When you start a garden it is very easy to spend a lot of money, on all the new plants, expensive fertilizer plant foods and beautiful garden furniture. However, it doesn’t have to be this way you can create a beautiful garden or maintain the gardening half at a very low cost.
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Our simple tips and tricks for saving money in the garden, can help you to have a sustainable, low cost, budget friendly approach to gardening. You do not have to choose between organic garden practices and cost.
1. Go Native
The easiest way to save money in the garden is to plant native plants. There are so many benefits to choosing plants native to your area. But financially speaking, native plants are more likely to thrive, self seed and return year after year. Native plants will also likely need less additional irrigation and nutrition. This is because they grow in the natural habitat near your house.
Planting Native flowers trees and shrubs will benefit your local ecosystem and your wallet.
At the little garden house we have planted An entire area of our garden just with native species. We don’t have to water this part of the garden and it thrives. We allow it to grow wild, weeds and all (occasionally popping in to pull any particularly troublesome weeds), but generally this patch of the garden thrives because it is a native habitat.
2. Start a compost bin or start fertilizer teas
One easy way to save money in the garden is to create your own compost. Often people can think this is a limitation to having a small garden, but there are plenty of options for mini or small composters available.
We have a small composting bin around the side of our garage, and we have a plastic Tupperware tub in the kitchen window where we collect kitchen scraps all week to add to the compost.
In addition to kitchen scraps you can also add grass clippings and other garden waste to your compost.
Another way to add nutrients to your soil without purchasing anything. Is to grow plants that can be used for fertilizing ‘tea’ and create nutritious teas for your soil. This is not the kind of tea that a human would drink, but just for fertilizing plants.
An example of this is borage tea which tomato plants love. Borage is a beautiful leafy plant with nice flowers that we grow by our avocado tree. In addition to soaking the leaves and making a nutritious drink for our tomatoes, we also take the leaves chop them up and use them as mulch for the tomatoes.
3. Collect seeds and take cuttings
Although seeds are not very expensive, you can lower your costs even more by collecting seeds. Depending on where you live you might be able to collect a few seeds on a hike (if this is allowed in your area) make sure to take only a few so that you don’t impact the ecosystem.
There are also seed swapping events, or sometimes local libraries will have seed swapping available. seed swaps are a great way to get a new selection of seeds.
Make sure to collect your own seeds from your garden as your plants go to seed. You can do this by simply shaking the seed head into a paper bag and then writing on the bag what the seeds were. Online you will be easily able to find the directions for growing any plant from seed. Before you know it you will have your own collection of homegrown seeds.
There’s an additional benefit to doing this, if you take seeds from your own garden you know that the plant came from succeeded in your soil and your conditions. Making it even more likely that the next batch will succeed.
You can also take cuttings of healthy plants and create more plants completely for free.
4. Closed cycle mulching
One alternative to purchasing mulch is to create your own mulch. There are so many options for this all of which can have wonderful results and save you a lot of money. Closed cycle mulching is when you use materials from your garden to mulch your garden rather than bringing outside products into the garden. Options for closed cycle mulching are…
- Mulching with deadhead cuttings from plants in the border
- Mulching with your homemade compost
- Mulch made from dried grass or straw (not recommended in fire risk areas)
You can even use shredded newspapers mulch, which is technically bringing in an outside product but is also a way to reuse and recycle something that you would otherwise throw away. This is a great segue to point 5.
5. Reuse and Recycle
The best way to save money in the garden is to reuse and recycle everything you possibly can rather than purchasing new things. This can include reusing pots, reusing old wooden pallets or old pieces of wood to create a trellis.
You can reuse old furniture that other people are getting rid of refinish it and make interesting and eclectic garden furniture.
An example of this is this driftwood bench that my husband made us from some old driftwood that we found. The legs are made of some redwood scraps that we had on hand. As you can see it’s possible to make something beautiful out of reused materials.
Final thoughts on saving money in the garden
The key to gardening without spending money, is to reuse, and be resourceful. To create a garden that is self sustaining, take inspiration from the ecosystems around you. Plant what grows naturally and use what you have at hand to feed and decorate your landscape.