot instead of 1 gallon. Again, growing the plants will take more time for them to grow to mature size, but it’s a place to start if you’re really tight on money.
Collect your own seeds
Finding your own seeds can save you a lot of money from buying seeds. Save up seeds at the end of the season for use in the next planting season. Another method would be to start eating foods you want to plant. Don’t throw away the seeds. Dry them out on a paper plate and store them in a plastic zip bag.
You can use a compost for your garden when they’re still in the early planting stages. Of course, this will take more time, but it will definitely save you some cost. It’s very pricey if you go to purchase it from the store. So, instead of purchasing it, why not build your own compost from what you already have? You can put one together using your kitchen scraps and garden waste. Things you can use include livestock manure and feathers, paper napkins, unused spices, vegetable scraps, used tea bags, paper towels, freezer burnt fish, etc. Be sure to let everything decompose very well, usually when there are no recognizable pieces left.
Start your own plants
If you’re on a tight budget when planning towards your garden, you’ll find soon enough that growing plants from seeds will save you some money as against purchasing seedlings. There is an initial investment of planting mix, lights and trays, but you’ll recover them back, and save more in the long run. Some packets have more than 100 seeds, so you’ll have more plants. You can even trade some with your friends to get a wider variety. Clean trays with soap and water, and reuse them if plants grown in them don’t have any disease. This will save you more money. Even if there was sign of any disease, disinfect the trays with a solution of bleach and water after cleaning them. You can also germinate seeds in plastic cartons or egg cartons with openings at the bottom for water drainage.
Organize plant and seed swap
Set aside those plants you started from seeds, and hold a plant and seed swap with friends who have something to share as well. You’d surprised at the varieties of plants you’d get from such gathering.
Propagate your plants using cuttings
This is a method of obtaining a new plant by removing a part of a plant. Make sure the parent plant is healthy and without any diseases or insect pests. Once the new cutting is rooted, it will grow on its own. Another good thing about this technique is that it preserves some qualities that may get lost when you try to grow a new plant from seed, e.g. the color of hybrid flowers.
There are a lot of group sales going on prior to the planting season. Ask family and friends to see if they know of any ongoing sale. Check newspapers calendars as well. Generally search around for sales, as that’s where you’ll likely get less expensive garden items. Some garden centers even have a discounted plant section.
Look out for ‘free’ compost and mulch
Keep your eyes open for arborists and tree-cutting companies. They usually have big piles of mulch to give away. Also, you can save on delivery costs for bags of mulch or compost by teaming up with a neighbor.
How about recycled materials?
You can find a lot of gardening gear such as used bricks, pots, old tools, etc. at discounted prices on classified sections of newspapers, garage sales and thrift shops. More so, you can search for natural materials such as stones or stems for making bamboo poles for fences. There are people with a yard full of bamboos, and will be happy to have you take it off their hands.
It pays to stick with all-natural methods for your garden. At least, you don’t have to purchase all those chemical pesticides. What you do rather, is plant things that will attract beneficial insects to your garden. These insects will eat off the bad bugs and keep your plants healthy.
Gardening doesn’t have to be expensive. All you need is a little bit of creativity and research, and you’ll have a great garden without spending way more than you can.