Frugal Living: How to Save Money in the Garden

Frugal folks know that a garden is a great way to save money on groceries. 

Growing your own fruits, herbs, and vegetables can be one of the best ways to cut back on the ever rising cost of food. Small garden space or large, growing your own food does not take a lot of money or space to get started and the longer that you participate then the less investment it is to maintain. 

There are also quite a few ways to cut down on the basic costs of gardening. Composting, saving your seeds, selling at Farmer's markets, and trading sprigs or plants with others are a few simple ways to cut spending and increase your garden's financial rewards. There are a number of cost efficient ways to cultivate and grow your own food. A little ingenuity can help lower even the most basic expenditures. 

One of the first costs in gardening is acquiring nutrient rich soil. Many spend a fair share of money purchasing dirt, manure, and fertilizers to enrich and maintain their garden plot. Past the initial installation of your garden bed this cost is generally unnecessary. The kitchen waste that gets thrown away can be turned into nutrient rich compost instead. With a little pre-planning garden quality soil can be had completely free of charge. Any earth bed can be enriched by composting vegetation back into it.

It is esti mated that the average US household throws away about 200 pounds of vegetation in their trash each year. What a waste that is. Vegetable matter from the kitchen is mineral rich material that can easily be converted into quality soil in a mere matter of weeks. Composting can save you a lot of money.

Composting your kitchen waste is quite easy. It only takes 3 factors to turn that vegetation into compost and these are dirt, sun, and water. All vegetable matter including fruit or vegetable peelings and trimmings, nut shells, egg shells, tea bags, coffee grounds, and small pieces of cardboard or paper can be composted. Just add dirt, water and sunshine to begin the process. Items that should never be put into your compost site are lard, oil, grease, meat or fish products, dairy or cheese products, pet wastes, or any other potentially toxic contaminants.

It's easy. For creating a small compost site simply dig a shallow hole at one corner of your garden area in which to deposit your vegetable waste. Pop your compostable material into the hole and lightly cover it with dirt. Add a sprinkling of water and then stir the compost pile on a regular basis to increase the speed at which composting will occur. Nutrient rich soil can be produced within four to five weeks in a well maintained compost pile.

For large field farming red or white clover are nutrient rich plants that can be alternated on garden sections and then at the end of the growing season plowed into the ground to enrich the earth. By switching around the growing areas each year the red clover's nutrients will help to naturally enrich the soil.

Avoid GMO (genetically modified) Seeds by Harvesting Your Own: Not only can you harvest seeds for your own use but you can also harvest organic seeds to sell at local flea markets and farmer's markets. There are a couple of reasons why it is wise to gather your own seeds or seedlings. Doing so will logically help you to save on gardening costs but there is also an environmental twist as well. Many modern seeds are genetically modified or come coated with chemical pesticides (GMO). When you harvest your own organic seed you can provide a safer healthier food alternative for both your family and any creatures who may come in contact with your garden area. This is especially important for pollinators such as bees and butterflies.

One of the largest costs involved in gardening is the acquisition of seeds. A lot of gardeners generally make an annual trip each spring to purchase the seed and seedlings they will need that year. This is unfortunate because much of this expense can be avoided. There are many types of seed and seedlings that are free for your use and all it takes to acquire them is a flat space to dry them and a small container to store them.

The seed can be acquired from vegetables or fruit as we consume them. Just remove a selection of seed from the chosen food and set them out onto a paper towel to dry. Then store the dried seed in a small labeled brown paper bag till the next planting season. Tomato, beans, peas, apple, watermelon, lettuce, and sunflower are examples of a few easy to acquire seeds.

Share Seedlings and Clippings With Other Gardeners: Seedlings are an item that can be acquired without cost. Most gardeners are willing to share and all it takes is a few minutes to ask if they are willing to share a few sprigs of their plant or bush with you. Many fruit and herb gardeners are only too thrilled to pass along small sections of their plants as well as a few tips for their care.

Harvesting and Saving Seeds from the Garden

Apple, pear, cherry, and nut trees, as well as raspberries, strawberries or other fruit bushes can be inexpensively acquired in this manner. Most trees and bushes need trimming or pruning anyway so sharing isn't usually a problem where these items are concerned. If you spot something out there that you like just take a few minutes to stop by to say hi and ask if you might have a sprig or two to take home with you. When it comes your turn to do pruning pass along the bounty and share a few sprigs with your neighbours.

When selecting your garden items choosing plants that are perennial or that spread quickly can be a highly economic way to begin a garden. Raspberries, strawberries, chives, garlic, Swiss char, and asparagus will return year after year and the purchase of a few may be all that you need. Within three or four years their off shoots will provide you with all the bounty you need.

A Small Space Shouldn't Stop Your Green Thumb From Blooming
Herbs can easily be grown in containers

Space should never be an issue. Container gardening can be just as much fun as having a full garden space. You can create a small container garden in an apartment, on a balcony, on a patio deck, or in your yard. You can easily hang a basket or use a window planter to create a small herb, lettuce, or strawberry garden.If you have your own yard then clearing a space for a bed can initially be a bit of heavy work but having your own garden is so worth the effort once your plot is complete. From there it is simply a matter of maintenance.

Harvesting Seeds Part II

Gardening is a fun hobby that allows you the perfect opportunity to get out in the sunshine and play in the dirt. If you have joint or back issues then raised garden beds are the ideal solution. They can help save you a lot of back pain later in the game. I prefer this type of gardening bed because they make weeding a breeze.​

There are many ways to garden. Indoors or outdoors, on a patio, or in a full garden plot. You choose your garden style and then plant in the manner that suits where you reside. Grow a green thumb today. Even if you live in an apartment it is possible to have fresh herbs and vegetables. In a well lighted area of your apartment you can have container pots of herbs, dwarf trees, or lettuce rather than the standard houseplants that usually dwell in these areas. If you have a balcony then you can easily plant a small lettuce, herb, or pea garden in balcony boxes. There are also smaller size green houses that can tuck into nooks and crannies indoors or out. Even a small garden can bring great enjoyment for those who own them.

Composting can be accomplished in an apartment too. Just use a pail or container to store your vegetable waste or combine it with dirt in a planter. You can do a small pail compost on your balcony or take a trip to an outdoor area where you can return the vegetable waste to mother nature and let her take care of the composting for you. She's always willing to help out in the process you just have to supply her with the waste material and she'll provide the sunshine and water.​

You also have the option to go organic which can help to reduce the pesticides and other toxins you and your family might otherwise consume. This gives you the added benefit of knowing the products that you set on your dinner table are not only fresh but also healthier.