Gardening Basics

How to Save Money on Gardening I

Growing a nice garden doesn’t automatically mean that you have to spend a lot of money. In fact, some of the most beautiful gardens with healthiest plants are grown by ordinary people who don’t spend a fortune on their gardens.

There are many things you can do to reduce the costs that go into your garden. Here are some good tips on how to save money and still have a great garden full of healthy plants.

Grow Only What You Want to Use

It’s important to grow only what you wish to use. It may sound like a common sense, but it’s not rare for people to plant way more than they can use. It is particularly common with tomatoes. Sometimes you just can’t use all of it and it goes to waste.

If vegetables you grow go to waste, it’s also a waste of money. You invest a lot of time and effort into your garden, so you sure want to be able to use all of the plants. It’s much better to focus your energy into a smaller garden than into one that is too big for your needs.

For example, if you’ve never tried certain vegetables, buy them in the grocery store first to see if you and your family like them at all. This will save you a lot of money and effort you would put into gardening.

It’s also important to grow food to eat fresh. If you grow food in your garden, you will be able to have very fresh fruits and vegetables, much fresher than from any store. Don’t ruin that by not eating the food you produce. If you don’t get to eat all of it fresh, you should can and freeze it so you can get tasty fruits and vegetables in the winter.

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Start Small and Plan for More

It’s best to start small, until you get more experienced and until you decide which vegetables are ideal for your garden. Starting with one 3’ x 8’ bed is enough to get your garden going. You will be surprised to see how much food you can actually grow in such a small space and how big of a yield you can actually get.

Smaller gardens are also great because they save you a lot of time. Unless you have a lot of time to invest in gardening, it’s vital to keep your garden small. When you find more time to dedicate to gardening you can always expand your garden and grow more vegetables.

Start with the “Classics”

When starting with your garden, it’s best to focus on the “classics”. It will save you a lot of money. “Classics” are the plants you can find in almost every garden: tomatoes, green beans, sweet corn, lettuce or squash. These plants are great because they are relatively easy to grow but have a lot of value. They are tasty so they can be used in many meals so they are great for your family.

While there are other plants you can grow in your garden, focusing on “classics” is a good idea, especially for beginners. It will allow you to save a lot of money and be very successful with your gardening attempts. You can always move to rarer plants later.

Buy Only Tools You Will Use

Never buy any tools or equipment unless you truly need them and unless you want to use them in your garden. Keep in mind that it’s possible to grow a nice garden using nothing but a shovel you can buy for six dollars. Investing in tools you don’t want to use is a waste of money.

If you are only starting out, and if you don’t have a lot of money to invest, don’t worry. You don’t really need much except for some basic tools. A shovel, a garden rake and a hoe is all you really need. You don’t really need to spend a lot of money on fancy tools. Once you discover your gardening style, you will probably want to buy a few additional tools, but it’s important to understand that you don’t have to spend a lot on tools and equipment.

Use Organic Methods

Organic methods will save you a lot of money. If you go organic, you don’t have to buy chemicals and sprayers. The organic matter you need for gardening is free for the taking.

Even if you don’t want to go 100% organic, using organic matter to feed the soil make the plants stronger and healthier, which will also save you money in the long turn. If you make your own compost it will cut down the waste and it will be great for your garden.

Garden in Permanent Beds

If you want to save money, gardening in permanent beds is the only way to go. If you plant your vegetables in beds you can grow more food in les space. In turn, it saves you a lot of money.

Also, intensive methods such as this one are great for controlling weeds. Weeds are definitely not something you want in your garden. Lack of weeds will save you a lot of money.

This type of gardening also requires you to water and add soil amendments where your plants truly need them. Less water and less amendments save money. Since you will never walk on the beds the soil will get softer and deeper, which is great for the garden. The soil in the beds will never get compacted so you will never need to use a tiller and you won’t have to work up on the soil. All these things will save you money.

In short, using beds allow you to only work the soil you will truly use for your food. The paths between the beds can be covered in grass, just like the rest of your yard. Or you may pave them with stones or other materials if you like. Even if you don’t use anything but dirt for the paths, the ground will stay tightly packed from you walking on them that they will never get muddy. This way, you won’t have to worry about fixing your garden after rains and you don’t have to worry about mud.

Photo credit: Campobello Island via photopin cc