How to Be a Frugal Gardener

Watering plants with cash growing around them.

Gardening is a fun hobby for many, and it’s a resourceful one, too! If you have a green thumb, gardening can leave you with bountiful crops, including vegetables and herbs, that you can eat and use in cooking all season long. However, many gardeners wonder how to make this hobby more affordable. Luckily, there are a range of easy-to-follow tips and tricks to make gardening not only a fun and beneficial venture, but an economical one too.

Start With Seeds

While it can be tempting to jumpstart your garden with already lush plants, starting from seeds is more economical. Buy seeds and then, on top of saving money there, be smart about it. Since packets usually contain more seeds than you’ll actually end up planting, start a seed swap with friends and neighbors. That way, all of your seeds go to good use and you end up with a variety of plants and flowers.

Repurpose Household Items

There are many things within our homes that we can repurpose for gardening rather than throwing them out. For instance, newspapers make great weed barriers or work well at the bottom of plant containers to help retain moisture, as long as the pieces are shredded. Empty yogurt containers are a great space to start seeding, as are empty Keurig cups and egg cartons. You can really get creative when it comes to repurposing, helping you save cash and cut down on your home’s trash accumulation at the same time.

Seedlings in an eggshell carton.

Plant Small

If you are going to be buying some already-grown plants to add to your garden, choose wisely. Smaller plants are typically less expensive, saving you up to two-thirds the amount on each purchase. If you choose to buy bigger plants, divide them up into smaller plants to stretch them across your garden for a lower cost.

Make Your Own Compost

Creating your own compost is an obvious money-saver, and it’s great for the environment, too. At a minimum, pile dirt, leaves, and waste in one corner of your yard and with even minimal attention, it will eventually flourish into usable compost. Take advantage of nature working its magic with items that you naturally have in and around your home for a big money-saver!

Grow Self-Seeding Flowers

A field of orange and purple flowers.

Self-seeding flowers are a good money-saver in any garden. Flowers like hollyhocks, rudbeckia, sunflower, zinnia, poppies, and bachelor’s buttons can be purchased as seeds once and then will bloom in your garden year after year.

Choose Crops Carefully

To maximize the money spent on your garden, choose what you plant carefully, especially when it comes to vegetables and herbs. Also consider the space you have to garden in. For instance, plants like broccoli take up quite a bit of room in a garden. If you know that your planting space is small, skip larger plants like that and aim for ones like mint or basil that can be contained in smaller areas. Also consider growing crops that are easy to can, ferment, dehydrate, or freeze so that you can save leftovers to be used as time goes on, getting the most bang for your buck.

Partner With Friends

If you have a group of fellow gardeners, band together to save some money collectively. Decide to purchase bulbs, seeds, gardening supplies, and plants in bulk to share in one large purchase and prices are bound to be lower. Bulbs, mulch, fertilizer, and plant stakes are all much cheaper when bought in bulk. If you don’t know enough gardeners to do this with, collaborate with a couple friends and buy larger plants that can be divided into smaller sections, splitting the price evenly.

Collect and Store Rain Water

A rain barrel with a watering can being dunked into it.

Watering your garden is a necessity, so collecting rainwater is a smart money-saving measure (that also happens to be better for the environment, too). Incorporate a rain barrel into your garden and you have an easy way to cut down on cost without even having to think about it.

Between garden supplies, tools, and the plants themselves, gardening may seem to be a huge household expense. By following these tips and tricks, you can save cash and enjoy the fruits of your labor as well as the beauty of your yard’s blossoming garden.