Seasoned gardeners begin plotting their gardens at the end of winter. For most, growing food does not even occur to those until summer. But those who know know anything about gardening know that you must get started in the spring.
Starting early will help you get a plan which in the long run will help you save money. Gardening is one of the huge money savers during the summer. Food eats up a monthly budget (pun intended), but a garden can help you par down that cost. Think about it, after the initial cost of planting and supplies, you can ‘live off the land’ for free! How great is that? Depending on the size of garden you have, you can grow many fruits and vegetables that would cost you bucko bucks at the grocery store. That being said, you can spend a lot of money on a garden if you are not careful.
If you are not too picky about your plants and are willing to be resourceful, here are some ways to keep your gardening costs down low.
- Start from seeds. Yes, starting from seedlings will take longer but you will reap the financial benefits. Nurseries and home improvement stores will sell you plant starts. A general rule of thumb is the bigger the start, the more expensive it will be. Growing and nurturing a seed from the beginning is the most difficult part of the plant growing process. Nurseries are banking that you will pay extra to have the work done for you, but for a price. For example, a packet of tomato seeds will cost a dollar or two, but will have almost a hundred seeds. One tomato plant start will cost at least $3 each.
- Mooch off of friends. It sounds lame, but you can save a lot of money on your garden by getting help from friends. Many plants grow rapidly and send out shoots. These shoots will dig deep into the ground creating new roots. These new roots can be uprooted and moved elsewhere. If you have a kind friend who has such a plant and is willing to part with one, you might be in luck. You can also go in with your friends. As I mentioned before, a pack of seeds can have a ton of seeds, often more than one person would actually need. Make it cheaper by sharing seeds with a friend. You can also find extra or unwanted seeds on websites like Craigslist.com or Freecycle.com.
- Use perennials wisely. Perennials are plants that come back year after year. These kind of plants can be a wise investment as you only have the initial investment to worry about. Perennials can be grown from seed or, more popularly, purchased as a start. Use perennials throughout your landscaping to help keep it lush year after year. Some food plants act as perennials like strawberries or raspberries. One misconception is that perennials live forever. All plants do have a life cycle, so take advantage of those with a longer one.