Many people mistakenly assume growing a garden requires a certain amount of money. In truth, it really doesn't. It's actually easy to grow plants and vegetables on a shoestring budget.
At the end of the day, you're not an industrial farmer. Nobody is expecting you to invest in a tractor or grain silo. Gardening is a hobby that rewards simple practices and, if you're willing to get your hands dirty once in a while, it can be very light on your finances, too.
5 Ways to Grow an Organic Garden on a Tight Budget…
1 . Start Small
A large garden can be very intimidating at first. With so much space, surely you'll need a lot of plants to fill it up? Well, But why hurry? I, like many others, started off small, growing crops out of a small corner. You can expand when you're feeling more confident and you’re willing to invest a little more money.
This tip also helps when growing something new. I don't know about other people, but I like to start with a few seeds and learn my way around a new plant. What conditions does it thrive under? What support does it need? Once I know, I can then cultivate it and grow larger amounts. This approach saves me money – especially when I make mistakes – and allows me to take my time without worrying.
2. Make The Most Of Nature's Resources
Gardening is all about expanding and making the most of nature. As such, you should always look to nature to provide a helping hand. And of course, nature is free!
For example, if you want to save on your water bill, simply leave your watering cans or other containers outside to collect rainwater. There's absolutely nothing wrong with rainwater, and it's free. If it's good enough for vast forests and meadows, your garden will love it as well! I readily make use of rainwater and it's surprising just how much money you can save when you stop using the hose or water taps constantly.
3. Secondhand Goods
To the average hobbyist gardener, there really is little difference between a new and secondhand shovel. As long as the handle works and the shovel digs soil, what more can you need? Many people feel the need to buy new equipment, but it’s just unnecessary. It's only going to get dirty anyway, so it makes sense to go ahead and save as much money as possible. When you realize how much new tools cost, you'll be thankful for the cash you've saved!
Of course, wear and tear will degrade the quality of your tools, but that doesn't mean you have to throw them out. A good tool-sharpening device will keep your troughs and pitchforks sharp for years to come, which is often much cheaper than forking out the money for new tools every year or two.
4. Recycle Materials
Recycling is one of the greenest things you can do, with the added benefit of being easy on the wallet (you may even actually get paid for it). Your home is full of materials that can be re-purposed for gardening. Plastic baskets, for instance, make great flowerpots or bedding trays.
You don't always need a state-of-the-art greenhouse. I fondly remember starting out with an old plastic basket and a well-positioned window for my first crops. Use your creativity before you head to the shops.
This same argument goes for your waste materials, too. Organic and biodegradable waste often makes great compost, and compost, especially when it's free, makes for one very happy gardener. So don't throw all your leftovers into the bin when you can use them as an alternative source!
5. Take Cuttings
It's amazing how much garden centers charge for bulbs or seeds. Who knew a little packet could cost so much? If you're after plants for your budding garden, there are much more economical ways to go about it. Try taking cuttings from plants you find in the wild. With a little care, these will grow into beautiful plants that look just as good as their expensive counterparts.
Similarly, perhaps you already know a friend with a plant you admire. Why not ask, very kindly of course, for a cutting or two? Many gardeners swap cuttings and bulbs to save money, so why not get involved? Just remember this when someone asks you for a piece of your favorite flower – Gardening is all about sharing!
With these simple ideas, you should have plenty of inspiration to create wonderful gardens on a budget. If you have any ideas of your own, please feel free to share them with us. How cheaply do you think you can create your dream garden? Where would you start? Comment and let us know!
Tim Sparke is the CEO at 4pumps, and for several years, he has been an active advocate of organic farming and sustainability.
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