Blog: Budget-Friendly Gardening

Sep 21, 2017
Starting to Seed!


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I have made a decision this year to have a small, thriving vegetable garden but to try to save money gardening where I can.

I have already bought my seeds at an outlet store at a 40 percent discount. These are good, name brand seeds packaged for this year. I’m splitting the cost with a neighbor, as one package contains enough seeds for both of us.

I’m also starting everything from seed this year: tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and broccoli, to name a few.

I have saved last year’s black plastic trays that six-packs of seedlings come in and use them as the base for my small seed-starting pots. I have also saved the plastic deli food containers with clear lids that you sometimes find in grocery stores and at take-out restaurants.

I’m saving newspapers in my basement to use as mulch between the rows in the garden. The layers of newspaper will keep the weeds at bay and keep moisture in the soil.

I have also invested in two inexpensive plastic garbage cans that I will use to collect rainwater to supplement water from the tap for watering.

Do you have some money-saving tips? Please share with us below.

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Your Old Farmer's Almanac editors occasionally share our reflections, advice, and musings—and welcome your comments.

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I use the website

I use the website year, my goal is to learn how to do preserving and canning. I do not have the money to buy the "Mason Jars"/ However, I put a wanted ad on and a lady is giving me dozens of jars!!! Also, ask around. Maybe some people have "two many" strawberries plants growing in their garden. Someone gave me a bunch of plants last year. I am also looking for advices so please visit my blog at
Let's all help each other! Thank you!

I know this sounds weird but

I know this sounds weird but I've been using Rabbit food to start seeds in, and also as a fertilizer for many plants, even potted ones. Have you ever read the label? There's a lot good things in there. I found that I just can't afford to buy the plastic 3" or 4" pots to move the seedlings into before transplanting out into the garden. So I started buying the 16 or 20 ounce "Red" store brand plastic drink cups from walmart. You can use a small hand drill or what I use, a soldering iron to make holes in the bottom of the cups. The cups last several seasons; in really hot seasonal places they may not. I use them mainly for the seedlings I start indoors; and at the least time outside 2 to 2-1/2 weeks outside. The roots grow longer in these cups anyway. I DO use plastic 1 Gallon milk jugs for planting too. I grow One head of Lettuce in those during the Wintertime on a well lit windowsill. I also try to use plastic soda bottles for the same purpose, before recycling them. They can also be "Mini Hothouses" too.

All the peels from the food

All the peels from the food we eat go into the blender with water and I spread this instant compost around fruit trees and in my pots and the herb garden. Grass clippings go around my trees on the side yard and the back yard.

To save money on watering, I

To save money on watering, I use my rinse water from my dishes to water my herb garden outside the kitchen door. On one of my flower beds, I use the rinse water from my washer (running out a hose to the garden)

Recycle water

Had a neighbor who used the laundry water to water the garden, everything that grew tasted like soap, so be careful.

Using eggshell halves to

Using eggshell halves to start seeds in is also a money saver. Once the seeds sprout, you can just plant the whole thing. Also, do not use hybrid seeds as you cannot save the seeds from the fruit to plant the next year.

I use old venetian blind

I use old venetian blind slats for seedling markers. The plastic ones cut easily with a scissor and can be used for outdoor plant identifiers as well.

I use old ventian blind slats

I use old ventian blind slats for plant markers when starting seedlings. You can cut them easily with a scissor and use a permanent marker to identify the plant.
I have nasty slug broccoli looks like lace in no time. I heard that surrounding the plant with Perlite will keep them away. Anybody tried this?

I haven't tried perlite, but

I haven't tried perlite, but I got hundreds of slugs with these traps: Cut the spout end off a plastic beverage bottle just where it reaches the fattest diameter. Take that end pour-spout thing and turn it around, so it's pointing inside the bottle and fasten with staples or good glue. Pour a little beer inside and lay it on its side in the garden. The slugs are drawn to the beer. You can add extra yeast to make it more desirable. The slugs either drown or just can't get back out and die in there.

I read this on some blog a few years ago, had all the stuff at home, so I threw it together and was so stoked to find about 10-20 slugs/morning in the traps as long as I kept em in beer. Didn't even know I had so many slugs. This is sooo satisfying!


Put some beer in jar lids and put them into the garden that should help

I too have started my seeds,

I too have started my seeds, but I read a book about New England and they rec. that you plant broccoli seeds in the ground and it aids in the bolting issue. It works perfect and I have plenty of broccoli.
I also grow huge bell peppers in pots since the soil can be a challenge in NE, and they are true organic and monster loaded plants. #1 thing is every morning I have a small amount of unflavored coffee left over and I add warm water to it and give the seeds and then plants a daily drink. They love it and it is high in Nutrients..You can put save used grounds and hot water and let it sit till next day makes a nice tea for the plants too or use the grounds in the potting mix with the seeds. Guarantee to grow. Happy growing all

To save money when water your

To save money when water your garden. I place one-two gallon buckets in the garden filled with rain water or water from the creek, not the hose. I then cut strips of old cloth ( like from t-shirts, or sheets) I cut the from about 2' wide down to a point and as long as i need the reach the plant from the water bucket. pLace the wide end in the water bucket and the pointed end at teh base of your plant. Thw water will wick through the cloth and give the plant a continued slow supply of water.

I save money by using

I save money by using ammendments that ya have on hand, such as saving and crushing and applying eggshells around my tomatoes, and believe it or not..pulverized banana peels really make everything in the veggie garden so healthy!!! Try 'em!!


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