Gardening can be a great way to save money on produce but it can easily turn into an expensive activity if you start shelling out big bucks for the latest gardening gadgets. Here are some ideas to help you sow your seeds frugally so you can reap the financial benefits.
Start your plants from seed – The most cost-effective way to garden is by starting your plants with seeds instead of buying plants that have been started for you. A packet of seeds can run you anywhere from $1 to $3 per packet while young plants cost $2-$15. You can also buy seeds in bulk from gardening catalogs, which often have deals for free shipping. Keep in mind that seeds are usually good for about a year so don’t go crazy ordering more than you can plant or your savings will turn into waste. You can also split the bill and seeds with a friend as each packet contains dozens of seeds.
Become a seed saver – Harvest and save garden seeds from your favorite plants for next season. To let some of your plants go to seed, allow them to flower. Make sure to allow the seeds to dry completely before storing. Once the flower is dry, collect the seed pods. For vegetables like tomatoes squeeze out the seeds, remove the pulp and allow seeds to dry completely. Note that plants grown from Hybrid seeds are not good for saving and replanting. When purchasing seeds make sure they are open pollinated seeds or heirloom seeds, which you can save and later replant.
Invest in a multi-purpose planting tool – Buying tools for specific jobs can end up costing you a fortune. Instead stick to one tool that will do it all. A hori hori knife, which is a cross between a knife and trowel is a great option. This tool is useful for many tasks including planting, transplanting and removing deep-rooted roots. Keep in mind that the best tool you have are your hands! There is also no need for fancy pots to start your plants. Milk cartons, plastic milk jugs, yogurt cups and clear plastic beverage bottles will do.
Host a plant or seed swap – Swapping seeds and plants with friends can help you add a variety of fruits and veggies to your garden without breaking the bank. If you are strapped for space, consider growing different fruits and veggies so you can share with your friends.
Make compost – Making your own compost is the easiest way to save money on fertilizer. If you don’t have the space to make your own, consider having your yard waste picked up. Many cities pick up yard waste that is turned into free compost for gardeners.
Save on water – Water is one of those expenses you won’t notice until the bill comes. Some simple ways to save on water include collecting rainwater by strategically placing containers around your property and investing in an irrigation system or soaker hose. A water timer will also help with the waste of water to help you save on your water bills.
As a gardener trying to save money, what do you do to save green?