10 Tips To Save Money In The Garden



Gardening can be quite an expensive hobby, but with a few simple steps, it is actually quite easy to save money in the garden.




10 Tips To Save Money In The Garden

1. Source plants for free or cheap

Find free plants that other people throw out, simply by looking around in your neighborhood, asking friends and family or looking at online message boards such as Craigslist and facebook. Check out the finding free plants section, to see the many ways we find free plants.


2. Make your own nutrient-rich soil by composting. 

If you do not have enough materials to compost (leaves, food scraps, shredded paper, leaves, grass clippings etc), you can source it from neighbors, or even call a local tree trimming company to ask for a load of wood chips if you have enough room. Read our how to compost posts here.

3. Use rain barrels to save on your water bill.

Make your own rain barrels, or find cheap ones used on Craigslist. 

Read our posts about saving water here. 

4. Use gray water

Most of us run into times of drought, and for a gardener, drought is bad for the garden and the water bill. This is where gray water saving can be a big help. Save the water from your kitchen sink, whenever you're rinsing dishes, produce etc. Even washing your hands uses a lot of water, which can be saved and thrown into your vegetable garden. 

Read our article about saving gray water here.


5. Make your own wood chips or get them free

If you have a wood chipper, it is easy to make your own natural wood chips.  

See how we make and get free wood chips here.

6. Shop clearance

Always check out your home and garden store's clearance section. Lowes sell plants for as low as $1 in their clearance section, and you can often find many other things on clearance there as well. Target has great end-of-season clearance sales, and you can also find garden clearance at Walmart. 

See our $1 clearance plants here to learn more. 

7. Grow plants from cuttings

Invest in a good growing hormone, or try using natural methods such as cinnamon or willow to grow new plants. Succulents are especially easy to propagate without any growing help, and making new plants out of old plants is just greatly satisfying. 

See how we use our favorite plant rooting powder to make new plants.


8. Grow from seeds, save your seeds and shop in bulk!

Growing from seeds is a great way to save on gardening or even start gardening without any start-up costs. You can buy 1 tomato plant for $4 - $6 at the store or you can buy a bag of seeds for $2. The math is simple, and the savings are great. Even better yet, buy a tub of organic tomatoes for $3-4, eat them and then use the seeds. Once you get your garden established, make sure to save seeds for the next growing season. Save the seeds in brown paper bags, label these and store them in a dry place.

As an example, we bought a dragon fruit for $2.99 at the store, and now we have 30+ tiny dragon fruit plants growing in a pot, the same thing goes for the passions fruit we bought, ate and planted. They might not all survive, and we need some patience, but at the nursery one potted dragon fruit plant costs $35, and online it costs about $8 + shipping for a small passion fruit vine. 

Here in the Florida, a great way to start growing from seeds is by buying a papaya, removing the seeds and planting the seeds immediately, and less than two years later you will have papaya growing. Fruit trees take a lot longer from seed to fruit, but the papaya is a true gem.

The big box stores and home stores do not always have the best selection of seeds and plants for your local gardening needs, especially not if you are an organic gardener. Instead, try to look online. Many of the online seed companies and seed catalogues give free shipping, if you shop more for more than a certain amount - usually $35 - $60. 

We can highly recommend shopping on Etsy.com, where we have found seeds at great prices and a huge variety from smaller shops, especially of plants and seeds that we have been unable to purchase locally. There is a tab in the sidebar on etsy, where you can choose only to shop from US shops. This year we were unable to find any seeds locally for our winter crops, but at Etsy we found just what we needed and much more. We were even able to find seeds that had been on our wish list for a while such as tamarind, ceracee, malabar spinach, eucalyptus, tea seeds and more.


9. Buy used 

We always scour the thrift stores for things to use in our garden. We have a list on our phones, where we write down whenever we need something, and we'll always search the thrift stores first. Craigslist is another great place, or if you have a freecycle or a local Facebook group. Some items we've found at the thrift store for the garden. 

  • 3 large tub plants for $12. 
  • A wheelbarrow for $10 
  • Shovels, rakes and other garden tools for $1 - $5 a piece. 
  • Rubber boots for $4 - $10. 
  • A leaf blower for $7 
  • Watering can $1.50
  • A manual lawnmower for $20. 
  • And much much more...

10. Earn gift cards to spend on your gardening projects. See our lists of places to earn gift cards online and of money making mobile apps, to see how we save up gift cards for our gardening needs. 

We always have a running list on our phones, whenever we encounter a need in the garden, and then we save up for gift cards. Whenever we have big projects, such as the grape vine arbor we made last year, the concrete planting bed, or enclosing the garden so the chickens wouldn't eat our veggies, we always try to save up enough gift cards to complete the project.