Unfortunately, not all of us are naturally gifted with a green thumb. There are some people who seem to be naturals when it comes to growing happy and healthy plants: everything they touch just seems to flourish. Others of us are not as fortunate. To get our gardens to grow, we need the help of the gardening specialists at our local Home Depot or plant nursery, and a wallet flush with cash to finance it all.
Does this mean that without a green thumb or a big budget your garden is doomed to mediocrity? Not at all. Just like with most things in life, your attitude and work ethic go a long way toward saving money. There are a lot of ways to successfully grow a garden without pulling out a credit card or asking yourself "where are title loans near me?." Here's 5 of the best we've found so far.
Fertilizer is expensive. For something that's essentially just decomposed organic matter, good quality fertilizer costs more than you would expect. This is why one of the smartest economic choices you can make when planning your garden is to begin composting in advance. This doesn't have to be complicated or fancy; just invest in a composting container to toss your leftover food and organic matter, and you'll soon have some yummy plant food for a fraction of the cost of buying it at the store.
A healthy garden requires as much time and patience as it does sun and water. When you're first starting out, it may be tempting to buy young plants already started in pots, but that'll cost you far more than if you started with seeds. Besides, doesn't it kind of ruin the fun if you let someone else do half the work?
What if you really are in a hurry or have started late with your planting? Waiting for seeds to sprout and put down solid roots can take weeks, and if your growing season is limited, you could miss the window to have a bountiful harvest. Instead of paying the extra money to grow established starter plants, you can jumpstart your garden by growing from cuttings. By purchasing a single established plant, you can take several cuttings and have a row of healthy young plants ready to go in the ground in a matter of days.
One expensive aspect of keeping a garden that has nothing to do with the actual plants is all the other material it involves: pots, flagstones, mulch, and other landscaping options. More than the plants themselves, those can quickly add to the cost of your garden. As an affordable alternative to spending all that money on brand new planters, pots and garden pavers, get creative: an old bathtub can be repurposed as a planter and old wooden pallets can be disassembled and used as bed liners. Scavenging from your backyard, bulk trash pickups, and garage sales are always going to be cheaper than going to the gardening center for supplies.
While no one expects to solely survive off of what they plant, most of us would like to enjoy the fruits of our labors, and that's why we're willing to put in the money and work to have a garden. One way of making sure you glean the most benefit from our efforts is to only plant things you can eat. Planting lettuce is just a waste of time, money and bed space if you dislike lettuce. Don't beat yourself up about being a picky eater. Just plant what you'll enjoy eating and your garden will be more than worth the effort.