Growing your own food can be a great way to save money. But it can be a bit overwhelming to figure out all the things you need to purchase and how much it will cost you.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to be frugal and still have the freshest and most delicious fruits and vegetables you can find. In fact, many of these frugal gardening tips actually diminish garden costs over time!
1. Start with Seeds
Growing your own vegetables and fruits can be a great way to save money on groceries. Horticulturalist Heidi Wood says you can often grow enough produce to make your gardening investment worth the time it takes to get started.
One of the most inexpensive ways to start plants is by germinating seeds indoors. The process is a bit different for each type of plant, but the general principles are the same.
When starting seeds, be sure to use a soil-like medium for the best results. This can be purchased or made by composting your vegetable peelings or by mixing equal parts of manure and topsoil.
To save money, consider using recycled containers such as egg cartons, milk jugs or yogurt cups to start seeds. These are biodegradable and can be used repeatedly over the course of several seasons.
2. Look for Seasonal Discounts
Frugal shoppers know that when it comes to saving money, timing is everything. For example, big-ticket items such as TVs and computers usually go on sale in January after the winter holidays.
For frugal gardeners, a great time to look for discounts on seeds is when the store has moved them from their inventory to clearance shelves. These are typically plants that have been treated as annuals, and they’re likely to be much cheaper than their true spring or summer counterparts.
This can be a great way to save if you’re planting a lot of trees, shrubs, and perennials. It’s also a good time to score deals on those plants that need a little TLC, since they’re in need of a fresh start. In addition, fall is a great time to stock up on tools and mulch, as well as patio furniture and pots for your garden. Then when the snow flies in winter, you’ll be ready to plant next year’s crop!
3. Compost Your Vegetable Peelings
Fruit and vegetable peels are a large part of household waste, but they can also be an extremely valuable resource for the environment. Many fruits and vegetables contain a higher concentration of nutrients in their rinds or skins than their flesh.
Vegetable peels can be composted or used as fertilizer in your garden, and they contain nutrients such as potassium, calcium, and nitrogen, which are vital to healthy soil. Some peels, like banana peels, can even be used as plant fertiliser right away, without waiting for them to compost.
You can compost your vegetable peelings in a simple home compost bin. This is an inexpensive way to recycle your food waste and yard waste, which can reduce household waste by up to 30%. It’s also a great way to decrease your energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, which is especially important in a time of climate change.
4. Don’t Overbuy
There are many benefits to gardening, but one thing to remember is that it can be a costly hobby. To start, make a detailed list of all the fruits and vegetables you buy each week. This will help you get a clear picture of your food budget and focus your frugal gardening efforts.
In addition, consider what you are growing and how much space it will take up. This will allow you to choose the best plants for your garden and save on plant nursery fees.
As a general rule, the biggest cost savings are likely to be found in seeds. Seeds from local nurseries are often sold at a fraction of the cost of commercially available varieties and can be saved and reused year after year. In fact, if you’re serious about saving money in the garden, you might even be able to save some cash by starting your own seeds from scratch! This is the best way to ensure you’re getting quality seed that will grow well in your area.