8 Gardening When You’re Broke Tips


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Gardening when you’re broke isn’t impossible!

Gardening is meant to save you money, but the beginning start-up costs can feel overwhelming. Not everyone has the cash to start a large garden all at one time.

You can find tips for gardening when you’re broke. You don’t HAVE to spend hundreds of dollars for a beautiful garden. In fact, there are plenty of ways to do it on a budget.

Some of these require that you gardened before, but otherwise, most of these tips can be used from the start.

8 Tips for Gardening When You’re Broke

1. Use Pallets

Some pallets are treated with chemicals, so you need to look at the markings. If it has an HP stamped on it, that means it was treated with heat rather than chemicals and is safe for usage. If you are short on cash, pallets are a great way to make raised beds on a budget.

Compost Bin

2. Start Composting

Everyone should compost; it is free! Composting reduces the amount of trash you toss out each day.

Brown materials such as grass clippings, dried leaves and weeds can be added to your compost. Green materials such as eggshells, veggies and fruit scraps and coffee grounds are great additions. Over time, they will break down into compost, a perfect addition to your garden.

Want to Start Composting? Check Out My Composting Articles!

3. Start Seeds at Home Cheaply

There is no reason to run out and purchase tons of things to start seedlings. You can plant the seeds in eggshells or cheap, Styrofoam cups. While the nice looking pots at the store are nice, they are not a necessity to start seeds. I also germinate my seeds in my oven and then later set them under a few lamps.

Check Out My Seed Starting Articles.

Starting Seeds

4. Homemade Potting Soil

If you need to fill raised beds, the cost of potting soil gets pricey fast, or you might want to just add in some extra soil to areas that need to be filled.

I use a similar recipe I found from the Prairie Homestead, except I use peat moss. A bag of peat moss costs around $9, but you get a lot of material.

5. Save Your Seeds

It is essential to save your seeds. We grow a strict heirloom garden because we want to save seeds. If we had to purchase all of those seeds again each year, it could cost over $170 a year.

Saving seeds is a skill. Start off small and save the easiest ones first such as peas, beans, and zucchini.

6. Use Homemade Fertilizers

Fertilizers play an important role in your garden. They aid and encourage the growth of your plants. You don’t have to go to the store and purchase bags of fertilizer. There are things around your house that work just as well.

  • Coffee grounds add nitrogen, potassium, and magnesium to your garden.
  • Teabags have very similar nutrients to coffee grounds. Tomatoes love tea bags!
  • Eggshells are a source of calcium. Dry and crush them up, then sprinkle where you plant tomatoes.
  • Grass clippings are a free source of nitrogen for your garden!
  • Fish scraps can be pureed with water and milk for an excellent fertilizer. You can also use the water from your aquariums to water your plants.

Learn more about 9 fertilizers you have at home already!

Grass Clippings

7. Find Free Mulch Sources

Mulch is beneficial for your garden. It helps to retain moisture and deter weed growth. Organic mulch also adds nutrients back into the soil as it decomposes.

My favorite mulch choice is grass clippings. After my husband cuts the grass, I layer some throughout my garden beds. You could also use compost or dried, shredded leaves.

8. Do a Bit At A Time

I have several raised beds, but each year I add something more. You might have dreams of a garden with 10 raised beds, arches, containers everywhere, and more.

That sounds lovely, but you might need to start with 2 raised beds and a few containers. Don’t go nuts!

Be Creative!

Some of the best gardening when you’re broke ideas involve you being creative. I love to see what other homesteaders and gardeners come up with as a way to expand their garden cheaply.

Do you have any suggestions for gardening when you’re broke?

Want to learn more about gardening? Grab my new book, The Vegetable Garden Plan!

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10 thoughts on “8 Gardening When You’re Broke Tips

  1. I saw on Pinterest how to ues empty toilet paper rolls to make pots to start seeds in. This is a great idea as I am broke and do want to grow some of my own veggies.

    1. Yes! That’s such a great idea. You can use toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, egg cartons, or make pots out of newspapers!

    2. I use newspapers to make free pots. Newspapers come in the junk mail so totally free. I tear strips about 2-3 inches wider than I want the pots to be tall. Wrap it around a can or bottle and fold in the bottom and press it to crease the folds. Slide it off and 1 free pot ready to go. I collect the newspapers for a couple of months during winter and make a tray or two a week while dreaming of seed started and garden season.

      1. Yes! Newspapers can make fantastic pots. You can use them to start seeds, and that’s super cheap. Such a smart idea!

  2. Why not use urine if you don’t take medicins? Dilute it about 5 times with water and you get great fertilizer. Better not sprinkle it on de leaves altough that doesn’t matter if you wash everything properly.

    1. I personally have never tried using urine, but I do know that people swear by it! Have you tried it? Does it work well? I would love to hear about your experiences.

  3. Ok√©, I’ll try but my English is a bit rusty. Yes, I use urine with water every year for te plants and the grass as well. It sounds dirty but my friend uses human feces from her bio-toilet.
    Ofcourse it has to be composted first, together with the leaves en whatever she uses to cover
    the poo in the toilet. You will get very pure, not smelling, compost. Now and then I dig a hole, put all the dogpoo in and cover it with soil. Within een few weeks you will have loads of earthworms and compost. This was ‘praatje poep!’ (It means little poo chat)

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