How to Garden When You’re Broke

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Gardening is meant to save you money, but the beginning start up costs can feel overwhelming. Or, you might have a tough year and not have enough money to start up for the year.

Either way, there are some ways for you to garden when’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 budget. Some of these require that you gardened before, but otherwise, most of these tips can be used from the start.

  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 are safe for usage. If you are short on cash, pallets are a great way to make raised beds on a budget.
  2. 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. It comes in handy for…


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


  4. Save Your Seeds: It is essential to save your seeds. We grow a strictly 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.
  5. Start Seeds 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.
  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.
    • Tea bags have very similar nutrients to coffee grounds. Tomatoes love tea bags!
    • Egg shells 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.


  7. 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.

These are my favorite ways to save money while gardening. I want to save as much as I can so that I profit even more from my surplus. How do you save money while gardening? Let me know in the comments!

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