It’s finally happened—after reading countless articles about the benefits (for both yourself and the planet) of growing your own food and spending time in nature, you’ve decided to give gardening a go. But you’ve heard from others that creating a new garden can be quite costly, and you’d rather save as much coin as you can.
Well, it turns out you don’t need to have a big budget to get started. Here are seven key tips to cut costs, limit consumption, and start your eco-friendly life as a brand new gardener.
Look closely at what you already have
Before you visit your nearest home and hardware store to kit yourself out with new gardening gear, take a good hard look at what you already have. You might have more material to get you started than you thought.
Besides, observing the space available to you will hint at other aspects of your future garden that will help you avoid making potentially expensive mistakes down the line.
While you look around, keep sun exposure, water, wind, and soil in mind, along with the cycles and flows of the natural world. How can you best harness these elements to achieve your gardening goals?
Do you already have plants growing in your yard? Even weeds can have good yields. Remind yourself that growing a new food-producing garden doesn’t mean scrapping everything you already have. Even plots with ornamental plants could be made to incorporate edible ones.
Make the most of natural resources
The price tag on soil and compost can be high, so instead of buying, make your own! If you’re dreaming of a new vegetable plot, don’t disturb the lawn and soil by digging it up. You can just as easily take the no-dig approach by laying cardboard over the area, followed by a layer of organic materials to compost in place.
Setting up your own composting system (if you don’t have one yet) will also be a great resource for any garden. Making a functional compost takes some time and energy, but the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be able to put this valuable material to use, all free of cost.
For more information on how to start composting, click here.
Think about water from the very beginning
Fresh water is a precious resource, so figuring out how you’re going to water your plants before they’re even in the ground is advisable.
If you have a metered water supply, then save the environment and some money by catching and storing water on your property.
Try harvesting rainwater from your roof to use in your garden, and think about how you can catch and slow water in the soil and plants.
Rescue, reuse, reclaim, repair, recycle
One of the best ways to keep costs low for your new garden is to use household waste (anything from toilet roll tubes or food packaging), upcycled items, and reclaimed material to make bed edging, pathways, and garden structures, seed growers, trellising, and much more!
Take a DIY approach
This tip goes hand-in-hand with the previous one, as you can incorporate lots of potential waste in your new garden.
On top of that, be mindful about learning more than just gardening skills if you really want to make the most of your garden space. Mastering other traditional skills like sowing seeds from scratch, growing veggies from scraps, and taking cuttings or diving plants are key strategies in plant propagation that can cut costs. The more you do yourself, the more money you save.
Share and cooperate
It’s important to remember that you don’t have to take on this whole project by yourself. Get involved in your community’s gardening club or join a local gardening Facebook group so you can attend seed swaps and share resources like a tool bank.
Also, try to boost the biodiversity of your garden as much as you can. The local wildlife will help you above and below the soil, making your ecosystem more resilient and less reliant on outside resources you would have to purchase otherwise.
Choose plants carefully
To achieve the best results and minimize your losses, you need to select the right plants for the right regions. Think about how your selection of plants will help and each other contribute to the greater whole. If you make mindful choices for your garden from the outset, then you create a better chance for longevity.