Raised Garden Bed

How to Garden on a Limited Budget

Gardening is a fun and rewarding hobby, but many people assume that it’s too expensive to get started. In fact, gardening is great for those of us on a limited budget. Gardeners are experts at repurposing, reusing, and even creating plant life from kitchen scraps. If you’ve wanted to start a garden, but have limited resources, read on to learn how to get started.

Start Plants from Seed

Purchasing seedlings can get expensive quickly, especially if you’re buying interesting varieties of heirloom plants. It’s often far cheaper to buy seeds at a place like True Leaf Market, and start your seedlings at home. You’ll be able to enjoy far more plants for the same price, and you’ll likely have seeds left over for upcoming years. Heirloom seed can be stored from one year to the next as long as it’s kept in a cool dry place. In addition, you can save seeds from heirloom fruits and vegetables and start new plants for next year’s garden. Seeds can also be purchased from EBT funds and are available in the produce section of most grocery stores. 

Trade Seeds with Friends 

Another way to save money as you start your garden is to trade seeds with friends, or go in together on a seed purchase. This allows you to spend less money overall on seeds, then swap different varieties so that everyone has something they want. Many communities host organized seed swaps, as well, where gardeners can bring their extra seed to swap with others. Trading seeds is a great way to limit the amount that you spend on your garden, while dramatically increasing the variety of plants that you’re able to enjoy each year. 

Utilize Freebies

Keep an eye out for stores offering free items that you can use in your garden, such as giveaways of seeds or plants from garden stores. Use websites like FreeCycle and the free section of Craigslist, as well. Often, people will post items like plant pots, extra seedlings, or flower bulbs that they are thinning out and want to get rid of. Take a stroll through your neighborhood on garbage day to see if your neighbors are throwing out items you can use the garden. These can all be great resources to enhance your garden without spending any extra money. 

Upcycle Materials

Focus on materials that you can remove from the waste stream and add to your garden. Plastic soda bottles can be recycled into self watering containers, for example. Scrap lumber can be repurposed to build a raised garden bed, allowing you to garden even in urban areas. Raised garden beds are one of the best types of gardens to get started with because they allow you to easily reach your plants. 

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that gardening is an expensive hobby. In reality, it takes very little money to get started, and you can garden almost anywhere. If you need more information, reach out to your local extension agency or gardening group to learn more.