It’s almost time to get back outside in the garden. A couple of weeks ago, my special needs garden club got together to start seeds indoors. They picked a variety of items like ground cherries, peppers, tomatoes, table melons, and herbs to plant. We got warming mats and lights set up inside, and our plants are looking fabulous.
We also worked on fixing up our planter boxes on the patio. There is so much we still need to get done before planting day, but it’s exciting. One thing I’m not excited about is the cost of maintaining a garden and replacing old soil and garden material. That got me thinking, what are ways you can garden for cheap? I have a few ideas you can check out below.
I do not buy new seeds every year. I have over 100 packs of seeds I bought a few years ago, and they are still viable. Instead of buying new, I often revert to those old seed packets and let my clients pick what they want out of the mix. We usually plant them in old pots that we already have at the center or go to Dollar Tree and grab a few 10-packs of small pots.
If you plant everything you buy, you can start seed collecting from strong and healthy plants. Collect them from your garden at the end of the growing seasons and have a free replenished seed collection for the following year. Last year I collected basil seeds from my garden.
I know this is not for everybody, but I also reuse old soil. I only buy new soil for beds that have been cleared out. We have a few at the center that are cleared because they broke. We fixed them up, so now they need new soil. I usually do nothing to the old soil, but I have changed my ways this year.
I sterilized the old by pouring boiling water into my cleaned beds and pots. That will keep bugs, flies, eggs, and other pests from damaging my plants as they grow and start to fruit.
Fertilizer and Compost
Another way I plan on saving it is to make fertilizer and compost. For my tomatoes and pepper plants, I’ve learned how to make a banana peel fertilizer tea. It just requires a jar, water, and a few banana peels that you keep in water for over a week. You can apply that to your tomato and pepper beds to boost fruit production and growth. I also am looking into making compost.
Getting started is cheap. I will be going over to Lowes to get blue buckets to house my pile. Food scraps will be provided by clients at the center after lunchtime, via their healthy food scraps. I will also be purchasing red worms to add to one of my compost bins. After the initial start-up costs, under $50, I should be able to use the system free time and time again.
There are many ways to make gardening cheap, this is how I am doing it. What are some of your best cheap garden tricks?
Shatel Huntley has a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Georgia State University. In her spare time, she works with special needs adults and travels the world. Her interests include traveling to off the beaten path destinations, shopping, couponing, and saving.