Starting a garden on a budget is very easy and can be done in almost any living situation. Most of the items that self-proclaimed experts say you must have are not necessary. All that’s needed to start a garden is a sunny location, soil, and seeds. Add water and a little TLC over the next several weeks and you will have a harvest of fresh food, herbs, and/or flowers.
Gardening on a budget can be done in containers on an apartment balcony, a rooftop, a raised bed garden or in a traditional in-ground plot. Whichever way you choose to grow fresh produce and/or flowers, use these tips to save yourself some money.
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Look around your home and check out thrift shops for containers that can be recycled and used for growing plants. As long as a container can hold soil it can be used to grow plants.
Recycle plastic yogurt cups, cottage cheese cups, and sour cream cups to use for starting plants from seeds. Cardboard toilet paper holders are ideal for starting seeds in the early spring. When the plant is large enough to plant in the soil, the toilet paper holder can be planted too. It’s biodegradable and this method won’t disturb the seedling’s roots when it’s transplanted.
Old plastic tote bins, small trash cans (plastic or metal) that have cracks, large bowls or pots, or un-used flower pots. A stack of old tires makes a great potato-growing tower, so does half a whiskey barrel.
You don’t have to spend money on new containers to start a container garden. Use what you have and pick up a few odd containers for pennies at yard sales and thrift stores.
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Those who live in apartments or condos may be very limited in their usable outdoor space, that’s where vertical gardening can help.
Vertical gardening simply takes advantage of outdoor vertical space for growing plants. A fence, balcony rail, a window box, or an exterior wall are examples of outdoor space that can be used as a vertical garden.
Recycling is key for gardening on a budget with this growing method. Before you purchase shelving and racks designed for vertical gardening, see what you have on hand that can be recycled into a vertical growing container.
An old shoe rack with hooks or pockets can be attached to a fence or wall and hold several herb plants. Wire bakers rack is great for recycling on a deck or balcony and used to hold garden plants. Wooden pallets can be recycled in many different ways for use in a vertical garden.
Use Wooden Pallets
Wooden pallets are free (or very cheap) and provide a lot of wood for a home gardener. The wood can be used to build planter boxes, raised beds, vertical shelves, and a host of other items a gardener will find useful.
Recycled wooden pallets and a couple of old windows can be put together and used as a mini-greenhouse to extend your gardening season.
Wooden pallets can be attached to vertical space and used to grow a wide range of plants. Create a decorative succulent garden or tasty herb garden with a vertically-mounted wooden pallet.
Compost is free to plant food and is made from food waste. It’s free, organic, great for all types of vegetation and won’t harm the environment. Recycling your food waste into nutrient-rich plant food is the ideal way to feed garden plants while reducing your carbon footprint on the planet.
If you have the outdoor space for a compost pile, recycle wooden pallets as the walls to contain the compost as it decomposes. There are many ways to create a compost pile or bin, even for small spaces.
Compost does take a while to make, so for your first garden, you will need to obtain compost from another source. Some potting soil and garden soil already have compost added, and you can purchase bagged compost to use in the garden too.
Look for Discounted Plants
Retailers will place their prettiest plants in the front of the store for easy visibility but there are always some not-so-pretty plants lurking in the background at a discounted price.
Half-price plants on the clearance rack are fine to bring home and plant in your garden as long as they have no visible signs of pest infestation or disease. Plants that are marked down typically just need some food, water, and sunlight to bring them back to production.
Be sure and save seeds from the plants at the end of the season so you will have free seeds for next year’s garden.
Use what you have on hand and be creative when starting a garden (even in established gardens) to save money. Don’t forget to ask friends and neighbors for seeds and extra plants. Once you start growing food you will have an abundance of seeds and plenty of organic material to make compost.
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