Organic gardening often goes hand-in-hand with sustainability, so it is no surprise that home gardeners are always looking for ways to reduce their gardening costs. To help our fellow gardeners with their quest for cost-efficiency, we recently posted the question “What’s the best way to spend less money in the gardening?” on our official Instagram page called The Happy Gardening Life.
The said post garnered a lot of replies from our beloved Instagram followers, who were more than happy to share their very own money-saving tips. From saving seeds to doing your own garden renovations, they covered almost all topics and gave their best advice for other gardeners to benefit from.
Listed below are 23 of the best tips we got, and we’re sharing them with you because what is gardening without sharing, right? So go ahead and check out the awesome tips below and try them in your garden today!
1. Grow from seed. Save seeds. Trade seeds. Gift seeds.
2. Seed exchanges! Check with your local university extension service and see if there’s a seed club in your area. It’s a great way to diversify your crops and others! Also, check if your local high school or rotary has a garden club and buy from them when they have plant sales.
3. Getting soil in bulk by the yard, instead of bagged! Also, using cardboard as a weed barrier under mulch instead of expensive weed blocker.
4. Get the jiffy seed starter pod for $5. It makes 72 plants and work great! Also saving egg shells and veggies peels and coffee grounds add to a great soil. Save these items and add to your soil.
5. Make your own compost! Soil amendments are by far the biggest expense, and by converting your food waste into soil health you’re getting it for free. No expensive composters needed, I stack free landscaping containers and maintain their heat by adding enough dry leaves. Please compost to help save the planet and your budget will thank you.
6. See what your town offers. Mine collects yard waste to make compost and then gives it away for free!
7. I like to get cutting starts of plants from friends and family. My neighbor will stop at any place she she sees plants that she likes and will try to get information about it or even get cuttings and she often gets both. Also when buying more makes it cheaper, we try to go in with other enthusiasts to share expenses and spread savings. I do lots of research. I try to plan ahead especially for big purchases and projects. Save seeds. Share. My area has a good local co-op that has good people and resourses for beginners and masters alike.
8. Have a list and a plan before hitting the garden center.
9. Rescue plants from the “Plant Graveyard” sections of garden centers. Visit gardening shows on the last day when exhibitors are likely to sell plants off cheaply at the end of the day, you can pick up some unusual plants or larger specimens for bargain prices. Visit smaller, local growers – they tend to have really good deals. When buying perennials, look for plants with multiple stems that can be easily divided.
10. Buy late in the season. Trees shrubs and perennials are discounted 50 to 75 percent.
11. Plant native perennials and let them naturally reseed. Some of the big box stores will sell them at a huge discount at the beginning of fall, many for .50-$1! Most are sun-scorched and underwatered so they look terrible and in need of a loving home. My “rescues” get planted that fall and come up the next spring with an established room system.
12. Divide plants! Buy plants when they are on clearance because they have finished flowering. See if you can find a local plant sale or swap!
13. Use logs and branches found on your property to build raised garden beds.
14. Let some plants go to seed. Save seed for exchange. I sell seedlings I grow, too.
15. I ask all friends and neighbors for their landscaping plant pots. My community garden has raised beds made from large pots. All free! I also used to do a plant garage sale of tomatoes peppers and herbs at $1 a plant. Often made enough to fund my summer garden.
16. Empty containers are great. A lot of nurseries will sell you used pots for very cheap—just clean them out with a little soap and water.
17 . Reuse what you can. I prefer plastic containers. They can be reused every year. Buy good-quality tools so they last and not have to be bought each year. Also buy in bulk. Don’t buy 20′ of crop netting, buy 100′ as it will be cheaper in the long run. Also, grow your own seedlings. I haven’t bought a seedling in over 5 years. It is fun to grow your own.
18. Recycling, there are so many bottles and containers that we throw away everyday that can be used to start seeds, although it might be not be the most attractive. Saving seeds — it’s just cool to learn to save seeds and never have to buy again unless introducing new varieties. Composting — very easy and weirdly cool to watch fruit and veg scraps turn into dirt. Collect rainwater whenever possible!
19. Buy fruit and vegetables from local farmers that grow unusual varieties of produce you can’t find at the store. Then you can taste the product first and save the seed from it if you want to grow some. I’ve gotten acorn squash, jalapeños and different types of cucumbers that way too.
20. I bought non-gmo spaghetti and butternut squash when they were in season for about $1 each. I fed my family and got plenty of seeds for over half the price!
21. Make good friends with others who garden. Then swap plants, seeds, produce, pots no longer used, and anything in the garden, really. Also buy plants and seeds that will allow you to harvest seed to save for the next seasons.
22. Try to do as much of your garden renovations yourself as hiring someone can be costly and unnecessary. Gardening is also good for your health and cheaper than the gym.
23. Rake leaves into your compost pile and turn that mess every two weeks. Spread out the compost about a month before planting. Turn your veggie clippings into a worm farm. Raise hens. Buy a bird feeder and hang it. Taste test vegetables you’re interested in growing. And lastly take time out of your day to reap your rewards!
Got some of your own money-saving gardening tips to share? Feel free to comment below. We’d love to hear from you! For more gardening stuff, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter today. :)