You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a beautiful flower garden or a productive vegetable garden. With a bit of creativity, resourcefulness and the tips in this article you can have a garden you can be proud of, without breaking the bank.
Saving money on plants
My number one tip for saving money on plants for your garden is to network with other gardeners. Friends, family members, neighbours and members of the local garden club can all be amazing sources of free plants for your garden. Gardeners often grow tired of certain plants, have extra seeds to share, or need to divide perennials that are getting too big. Many are only too happy to share these treasures with other gardeners.
Get to know your neighbours with gardens you admire. Stop to chat if you see them out gardening. Not only may they share some plants or seeds with you, but they may be able to tell you about great plant deals or local sources. You can also learn more about which plants do well in your area, which can help you avoid some costly mistakes.
Be sure to check out your local horticultural society or garden club for free gardening talks and information on upcoming plant sales or seed exchanges.
Offer to swap plant cuttings, seeds or plants you are dividing with your gardening friends. This is a great way to add variety to your garden without spending any money.
Always be sure to research plant varieties before buying, and choose plants that are disease resistant and are known to do well in your region. Don’t be tempted to spend money on tender plants that are not likely to thrive in your garden. They require too much care, and if they don’t survive you will have wasted your money.
Perennials that spread or grow bigger each year are a great investment. In my area, hydrangea, daylilies, hostas, coneflowers and daisies all do very well with minimal effort or watering. Each year I have bigger plants which can be divided and moved to other areas of my gardens (or traded with other gardeners.)
Saving money on seeds
Many vegetables, annual flowers and perennials grow well from seed. You can save a lot of money by starting these plants from seed, rather than buying the starter plants.
To find cheap sources of seeds for your garden, try any of the following sources:
- eBay, Freecycle.org or Craigslist
- Online seed companies and seed catalogues – often the larger quantities you buy the more you save, so it can be worthwhile to split the cost of a bulk order with gardening friends looking for the same seeds.
- Garden clubs and horticultural societies often organize seed exchanges
- Online gardening forums can be a great source of free or inexpensive seeds
- Friends and neighbours may be willing to give you some of the seeds from their plants or trade with you for some of yours
- At the end of the growing season, most stores mark down their seed packages substantially, in order to make room for fresh seeds in the new year. You can often purchase discounted seed packages for as much as 90% off the regular price at the end of the summer or early fall. These seeds generally are fine to plant the following year
- If you have certain flowers that you particularly like, be sure to let them go to seed and save the seeds or seed pods to use in other areas of your garden
Sources of cheap (or free) gardening supplies
|Plants & Seeds||Tools||Other Gardening Items|
|Neighbours & friends||Yard sales||Library – books, magazines & DVDs|
|Plant sales and swaps||Auctions||Recycled containers – flower pots, bird feeders, bird baths|
|eBay, Craigslist and Kijiji||Friends & neighbours||Local municipality – compost or composters|
|Seed exchanges||Flea markets||Flea markets, auctions and yard sales- garden decorations and furniture|
|Freecycle.org||End-of-season sales||Freecycle.org, Kijiji or Craigslist|
|Local garden club or horticultural society||Craigslist, Kijiji or Freecycle.org||Friends and neighbours|
Other ways to save money gardening
In addition to saving money on plants, gardening tools and supplies, there are a few other ways to reduce the amount of money you spend maintaining your garden. These include:
- Mulch your garden to help the soil retain moisture and reduce the need to water. Mulching also keeps the weeds down.
- Grow drought resistant varieties of plants as often as possible to reduce the need to water and keep your water costs down.
- Make your own compost to apply to the garden soil to help improve the health of your plants without the need for fertilizers.
Do you like to garden? I’d love to hear your favourite tips for saving money gardening!