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How to Start a Garden on a Budget

It might feel like you need “all the things” to start a garden. That’s not true. Start small and start where you are. ⁣My first garden was a 4’x4′ raised bed made from pine boards that Home Depot cut for me. That bed lasted over 10 years and grew a huge amount of food.

How to Start a Garden on a Budget

Starting a garden on a budget does not have to be daunting. Good advice to follow is, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” Here are 10 simple ways to start your garden without breaking the bank:

Download the printable “How to Start a Garden on a Budget”


1. Start Small:

To minimize costs and workload, begin with a small sunken bed or container garden. It’s easier to expand later as your confidence grows. A sunken bed has minimal start-up cost and can be a very effective way to garden. To learn more, read this post about sunken-bed gardening.


2. Reuse and Recycle:

When starting your garden, use items you already have around the house. Old containers, cement blocks, and bathtubs can be used as planters to save money. Think outside the garden box and use the ideas in this blog post about creative container gardening.

When starting your garden, use items you already have around the house. Old containers, cement blocks, and bathtubs can be used as planters to save money.

3. Swap Seeds and Plants:

Swap seeds or cuttings with friends, neighbors, or online communities. This way, you can get a variety of plants for free.

  • Seed packages often contain more seeds than you will use; split packages with friends.
  • Learn how to save seeds so you always have some to share.
  • Local libraries often have seed libraries where you can check out seeds for free!
Swap seeds or cuttings with friends, neighbors, or online communities. This way, you can get a variety of plants for free.
Starting a garden on a budget? Take advantage of local seed libraries!

4. Make Your Own Compost:

Composting kitchen scraps and yard waste will save money on soil amendments and fertilizers. Although this can be daunting at first, begin composting kitchen scraps with in-bed vermicomposting. If you have a large amount of yard waste, learn how to compost in this blog post.

How to Start a Garden on a Budget

5. Choose Perennials When Starting Your Garden on a Budget:

Perennials come back year after year, saving you money in the long run. Some of my favorite perennials are asparagus, artichokes, Jerusalem artichokes, and strawberries. Learn more about growing perennials in this blog post.

Perennials come back year after year, saving you money in the long run. Some of my favorite perennials are asparagus, artichokes, and strawberries.

6. Grow from Seeds to Save Money Gardening:

Growing plants from seeds is cheaper than buying seedlings or mature plants. Don’t be intimidated by starting plants from seed. If they have good soil and you start them at the right time, seeds will grow!

Growing plants from seeds is cheaper than buying seedlings or mature plants

7. Water Wisely:

Depending on where you live, water can be an expensive part of gardening. Water in the early morning or late evening to reduce evaporation and save on your water bill. Learn other watering principles in this blog post. Learn how to harvest and channel rainwater (an article on that topic is coming soon!).

Depending on where you live, water can be an expensive part of gardening. Water in the early morning or late evening to reduce evaporation and save on your water bill. Learn other watering principles in this blog post. Learn how to harvest and channel rainwater.

Mulch reduces the need for watering and weeding, saving time and money. Places like Chipdrop provide gardeners with free woodchips. Learn more about how to use mulch.



8. DIY Vertical Garden Structures:

Building your own trellises, cages, and supports, instead of buying them, is a simple way to start a garden on a budget. Look around your house or garage and repurpose a ladder or other items. If you want to learn more, read this post about creative vertical gardening ideas.

Building your own trellises, cages, and supports, instead of buying them, is a simple way to start a garden on a budget.

9. Use Natural Pest Control:

When I started gardening, I thought I needed expensive organic pest control amendments and sprays, such as neem oil. But it turns out that using natural methods like companion planting and adding herbs and flowers to your garden to help control pests is more effective and eliminates the need for expensive products. This will save you money and be better for your garden. Learn more about successful companion planting principles in this blog post.

Annual & Perennial Plants to Attract Beneficial Insects & Pollinators

10. Choose High-Yield Crops When Budget Gardening:

Starting a garden on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t grow delicious food. Grow vegetables that produce a lot of food, like tomatoes, zucchini, and beans. You’ll get large harvests with less expense. Choose crops you enjoy eating so there is less waste. 

Grow vegetables that produce a lot of food, like tomatoes, zucchini, and beans. You'll get large harvests with less expense. Choose crops you enjoy eating so there is less waste. 

Bonus Tip: Learn and Experiment When Starting a Garden on a Budget:

The more you learn about gardening, the more you can save. Don’t be afraid to experiment and learn from your mistakes.


Remember, gardening doesn’t have to be expensive. A beautiful and productive garden on a budget is possible with creativity and resourcefulness.  Let me know your best money-saving tips in the comments. 

How to Start a Garden on a Budget

If this post about how to start a garden on a budget was helpful, please share it:

Dee

Thursday 14th of December 2023

I live in Tucson and water is expensive here! I have a 55 gallon rain barrel but it only supplements -- I mostly use city water. I've often wondered how much water you use per month to water all your gardens. Do you use exclusively rainwater? Sometimes I think I spend more money on water than I would spend to buy an equal amount of produce. :(

Angela Judd

Wednesday 20th of December 2023

Water is definitely an issue. Redoing my drip system was very helpful. I got rid of all of the grass/sprinklers and fixed any leaks in the drips. My water bill has gone down for sure. Using rainwater helps too. I'll be posting more content next year about rainwater collection and ways to save on water that will hopefully be helpful for you.