Every year my parents tell me that they want to set up a little garden in their backyard. Every year they worry about the cost of getting started, and then the weeds take over. When my mom brought up the gardening topic yet again, I decided to search for ways that budding gardeners can save some green while planting green.
Credit Image: USDAgov on Flickr
Plant flowers and greenery that are suited to your soil condition. Free From Broke said, “Know the environment -- water, sun, soil -- before you plant.” If you live in Chicago, home of heavy clay soil, you will likely need a raised bed to plant tomatoes or other produce. If you live in a desert environment and have thin rocky soil, you will need to invest in richer soil. By understanding the requirements of your environment, you can pick plants that are more suitable and easier to take care of. And that means you will spend fewer dollars on plants that die or fail to flourish.
Buy second-hand gardening supplies. Shiny new tools are nice, but they can dig a hole into your budget. Instead, search on Craigslist or at yard sales for discounted wares. Or, even better, get your tools for free (Freecyle is a great resource). If your neighbors are avid gardeners, you can ask them for some help in getting started. Green Baby Guide suggests using leaves as mulch and asking neighbors for free garden starts.
Switch to succulents. If you want to have a colorful garden that doesn’t require careful oversight, take a look at the wonderful world of succulent plants, also known as fat plants. These plants retain water in their leaves and stems -- they do well in dry climates and require minimal watering. They are also easy to repot and reroot. Many arboretums and cacti or succulent clubs may offer free succulent cuttings that you can then reroot. Home Depot garden centers also sell these plants for as cheaply as $3 per plant.
Seek out off-price retailers, bulk discounters, and online coupons. Kendal at Hassle Free Savings suggests buying pots at an off-price retailer, such as TJMaxx, for house plants and herbs to save $25+ over a big box stores, such as Home Depot. Those big box stores, however, offer great deals on potting and gardening soil. You can save 10%-20% by buying in bulk. Don’t forget to look online for gardening coupons. Fabulous Savings has a entire section of the their website devoted to gardening supplies. Of course, also check out RetailMeNot for discount codes.
Skip the gardening classes you’d have to pay for and look for free lessons instead. Many arboretums, gardening clubs, or even food banks offer free lessons to help folks get started in gardening. If there isn’t a class near you, check out online courses such as Doug’s Green Garden.
If you have other tips, please leave them in the comments!
More from living