I began to write an intro for guest blogger Jessica but she said everything I was going to say, ha! We’re friends from Haven and her blog Decor Adventures is full of ideas you’ll adore. She’s here today sharing 7 tips for gardening on a budget. Landscaping and gardening can get really pricey, but it doesn’t have to be that way– Jessica’s going to share her secrets for achieving a fantastic garden on a dime just in time to spruce up your outdoor space for summer.
Hi all! I’m Jessica, blogger and DIYer at Decor Adventures. My husband and I live in a 113-year old house in the city, where there is always a renovation project underway, and I’m having a fun time crafting, sewing or painting something most days of the week. At my blog you’ll find furniture makeovers, our latest bathroom remodel, and lots of tips on making your home a beautiful meaningful place for you.
I’m really glad to be at Making Lemonade today guest posting. Carrie at I met at the Haven blog conference last year and got to spend lots of time together that weekend. Aside from having an amazing blog, Carrie is a sweetheart who I can’t wait to see again at the conference in August!
Today I’m participating in her summer series and have tips for you on how to garden on a budget. If you are a new or seasoned gardener, the thought of taking care of a beautiful outdoor space can be overwhelming with all the plants, mulch, and other supplies you have to buy. I’m here to show you that you can have a beautiful garden for little cost. And sometimes, for free!
Order or Buy Seeds
Instead of buying seedlings at the nursery that are already a few weeks old, purchase your own seed packages. Not only are they less expensive and you can get up to 30 or more seeds per envelope, but you’ll get the satisfaction of seeing little spouts come up all because you grew them. Starting early, about 6 weeks before the last frost in your area is best. Plus if you order online, you can pick exactly what types of plants that you want, instead of settling on what the nursery carries.
Grow Your Own Plants With What You Already Have
There’s no need to buy lots of pots or special containers to grow seeds. You can use household items that you already have and grow your seeds for free, aside from any soil you might need to purchase. To grow cucumbers and edamame this year, I planted the seeds in toilet paper rolls in a plastic storage container inside and then planted them right in the garden.
Attend a Plant Swap
A popular local garden event is often a plant swap. Or you can always arrange one with your neighbors and friends. The idea is to bring some plants to share with others and get some in return. And bonus, it’s completely free. Even if you started to ask you mom’s neighbor, or your friends from a community group, you’re bound to get some plants of your own. Cost = Zilch.
Look for Plant Sales
Many of us think that you have to go to the home improvement store to get your plants for the season, but I prefer to buy my seeds or plants locally. I get to support the local community and the plants are guaranteed to grow in my climate.
There are many nonprofit organizations or urban farming programs that have plant sales to raise funds. One down the street from us teaches city youth to grow and harvest food, so I got my tomato and pepper plants from them at only $3 each. And I got these canna plants for the same. The little one was $1. You can’t beat that price for a plant!
Connect with Master Gardeners
Where I live, there is a huge city garden walk and many towns have them all over the country. Often the people that organize these will have sales from their divided plants, which they do just to keep the plants healthy. Look to see if you can find local garden events near where you live and I bet you’ll come across some great resources. Often there are classes, free soil testing, and more including tips from expert gardeners. Now you can finally find out what to get for that shady area by your garage. Something I need to do!
Composting is a zero cost way to fertilize your own garden, plus it reduced the amount of waste your house produce. We compost in a large storage container is our backyard. We add coffee grounds, leaves, grass clippings, and vegetable scraps, although there are many items you can toss in there including paper. Once the compost is ready, use it to prepare your soil.
Another way to get already-made compost is at the local university or Cornell Cooperative Extension in your county. They have numerous gardening resources such as horticulture hotlines, nutritionists, and garden programs. Look for one near you.
Take a Drive in the Country
Most if not all of the above tips can be found by a weekend drive out to the more rural areas of the area in which you live. I find the best produce comes from stands on the side of a long country road, and the are often the most affordable. Farmers often have manure for free, if you are able to transport it home. It make great fertilizer and is natural. Small country towns often have great farmers markets where you can find seeds, plants, and all kinds of good things for your garden.
With a little creativity and searching to find resources near your town, you’ll be sure to find lots of ways to enjoy a garden on a budget this year!
Many thanks to Carrie for having me today. I can’t wait to read the rest of her summer series. And I invite you to come visit me at Decor Adventures and see all the gardening and DIY fun I’m having at my own house!