Gardening on a Dime…

Why? Because I need to.

Having been out of college a mere 3 months, I have realized that I have an insane amount of student loans coming up for repayment very soon. Needless to say, this has me scared out of my mind. I have been worried that I won’t be able to afford much of anything, let alone the gardening items that I have been planning on buying. So, I decided to do a little research on cheap gardening ideas; here are a couple tips for you.


This can save you a lot of money on fertilizers throughout the season. All you really need is something large to keep the compost in, and enough space to turn it every now and then. Starting a compost pile is incredibly easy. Almost any organic material is okay for putting in your compost pile. You can use grass clippings or leaves, wood chips, and kitchen waste. The best kind of food waste products to use are egg shells, and fruit or vegetable leftovers such as melon rinds or carrot peelings. Meats are okay, and will decompose eventually, but who really wants the smell of rotten meat in their yard?

Like me, if you have an apartment or are limited on space, you can set up a worm bin in place of a compost pile. All you need other than the red wiggler worms is a plastic tub to keep them in and some shredded newspaper to get started. Once you have that, all you need is a continual supply of kitchen scraps to feed the little guys. In a little while they will have turned all of it into wonderful worm poo for your flower garden.

*Shop Around*

This one is obvious; don’t just buy the first thing you see because you like it. I had been looking for some large planters for my patio for quite a while. The only large ones I could find were plastic and expensive! Seriously, about $30 to $40 for a 20″ pot. My waiting finally paid off the other day when I was shopping at our local Sam’s Club. I found an 18″ cast stone planter for only $9.88! I was so pumped that I bought two, even though they each weighed a ton and barely fit into my trunk.

*Start from Seeds*

Starting from seed does take more time and energy, but can be totally worth the great price. For instance, I spent approximately $10 on flower seeds this year. This $10 investment will fill my patio with colorful blooms all season. I got pansies, violas, impatiens, petunias, alyssum, snapdragons and four o’clocks. All of these are turning into strong little seedlings that will be ready to go outside in a month or two. You can also buy a seed flat for about $2. Doing this will give you a lot more flowers for a cheaper price than buying them at your local greenhouse.

*Share and Trade*

This is a great way to acquire now plants without having to pay a dime! When you’re visiting someone’s house, or are walking by a neighbor’s yard, just ask them! Most gardeners are more than willing to share clippings of their plants. I have done this on several occassions, and have quite a few new houseplants because of it! Also, if you start your plants from seed, there are many people who will swap seeds with you. There are also some good places online where you can swap seeds with people, the National Gardening Association site is a great place to swap your seeds!


If you’re looking at a strict budget, you can also think of growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs. These can certainly save you a good amount of money in the long run; some more than others. I know that as soon as I get my own yard, I am investing in some raspberry bushes- no more paying $5.00 for a very small container of them! Right now I am sticking to my containers, growing Cherry Tomatoes and Lettuce. At least I will have cheap salad all summer, right?

Well, that is all I have for now. If any of you thrifty gardeners out there have any other ideas for saving money, let me know! I’ll be happy to post about your idea, or post about any questions that you guys may have! Until next time, happy gardening!

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