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» Plant a Budget Garden

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My life is not always such that I can invest heavily in garden plans. So, like any frugal shopper I start early. really early, like January when there are sales everywhere. Or I shop for some supplies just before winter (again, a great time for good buys). Before shopping, however, it’s important to take stock in what you have, what you really need, and also have a “wish list” just in case you find that great treasure at a great price.

To save money on soil additives, composting is an ideal solution. It’s important, however, to check with your local building codes, many of which require specific composting containers and conditions to keep pests away. Composting won’t save money if you get hit with a fine so do your research. If you find you can compost then you can start saving nearly everything from fall leaves and grass to coffee, eggshells, human hair, salad bits starting to brown, etc. What a great way to recycle!

Next, onto seeds. The price of seeds, especially vegetable seeds, is very reasonable. If you start yours in left over egg cartons for seedlings, you’ll have plenty of plants for the full growing season. You may want to ask friends to participate in a seedling exchange with this in mind. Say you grow 30 some tomato plants, friend A grows 30 cucumber seedlings, family B grows 30 lettuce seedlings, etc. If you all exchange a few plants you’ll likely still have leftovers! Speaking of which, make sure you and your seed-exchange cooperative remember to save seeds at the end of the season too. Then you won’t have to buy new the next year.

The idea with seedling vegetables holds true with herbs, especially if you dry them. Get together with your exchange group to trade, and also to create wonderful organic blends for culinary efforts. Hey while you’re at it, exchange separated flower bulbs and extra annuals too. When you have several eyes watching for bargains, everyone benefits. Some neighborhoods even go so far as to have a spring exchange that’s also a party! It’s a great way to share excess while reconnecting with the people in your community.

Beyond this advice, always start out small with gardening. This hobby can quickly eat up time and budgets, especially when you’re new and enthusiastic. For example, having hand tools is very nice but they don’t have to be high-end names to be perfectly functional for several growing seasons. Look for something sturdy, and don’t depend on the price tag to indicate quality. There are several department stores that carry their own lines of items at reasonable prices, and back them with warrantees. This is where I recommend most people start shopping for their budget garden tools. If you want fancier stuff later, no problem! You won’t have blown your budget in the first season.


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