Gardening is one of my favorite hobbies and often is a form of de-stressing “therapy” for me. The downside? Around this time of year it can be very expensive…so, for someone on a strict budget, how can you manage you hobby without burying your budget?
There are All Sorts of Ways:
1.Plan your garden ahead of time. You don’t go grocery shopping without a list (or without eating ahead of time), don’t buy plants without a plan.
2. Grow plants from seeds instead of buying them already germinated.
- This requires more attention & work to make sure the seeds stay moist, but it is much cheaper. You can buy many, MANY seeds for a fraction of the cost to buy 3-6 plants. Also, at most hardware stores, you can buy organic & heirloom seeds.
- If you plant heirloom seeds, you can save some of the harvest for seed so you don’t have to buy more seeds for the future.
3. Get “give-away” plants from friends & family.
- When people are splitting bulbs or perennials.
- When they’re giving away seed pods.
- When they’re giving away gardening supplies.
4. Get rooting hormone to use on cuttings you love in the wild or from friends/family.
5. Recycle & reuse old containers to plant new plants.
- Kitchen containers like old coffee grind containers, plastic salad boxes, tin cans, yogurt containers, or soda bottles make great plant starters.
- Wine bottles can be used as upside-down watering containers.
- Plastic milk containers with holes poked in the lid can be used as a watering can.
- Repaint old pots to spice things up instead of buying new, expensive containers.
6. Buy plants from the “sale” rack at the garden store.
- Yes, they probably look terrible…but that just makes it even better when you revive them & make them look incredible (and you only bought them for $1)
7. Buy perennials instead of annuals.
- You don’t have to buy all new plants every. Single. Year. And actually, perennials tend to multiple & spread, so you can split them & get more out of them later.
8. Buy from local, family-owned nurseries.
- A lot of times, you can get plants that are just as good or better-quality than garden stores for A LOT cheaper.
- Larger, local nurseries are typically geared towards landscapers who are trying to buy in bulk = lower prices.
- Local area examples: Tarheel Nursury & Broadwell’s Nursery in Angier, NC (Old Stage Road).
- Need mulch? Buy bulk from a mulching landscape company. Getting it by the truckload makes it much cheaper.
- When the power company comes through to trim back trees, volunteer to take their tree mulch= it’ll be TONS of mulch…for FREEEEE!
- My husband hates it because he thinks it’s gross, but if you do it right, it can save you a TON on potting soil. Just the other day, I mixed a pot half-filled with compost & half with potting soil. My plants are looking SUPER green, healthy, & happy.
- Create a compost heap or bin outside.
- Mix in the leftovers of things you use in the kitchen (**Nothing meaty/greasy/cooked/woody- these take too long to decompose or attract animals & you don’t want that!)
- Fruit & Veggie shavings/peels
- Grass cuttings
- Fur that’s been vacuumed up
- Pine straw
- Fun fact: If you have any blueberry bushes…they LOVE coffee grinds for their acidity!
10. Use what you already have.
- Don’t go out & buy new garden stones- use big rocks you (or your friends/family) find on your own property
- Use cut down tree limbs to make fence posts for your garden
- Use cut down tree trunks as pots- cut out center sections of them, fill with dirt, & plant beauties in it to add a little natural beauty to your garden.
- If you have pine trees or hard-wood trees, use what they shed for mulch…don’t buy new mulch.
Gardening doesn’t have to be insanely expensive. Enjoy the garden without breaking the bank!