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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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.
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