Growing some of your own food at home is a great way of saving money, as well as a great way to reduce your impact and do the right thing for people and planet. You might think that it will cost a lot to get started. But starting a garden certainly does not have to cost a lot. In fact, many of the things you need you may be able to source entirely free of charge. Here are some tips for saving money when starting a garden:
Saving Money By Using Your Current Natural Resources
The first and most important thing to remember is that the natural world around us provides us with a lot – not least when it comes to establishing a new food producing garden. Your garden might not be what it could be just yet – but it is likely that there already a number of resources right there that you can make use of. Making use of the natural resources already available to you is a great idea. It can help you turn your garden much more affordably into what you want it to be.
Natural resources at your disposal might include, for example:
- Organic matter – leaves, grass clippings, weeds etc. Which can be used to fill new no dig garden beds, make compost, mulches and liquid plant feeds.
- Plants already growing in your garden might also be useful resources because you can grow new plants from them. You might propagate those existing plants. You might take cuttings, or collect seeds, to gain new plants for a different place on your property.
- Pruned or fallen branches which can be used as plant supports, to make bed edging, fencing and more.
- Soil might not only help you grow healthy plants but which might also be used in a range of other ways – to make bed edging or build garden structures, for example, in earth bags, or in cob structures. You might dig topsoil from one area (to make a garden pond for example) and use the excavated soil in a different part of the garden.
- Rocks and stones in your garden might also come in handy. You might be able to use them for a range of things, from bed edging to pathways, and more.
Another very important natural resource is rainwater. You can save money when starting a garden by making sure you make the most of this precious resource, catching, storing and directing it wisely on your property.
Saving Money By Using Reclaimed and Reused Resources
As well as considering the natural resources around you, another way of saving money when starting a garden involves looking at things that are usually thrown away. Reclamation and reuse in the garden help keep things from landfill. They reduce household waste. And they cut costs considerably.
One of the most important types of recycling for a home grower is composting. Kitchen scraps and other biodegradable material should be added to a composting system to make compost. This can be used to fill containers and top garden beds. And it can be used to maintain fertility in your garden. Setting up a composting system won’t cost a thing, and it should be a top priority for any new gardener.
Reclaimed and reused items can also come in handy for many of the other jobs when starting a garden. From making bed edging and pathways, to finding containers and seed starting. Always seek out reclaimed materials and items for reuse before you think about buying anything new.
Source Second Hand Garden Tools and Equipment
When starting a new food producing garden, there will of course be some essential tools and equipment that you will need. Fortunately, it is often possible to get your hands on these things second hand. Often, you can source them very cheaply or even for free. Ask around gardeners of your acquaintance to see if they have anything they no longer need, and be sure to search online second hand and free marketplaces before you resort to buying things new.
Of course, you may still need to buy some simple things to tend your garden. Remember, choose long-lasting, repairable tools. Choosing cheap tools early on is false economy, since you will be more likely to have to replace these items later on. So choose quality to save money longer term.
Saving Money By Co-operating With Other Gardeners
When you are starting a new garden, it is often a good idea to start out small, and build up to your dream garden over time. But if you are just filling a few containers or a need compost or topsoil to top a new raised bed, bulk deliveries, which can be cheaper, might not make sense. To save money (and get some support on your journey) consider getting together with other gardeners in your area. You might be able to help one another in many ways.
One way that you might co-operate is to order bulk deliveries of certain resources that you cannot get from your own garden right now, like topsoil, compost or wood chip to start your garden. Clubbing together to purchase larger amounts can save you money, and be a lot cheaper than going it alone.
Share and Swap Plants, Cuttings and Seeds
Of course, working with other gardeners and having a more collaborative mindset can also mean saving money when it comes to populating your new garden with plants. Gardeners working together can share and swap their plants, cuttings and seeds, sometimes even doing away with the need to but these things yourself altogether.
Even if you do not join a gardening group, you might still be able to reach out to other gardeners. If you admire a plant in someone else’s garden, or admire the fruits or vegetables they have grown, why not simply reach out to them. If you would like a cutting, or wonder if someone has some seeds to spare, it never hurts to ask. You might even get some extra gardening advice thrown in.
These are just a few simple tips – but they might help you see how saving money when starting a garden might be easier than you think.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.
To get in touch, visit https://ewspconsultancy.com.