A beautiful garden doesn’t have to come at a significant cost. Frugal gardeners know many tricks to grow stunning plants without breaking the bank.
If your budget is tight, they will share that knowledge to allow more gardens to flourish without unnecessary expense.
1. Grow From Seeds
Buying a packet of seeds or bulbs is considerably cheaper than buying a juvenile plant. Given the proper care and soil conditions, those fledgling flowers will develop and be as beautiful as any advanced plant you can purchase at garden stores.
2. Attend a Seed Swap
Look online for a gardener’s community group in your area. These organizations are set up to provide support in the locality and often share more than their tips. Seed swaps are a common part of the community experience and a great way to diversify your garden and grow something new.
3. Cultivate Your Own
If you know where to look, seeds can be obtained from existing flowers and plants. Similarly, if you intend to grow fruits and vegetables in your garden, it’s easy to take seeds, dry them, and use them later in the season. Fruit and vegetable plants that produce an edible harvest are just as attractive as some of their purely decorative counterparts.
4. Use Seeds From Store-Bought Produce
Collecting seeds from everyday produce allows you to grow interesting indoor plants. Avocado stones, raw peanuts, and chili seeds can be collected and used to create fascinating and unusual plants that are fun to produce and maintain.
5. Compost It Yourself
Bags of compost can add to your garden budget, but are they necessary purchases? Many gardeners develop their own compost using grass clippings, tea bags, and any leftover food. A compost bin is a one-time purchase and will ultimately pay for itself. All you need is a little patience.
6. Prepare Free Dry Fertilizer
This is a similar practice to composting, but preparing the materials you need is quicker. Ash is an excellent fertilizer, so the remnants of a fireplace or a barbecue can be ideal. Dried banana peel and crushed eggshells are also recommended.
7. Ways To Get Free Manure
If you have a larger-than-average yard, a small animal, such as a baby goat, doesn’t take up much space, and produces high-quality manure that’s great for your plants. If this isn’t practical, some farmers will give manure away, while others will allow you to collect it yourself.
8. Count Costs When Developing Seeds
In the early stages, seeds begin life indoors in a propagator. You can buy purpose-built products from the store, but once again, this is an area where you can save money by doing it yourself. The most frugal gardeners sow those seeds in egg cartons. Toilet roll holders can also do the job.
9. Don’t Overspend on Pots
Ceramic pots are an unnecessary expense for those gardening on a budget. They’re also bulky, and heavy, so lifting them is literally a pain in the back. Plastic pots cost a fraction of the price, and the beauty of the plant, not its container, is the most important thing.
10. Be Creative With Planters and Borders
Many scrap items can be recycled for a frugal approach to gardening. Wooden pallets can be used for raised beds, while cork is excellent for edging. Look for surplus goods around your home, and see how they can be used creatively outdoors.
11. Much Mulching
Mulch is an organic substance that protects the ground during bad weather conditions, including frost. It can consist of fallen leaves or any surplus areas of plants grown in your garden. Vegetable leaves are ideal, so when you harvest in the fall, keep those leaves on the ground for perfect mulch that doesn’t cost you a dime.
12. Source Free Wood Chips
Wood chips can do a similar job as mulch. They keep the ground warm and deter weeds from spoiling the look of your garden. You can purchase packs, but tree surgeons and timber yards are worth checking, as many are happy to give them away.
13. Look for Discounts
Garden centers will regularly list plants at knockdown prices. As with grocery stores, that produce is reaching a use-by date, and it needs to be put in the ground almost immediately. Don’t assume the plants are substandard. If you’re in a position to buy discounted items before heading home and planting them on the same day, you can realize significant savings.
14. Dealing With Pesky Pests
Buying expensive pest control products from the store is not always necessary. Natural methods are cheaper, and they are kinder to the environment. Slugs hate glass, while birds can be deterred from pecking at your seeds by using tin foil.
15. Take Cuttings
If you have friends and family who are keen gardeners, why not ask them if you can take cuttings of some of their plants? A small cutting doesn’t damage the host plant and, if treated carefully, will be as beautiful as its parent.
16. Focus on Perennials
A perennial is a plant that grows for two years or more. They offer better value than those with a shorter shelf life and can be divided with the potential of doubling your crop.
17. Plant Sparingly
The instructions on seed packets will often suggest planting more than is necessary. This can overcompensate for lower-quality products but isn’t a healthy option for future growth. Thin out those seeds, and you can make them, and your budget, go further.
18. Reuse Your Rainwater
Plants thrive best with regular rain. Water from the outside faucet is essential during dry spells, but you can save money on your bills by storing and recycling rain when it does fall. Water barrels are an inexpensive, one-time purchase, and they are another frugal way to keep your plants in pristine condition.
19. Alternative Liquid Plantcare
Some plants respond to other liquids. If you have an ailing indoor houseplant, it could regenerate with a bit of cola or a splash of cold tea. Check online for details of plants that respond to alternative liquids, and you could save a small fortune by using everyday household goods.
20. Save on Grow Lights
Using grow lights can accelerate the growth of many plants, and is another area where amateur gardeners can save money. Bespoke lights in major garden centers are expensive, but store-bought alternatives offer significant savings. Plants will react to any light source, so don’t be tempted to overspend.
21. Check Your Local Farmers Markets
Many major towns now have market days where local farmers and producers sell their produce. Prices are often more cost-effective than the big stores, so check these out. Those markets will often have bulk deals and end-of-the-day discounts.
22. Seek Free Advice
Online forums are in place to help new gardeners, and these sites offer great advice if you’re starting. Membership should always be free, and they are ideal if you have gaps in your knowledge. There’s no need to buy expensive books or periodicals when these forums are on hand.
23. Ask For Help
You may need help to keep up with your garden for several reasons. Maybe you’ve just moved in, the weeds are out of control, or an illness or injury has temporarily stopped your activities. If that’s the case, look at local community sites and see if you can access free help. Community groups exist in many locations with students and experienced gardeners willing to lend a hand.
24. Buy In Bulk
In cases where there is no alternative to making a purchase, buying in bulk whenever possible is recommended. This applies to plants, seeds, compost, and all other gardening materials. Discounts are more common for bulk purchases, and they will pay for themselves over time.