If you missed Gardening on a Budget: Part I (Seeds and Plants) check it out here.
It’s go time! You’ve planted your little seedlings in a starter greenhouse, newspaper cups, or egg carton (or you’ve found a place to get plants on the cheap, like your local Master Gardener sale), and now you’re planning your dream garden. Those Pinterest images of pristine (and weed-less) garden spaces are mighty appealing; is that a stone wall surrounding that garden bed? Is that a solid gold sprinkler they’re using? Just kidding about the sprinkler. But in today’s HGTV infused world (can I get some love for Fixer Upper?? Even the dirt in her garden looks fab!) we can often get caught up in how visually perfect our gardens need to be.
Well, rest assured, your garden doesn’t have to be perfectly edged and built with tumbled stone walls to bring beauty to your backyard and produce delicious fare for your family to eat. In fact, no matter how big or small your space, you can create a budget-friendly and lovely garden space.
Options That Won’t Break the Bank
- Use an Existing Flower Bed- There’s no need to till up a spot in your lawn to grow fruits, herbs, and veggies. Chances are you have a bed with bushes or flowers already, and this is a perfect place to have an edible landscape. Basically, use edible plants in your beds and you’ll have both beauty and function without the expense of creating a garden. For example, I’ve removed some large azaleas and replaced them with blueberry bushes, and I use the space beneath them to grow cantelope. This year, I’ve also moved some of my zucchini out of my raised bed garden and into a nearby flower bed; it’s a functional accent. The Prudent Homemaker has a great post on how she’s used almost every square inch of her backyard as edible landscape. Check it out!
- Build an Inexpensive Raised Bed- If you don’t have the flower bed space, or if you want a dedicated veggie garden, then building a simple raised bed can be easy on the budget. It’s as simple as choosing your size (4×4, 4×8, etc.) purchasing some boards, galvanized screws, and balusters. Queen Bee Coupons has a simple tutorial and a price breakdown. She was able to build two 8×4 beds for around $35 each. Considering that these beds will be used year after year, that’s not a bad investment. If you’ve shopped around for the pre-made raised beds, then you’ll know this is a great deal.
- Think Outside the Box- There are plenty of ideas out there of how to grow vegetables in unique and different ways, and many of them use materials that you have laying around. Five gallon buckets? Use them for tomato plants. Those old flower pots sitting in the back of your shed or garage? Instant container garden. Old burlap sacks (or even trash bags)? Perfect for growing potatoes. I once saw gardener create a small salad garden in the corner of a gravel driveway. So, if you have containers or a tiny patch of yard, you can grow a garden inexpensively. (Note: I know the “pallet” craze is in full effect, but do be wary of using these for your gardens, as some of them are sprayed with chemicals and you don’t want that around food you’re growing for your family.)
- Ditch the Garden Soil/Prepared Dirt- You know those large expensive bags of…well, dirt, at the local hardware store? You don’t have to have those to grow a successful garden. Nothing will hit your budget (or your back) harder than loading 5 or 6 of those into your cart. If you have a need for soil in your garden, then you can buy simple topsoil and enrich it yourself with compost. And if you don’t compost yourself, then you can buy bags; they’re right next to the top soil at your local hardware store.
So don’t let the “cost” of starting a garden keep you from getting your hands in the dirt. Chances are you can start gardening for only the cost of plants or seeds. And the health benefits of gardening are pretty incredible, including decreased stress and anxiety, and it’s definitely a work out! So what do you plan to grow this Spring?