Gardening can be tremendously expensive or nearly free—it depends on your budget, creativity and goals. For the frugal gardener, you might want to harvest an edible or gorgeous garden without breaking the bank. After all, what’s the use of a delectable homecooked meal featuring the literal fruits of your labor when it’s cheaper to get organic produce from the local farmer’s market?
Start by shopping for seasonal discounts, just like you do with everything else. If it’s not in season right now, it can probably be scored for a great price. Look for off-season plants or those who are a little past their prime but can still work for you. Pick up seeds as they’re moved to the clearance rack year-round, since their shelf life is much more generous. Exercise your green thumb to bring plants in need of a little TLC back to life.
However, savvy shopping is just one way to go frugal.
1. Transplant Trading Brigade
Every party has a pooper—but that’s a good (and fertile) thing for gardeners. Bring all your gardening friends together for a transplant trading event, since many people have more plants each year than they can use. Late spring is a perfect time to trade duplicate herbs, tomatoes, flowers and other garden favorites. Add a potluck into the mix, featuring garden ingredients, and that’s a party no one will miss.
2. Hello, Dolly
Dolly the sheep might have given cloning a strange name, but when it comes to plants you can’t beat cloning. Reproducing premium plants via root divisions is easy for the savvy gardener. Once you get into mid season, gather cuttings and root them right away. June is the best month to do this and you can quickly double several crops, from rosemary to geraniums.
3. Compost Away
There’s no excuse for not composting, especially when it’s so easy to make your own. Why not use your “garbage” to give your garden the fertilizer it craves? Plus, you’re helping the environment at the same time.
4. Water Smart
Water in the evenings and your plants will be able to enjoy this wet nourishment for longer. Watering in the heat of the day means water will evaporate more quickly, with less of it actually doing the plants any good. Be sure not to over or under water as well.
From keeping an eye out for affordable gardening tools, nursery specials and learn cost saving tips from your local gardening store; there’s always a way to save your green in more ways than one.