I’m super excited to share this post with you today. Gardening can be very expensive- just ask me how I know. But, when I initially started making a list, I couldn’t believe how easy it was to come up with a bunch of Budget Friendly Gardening Tips. Then, I did a few surveys and came up with even more money saving gardening tips. Lots of these I already practice, but when I retire I’ll definitely have to do more.
Most of the ideas in this post are with flower gardening in mind, but many of the ideas you can apply to vegetable gardening as well.
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Budget Friendly Gardening – Learn Plant Propagation
Don’t just breeze by this one thinking you can’t do it! These are some very practical and easy things you can do to help save money in your gardening budget.
Gather and save seeds from your garden. It’s crazy how many seeds you can come up with for new plants the following year. This is also a great activity to do with children to peak their interest in gardening. If you have no idea how to save seeds from your garden, pop over and check out: All About Seed Collecting.
Take a few minutes to do a little internet research on seed exchanges. That’s a great way to get some seeds you don’t have.
Save Money By Growing Your Own Plants From Seed
Once you have seeds, let’s plant them. With perennial seeds, simply sprinkle the seeds where you want new plants to grow under the mulch and if you’re lucky, next spring you’ll have a little patch of baby perennials.
Another really fun way to propagate new plants from seed is by Winter Sowing. I won’t go into it here, but it’s crazy easy and you can read my post on Winter Sowing to get all the instructions.
Starting your own flowers and vegetables from seed indoors is a great way to save money in your garden. Let me rephrase that to say, after the initial cost of the lighting setup and supplies, it’s a huge savings. Depending on how much you normally spend on plants, it might take a year to recoup the initial cost of the lighting setup and supplies. After that, all you will need to purchase are seeds (unless you save them from your garden) and a good seed starting mix (don’t skimp on this). There’s a learning curve to seed starting indoors, so when you’ve finished up here, pop over and check out the post.
Grow Your Own Plants from Bulbs
Every year around the end of March I get the itch to grow something, so I get a jumpstart on summer blooming bulbs (like lilies, caladium, begonias, etc.). It’s super easy to grow your own and so much cheaper that buying the plants already growing from a nursery. Check out the post and pin it for next year.
Save Money By Growing Your Own Plants from Cuttings
Some plants (like hydrangea, coleus and geraniums, etc.) can be propagated by taking stem cuttings and dipping them in a rooting hormone powder. I purchased some beautiful coleus this year that I can take stem cuttings from, so I will have more plants next year. If you’d like to learn more about taking cuttings from your plants, here’s a very interesting tutorial.
Here’s a Pin to Save to one of Your Gardening Boards on Pinterest!
Plants, whether perennial or annual flowers or vegetables, are the biggest gardening expense. You’ll get the biggest bang for your buck with Perennials, because they come back every year.
Where to Look For Free Plants
First of all, take a walk around your own gardens and yard. Look for plants that need to be divided. If your gardens are fairly established, you can fill new beds or empty spots from your own gardens.
If your gardens are new and your plants aren’t big enough to divide, there are other ways to get free or inexpensive perennials. First, if you’re on Facebook, look for perennial exchange groups in your area. I’m on one such group and many times people are simply giving plants away and don’t want anything in return.
Put the word out among your family and friends that you are in need of plants. Again, be selective and don’t just take anything to fill space.
Look on Craig’s List or post on neighborhood groups like NextDoor to see if anyone has perennials they are looking to get rid of.
How to Find Cheap Plants
Also, look for other gardeners in your area that are having plant sales. These perennials are more likely to survive in your gardens because they’ve been grown in your area.
Beware though and DO NOT take or purchase invasive or aggressive plants. I know it’s very tempting, especially if you have lots of space to fill, but in the long run you’ll be sorry if you have to clean invasive plants out of your garden. Read Plants Not to Grow In Your Garden (Even if They Are Free).
When you’re shopping at garden centers, look at their clearance rack for crappy looking perennials. Check the tag and be sure it’s hardy in your zone. Lots of these plants may just be done for the season (lilies are a good example of this), or they may just need a haircut and a bigger place to grow, some water, fertilizer and a little love. I purchased a daylily once that looked like it had gotten run over by a mac truck. I took it home, planted it and clipped off all the dead looking foliage. It’s now beautiful and one of my favorite daylilies.
Money Saving Tips for Container Gardening
If you plant lots of flowers or vegetables in containers, making your own potting mix is a super way to keep gardening budget friendly. I made my own potting mix this year by purchasing Pro Mix, which is mostly peat moss, and added cheap organic compost to it. Savvy Gardening has some DIY potting mix recipes to help get you started.
Reuse old potting mix. Yep, you read that right. Lots of gardeners will tell you not to do this and maybe you shouldn’t if you live in warmer climates. Here in Zone 4 we get a hard freeze to kill off any bugs or diseases that may be lurking in the soil.
In the fall when I’m doing garden cleanup, I simply dump the contents of my planters into a big wheelbarrow cart thing. You can use a big storage container, or whatever you can come up with. Just be sure it has drainage holes in the bottom, or you could end up with a big, old muddy mess.
The next spring I chop around in the soil with my garden fork. (Btw, I love this thing. Another gardener recommended it on my Essential Gardening Tools post and it’s my new favorite gardening tool). Then, I pull out all the big roots. As the soil is added to containers or flower pots, I add Osmocote to revitalize the soil.
How to Save Money on Mulch for Your Garden
Mulch is really, really important in a garden and shouldn’t be skipped. It will save you money in the long run because it helps to retain moisture in the soil, so you won’t have to water as often. Also, as mulch breaks down, it fortifies the soil. I recommend a good shredded wood mulch, but, if you simply don’t have the cash to spend on mulch, here are some alternatives.
Use newspapers or cardboard in between plants and cover the newspaper with untreated grass clippings and shredded leaves.
Do some checking in your area as many counties and cities have free compost piles and free mulch. It’s also possible to get free mulch from your local electric company and/or tree trimming services.
There is a website (Get Chip Drop) where you can sign up to get free (or cheap) wood chips. Check and see if its available in your area.
Ways to Save Money on Gardening Tools and Supplies
Buy gardening supplies late summer or early fall when they are on clearance. One year I hit the jackpot at WalMart and purchased a few years supply of Osmocote, my favorite flower fertilizer, for next to nothing.
Did you know that gardening tools are cheapest in the Winter. Of course, when you don’t need them. Buy one really good garden tool a year, or shop garage sales for gardening tools.
Add gardening tools to your Wish Lists for your family members. My favorite birthday and Christmas gifts are gardening tools or fun things for my garden.
Budget Friendly Gardening – Cheap Garden Decor Ideas
For garden décor, get creative and make groupings out of field stones and logs. There are tons of cute DIY garden décor ideas on Pinterest. My hubs made some really super cute garden trellises out of tree branches for practically nothing.
Flea Markets, Estate Sales, Garage Sales and Thrift Stores are excellent places to shop for all kinds of garden tools, garden décor, containers and other gardening supplies. See Garden Vignettes Using Flea Market Finds for some super cute garden decor ideas.
A Few More Budget Friendly Gardening Tips
Did you know that you can overwinter zonal geraniums. I’ve been doing them for the last couple of winters with very good results. If you’d like to try it this year, pop over and read this post.
I also like to overwinter creeping jenny and vinca vine from my container gardens. Creeping jenny is a perennial here in Zone 4, so I basically just plant it in the ground after I’ve removed it from the container in the fall. With vinca vine, I do the same thing, but also cover it with leaves.
Here in Zone 4 many bulbs (dahlias, caladium, elephant ears, canna lilies, calla lilies, begonias and gladiolus) do not survive our winters, so they need to be dug up and stored for winter. Even though it’s not one of my favorite gardening chores, I can really save money by taking a few extra steps in my fall garden cleanup.
Most of these ideas are totally doable, BUT they take patience. Patience is not always easy, but it’s super cheap and a great virtue to have for Budget Friendly Gardening. So if you can stave off instant gratification, in a few years when plants fill in and your gardens are looking lush and beautiful, the wait will be so worth it!
Thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens today. I hope you’re enjoying your visit and are coming up with some ideas for Budget Friendly Gardening. I would love to hear if you have a money saving gardening tip that I didn’t mention here, please leave a comment. If you have a gardening question, be sure to ask in the comments section below.
p.s. Go ahead and feel free to “pin” these pictures. If you hover in the upper left-hand corner of the picture, you’ll see the little Pinterest icon. Just click it and pin away.
p.p.s I’d love to have you follow me on Pinterest. Lots of great gardening ideas and tons of gardener’s eye candy.
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