The cost of seeds and seedlings, soil amendments, pest and weed controls and tools can add up quickly. Instead of breaking the bank this year, carefully plan out your garden and take advantage of free resources whenever possible.
Whether you have hundreds of dollars to spend on your garden or a small amount set aside from your paychecks, trim your garden budget with these tips.
Plan your garden
Before you start your garden, determine how much money you have to spend on initial supplies, like seeds, seedlings and soil amendments. Take an inventory of your garden tools and decide if you need to purchase any additional tools. You can think ahead about weed and pest controls and determine what you’ll use.
You can keep garden records to track expenses throughout the gardening season and to determine if the money put into growing plants is worth growing them again in future years.
Choose seeds with space in mind
Only buy seeds that you’re able to use. You may want to plant four different tomato cultivars, but do you have enough space to grow them? And having a few colors of the same flower sounds lovely, but only if they won’t be crowded out in your flower beds.
If space is an issue, consider container gardening. Container gardening gives you the option to repurpose items like coffee cans or feed bags and use them to grow plants, even if the only space you have is on a porch or deck.
Choose seeds that will grow
Not all seeds will thrive in all hardiness zones, soil types and sunlight amounts. Do your research and choose varieties that have been known to grow well where you live.
If you’re starting seeds indoors, make sure you have the proper indoor climate controls. Pay attention to information printed on seed packets. If you’re ordering from a seed company, you may be able to access fact sheets for certain cultivars that provide details about pH levels, light, humidity and other factors.
Shop around for tools
If you’re an avid gardener, take proper care of the tools you already own so they last longer. If you’re a beginning gardener, only buy what is absolutely necessary. You can find information about garden tool care and about which tools to purchase here.
Depending on what tools you need to get started, or what tools you need to replace, take the time to shop around for prices you’re comfortable with. You want to buy quality products without going over your budget.
As the gardening season goes on, you can save money in the garden by conserving water, making your own compost and being proactive about pest control. These practices will help to keep your budget in check.
Oregon State University Extension offers money-saving ideas for gardeners, such as swapping seeds with family and neighbors, sharing soil and other materials with neighbors and using inexpensive items as plant markers.
How do you stick to your garden budget? Tell us in the comments below.
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