15 Frugal Gardening Hacks for a Thrifty Green Thumb

Research by the National Gardening Association in 2020 showed that 55% of American households undertake gardening activities.  This could go from simple house plants to kitchen and yard gardens. 

Some people do it entirely for leisure, while others do it to help cut their grocery costs. An average garden brings in $600 of produce each year. While gardening can help you save on food costs, it can sometimes put a strain on your budget. 

Nonetheless, being creative and using low-cost resources can help you cultivate a beautiful and resourceful garden without digging deeper into your pockets. 

Looking to take your gardening to the next level without breaking the bank? 

Read on to learn about some ingenious frugal gardening hacks that are not only economical but also foster your green thumb.

1. Make Your Compost at Home

Excited young brunette woman girl in casual white clothes, eyeglasses posing isolated on pastel blue background.
Image Credit: ViDI Studio/Shutterstock.

Forget about buying store compost. You can easily make your compost from home; free and easy. 

Yes, you can turn kitchen scraps, yard waste, and other organic materials into nutrient-rich compost. Through natural decomposition, the trash you toss each day can become fertilizer for your plants. 

This inexpensive method not only helps reduce landfill waste but also enriches the soil.

2. Make DIY Planters

Attractive gardener with plants and flowerpots sitting on green grass
Image Credit: SashaKhalabuzar via DepositPhotos.com.

Looking to take frugal gardening to the next level? Consider repurposing everyday material for use in your garden. 

Why buy pricey planters when you can make them at home? Use old tires, wooden crates, buckets, or cans instead of buying new planters. Besides adding a personal touch to your garden, this method saves you money and reduces environmental pollution.

You can find inspiration for making planters from Pinterest. 

3. Propagate Plants

Pretty asian woman in a green apron replanting a home plant Cereus succulent cactus in gloves in a new pot.
Image Credit: Yanya/Shutterstock.

Statistics from the National Gardening Association in 2020 showed that 86% of gardeners grow tomatoes, perhaps because they are easy to propagate.  

You, too, can multiply your greenery without putting a dent in your wallet. Frugal gardeners grow new plants from cuttings or offshoots of existing ones, thus doing away with the costs associated with buying new ones. 

Grafting, cuttings, and budding are some popular propagation methods. This inexpensive technique helps gardeners expand their gardens without spending extra money.

4. Mulch With Newspaper, Leaves, Grass

Three friends playing with leaves in the forest.
Image Credit: serrnovik via DepositPhotos.com.

Mulching is a budget-friendly weed control initiative. Forget about buying commercial mulching solutions. You can use what you already have at home for this purpose.

You can use grass, newspapers, or leaves as mulch. That way, you help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and preserve soil temperature. Mulching is also perfect for areas that are prone to soil erosion. On top of saving you some cash, this method conserves water and nourishes the soil as the mulch decomposes.

If well done, mulching can reduce your need for commercial weed control. It will also help you reduce the time spent in the garden. 

5. Rainwater Collection

Rainwater harvesting: Pre-Monsoon Summer rains in May in Kerala, India. Copious amounts of water run drown from the rooftop. Runoff water is collected in polymer tanks. World water day.
Image Credit: AjayTvm/Shutterstock.

Most gardeners will tell you that watering their garden increases their utility bills, especially if they have to pump the water using electricity.

 Well, some frugal gardeners collect rainwater instead of letting it go to waste. Old barrels and containers are perfect for setting up rainwater collection systems. By implementing this hack, you will cut water expenses while your garden flourishes.

6. Consider Getting Perennial Plants

Happy baby girl in a wreath on meadow with yellow flowers
Image Credit: evgenyataman via Depositphotos.com.

Frugal gardeners enjoy tending to perennial plants. Perennial plants are easy to grow and don’t die after producing fruits, unlike annuals, which need constant replanting. Aside from saving you money on seeds, perennial plants contribute to a sustainable and low-maintenance garden. 

For a thrifty yet vibrant landscape, go for plants such as lavender, bananas, sage, and chives in your garden. 

7. Start From Seeds

Young plant in hands in background of agricultural field area. Woman holding in hands green sprout seedling on black soil. Concept of Earth day, organic gardening, ecology, sustainable life.
Image Credit: Natalia Deriabina/Shutterstock.

If you visit a local garden nursery, a flat of pansies can cost anywhere from $30 to $60 for 36 plants. A packet of seeds of the same plant has hundreds of them and goes for $3 to $5. 

Needless to say, a frugal gardener would rather buy a packet of seeds.

It’s economical and allows you to grow as many plants as you’d like. So, grab some seeds, a tray, and soil, and get down to business. Aside from being affordable, this method provides a sense of accomplishment as you witness your seeds germinating into healthy plants.

8. DIY Fertilizers

Portrait of smiling, pretty, caucasian, female chef carrying fresh picked vegetables walking towards camera on a farm for farm to table at sunrise sunset.
Image Credit: Chiarascura/Shutterstock.

A 2022 study by The Fertilizer Institute showed that fertilizer prices were a major concern for many farmers in the United States. The prices shot up by 15%, compared to the pre-COVID-19 era, adding to the cost of food production. 

That said, do you know that you can nourish your garden on a budget? Create natural fertilizers at home using items such as leftover coffee grounds, eggshells, and banana peels. Besides requiring little expenditure, these DIY fertilizers promote sustainability by repurposing kitchen waste. 

9. Vertical Gardening

An adorable asian little girl watering plants in the garden. Montessori Practical Life skill - Caring for a Plant, Homeschool, Child development, Outdoors activity, Sustainable, Alternative Education.
Image Credit: myboys.me/Shutterstock.

Vertical gardens are becoming popular among frugal gardeners. A study by Market Research Future (MRFR) has revealed that the vertical garden construction market will be worth $1.4 billion by 2030. That said, embrace vertical gardening to maximize space and savings. 

Make use of each inch available by using things such as hanging planters, trellises, and wall-mounted containers. That aside, vertical gardens make your garden more appealing without costing a fortune. A good place to find inspiration for this 

10. Learn Preservation Techniques

Angry woman gesturing and looking at camera near fresh vegetables in kitchen
Image Credit: VitalikRadko via DepositPhotos.com.

Making your harvest last longer is key to those practicing frugal gardening. Luckily, there are many techniques to preserve your harvest. For example, you can sundry your beans and preserve them in air-tight containers. This technique will cost you nothing and will ensure you have a steady supply of homegrown produce in the future. Further, it minimizes waste. Other preservation methods include canning and freezing. 

11. Natural Pest Control

Colorado potato beetle crawling on the branches of potato
Image Credit: andrei310 via DepositPhotos.com.

Pests are a challenge to all gardeners, whether you have a small or big farm. Luckily, you can embrace natural solutions and do away with expensive pesticides. First off, embrace companion planting, where certain plants help keep pests from their neighboring crops. For example, marigolds are used to keep off nematodes, therefore providing a natural pest control method that doesn’t require money.

 Moreover, you can use homemade sprays to keep pests at bay. Use readily available products such as lemongrass essential oil, baking soda, and vinegar to create the pesticides at home. 

12. Free Gardening Classes

Photo portrait of lovely young girl disgusted discontent face dressed stylish yellow smart casual look isolated on blue color background.
Image Credit: Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock.

Don’t indulge in gardening blindly! Take some gardening classes and familiarize yourself with the activity. Opt for free classes in your community instead of the pricey gardening courses. Many gardening clubs hold workshops that bring together experienced gardeners. The knowledgeable gardeners share their expertise and sometimes sell books and videos that are geared toward successful gardening practices. Aside from that, social media communities are other resources where you can get helpful tips. 

Joining the communities can indirectly help you save money, all while fostering relationships with supportive gardening experts.

13. Save and Reuse Seeds

african american woman tending to kale in communal urban garden.
Image Credit: Joshua Resnick/Shutterstock.

Some gardeners know the secret to frugality lies in seed harvesting. You do not need to buy a pack of seedlings every other season. Some seeds can be costly, and avoiding such purchases can help you save some bucks.

To salvage this, let some plants in your garden to seed, then collect and store them for the next planting season. This way, you eliminate the need to buy new ones. Further, it creates a cycle of self-independence in your garden.

Saving seeds is not hard. Start off small. Put aside the easiest ones first, such as lentils and beans, and use them sparingly. 

14. Borrow or Rent Equipment

cute man mowing lawn in the backyard of his house.
Image Credit: michaeljung/Shutterstock.

Owning every piece of gardening equipment can strain your budget. Sometimes, you only need a tool for a day’s job. Consider borrowing or renting items such as tillers, lawnmowers, or even specialized tools for occasional use. This way, you can access the necessary equipment without the hefty price tag, making your gardening endeavor more budget-friendly.

Check out your local library; they might be hiring gardening books and tools at an affordable rate. 

15. Learn From Experience

Upset unsatisfied elderly woman with white short hair in round glasses wearing denim jacket and striped shirt.
Image Credit: Anton Mukhin/Shutterstock.

“Experience is the best teacher” is just as important in the gardening world.

 Other than relying solely on books and tutorials, get your hands dirty and learn from trial and error. Every garden is unique, and the knowledge gained through personal experience is often the most impactful and cost-efficient. More importantly, learning from experience helps prevent repeat purchases and wasted efforts.

You can even go ahead and keep a journal and document all your gardening experiences. This way, you will have something to go back to when in doubt.

12 Frugal Hacks That Make All The Difference

Portrait Of A Mature Woman Smiling.
Image Credit: Nadino/Shutterstock.

A Reddit user who started the frugal journey with his wife a couple of years ago wanted to know the frugal hacks people had that made all the difference.

According to the OP, shopping grocery sales every week and planning their meals helped cut their bill from $250 to $100 per week. Other users shared their stories about frugal hacks they had that made some difference in their lives. Here are some of the best ones.

12 Frugal Hacks That Make All The Difference 

12 Items Frugal People Proudly Exclude From Their Shopping List

Old Man in a hat as a cowboy.
Image Credit: Thomas Mucha/Shutterstock.

Frugal people are known to spend their money wisely. They live within their means and don’t spend a lot of money. According to a thread on Quora, here are some common things frugal people never buy.

12 Items Frugal People Proudly Exclude from Their Shopping List

23 Side Hustles You Never Considered That Make More Than Your 9 to 5

woman warrior. woman holding sword
Image Credit: Avrora-Andrey via DepositPhotos.com.

Have you ever wanted to make a lot of money from a side hustle and quit your 9 to 5? You may know about the typical side hustles, but I bet you never even heard of these lucrative side hustles!

23 Side Hustles You Never Considered That Make More Than Your 9 to 5

9 So-Called “Frugal” Habits That Are Actually a Waste of Time and Money

woman laying under knitted blanket
Image Credit: serezniy via DepositPhotos.com.

Not everything is frugal! I am sure you have read articles and tips that promote frugal living and give some ideas that are just not frugal! These frugal myths float around and sometimes even cost people a lot of money!

9 So-Called “Frugal” Habits That Are Actually a Waste of Time and Money

10 Stupid Scams People Won’t Stop Falling For

Doctor in corruption concept with being offered bribe.
Image Credit: Elnur/Shutterstock.

It seems like every day there is a new scam popping up, promising to make you rich or solve all of your problems. Yet, despite the prevalence of scams and the numerous warnings about them, people still fall for them.

10 Stupid Scams People Won’t Stop Falling For