Ready to grow a green thumb this spring? Gardening, when it’s done right, can be a great way to save money. Just imagine if you could grow all your own tomatoes for the summer without spending a fortune. With these 10 tips, you just might!
1. Choose the right plants.
An unsuccessful garden often stems from choosing the wrong plants. If you don’t want to dump loads of money into your garden, choose the right fruits and veggies for your area. Hardy varieties suited to your soil and climate will make the rest of the process a breeze.
Cost: Free! You’re going to buy plants anyway, so you might as well buy the right ones to start.
2. Start veggies from seed.
Starting seeds indoors is difficult. However, plenty of veggies and fruits are easy to direct sow. Just prepare your soil, put the seeds in at the right time and watch them go. Some easy options to direct sow include corn, carrots, zucchini, turnips, beets, radishes and leafy greens.
Cost: 50 cents to $1 per seed packet
3. Try containers.
If you’re new to gardening or don’t have a lot of space or time to invest, consider a container garden. You can use old containers, or pick them up for a couple bucks at your local dollar store. Add in a 1:1:1 blend of compost, vermiculite and peat moss for a rich DIY potting soil, and go to town.
Cost: Less than $5 for a container. Small bags of vermiculite, compost and peat moss can be found for under $10 each and should fill a few containers.
4. Make your own compost bin.
Compost is one of the best ways to boost your garden’s fertility. It’s a great fertilizer for any garden, it’s easy to make and you don’t even need a fancy compost bin.
If you have a large backyard, you can make a compost pile for free. Just pile up roughly equal volumes of acceptable food scraps (read: no meats, bones or dairy) with yard waste (leaves, weeds, lawn clippings). Turn it over once in a while, and it will become compost.
In a smaller space, you can make a simple trash can compost bin.
Cost: Free to $20
5. Use cattle fencing for vining produce.
You can buy a 2-foot by 6-foot piece of cattle fencing – a raw steel wire grid – for about $20. You can turn it into an arch, or clip the piece in half and zip-tie the top to create a narrow V. Either option is great for trying tomatoes, beans, melons and other vining produce. The fence is sturdier than traditional tomato cages, and it lets you use your garden space more efficiently.
Cost: $20 or less