You clipped the coupons, stalked the sales, traded your goods, and banked the profit. You even found a way to save a lot more by filing your taxes for free at DIY Tax. You are master-of-all deals, so it makes sense that a garden hobby and its low cost/ high yield nature was made for you! We've thought of more ways that you can create a garden you will love and stay within your budget. 

Share the Expense

Often, beginning gardeners find themselves with more produce than they know what to do with.  Enlisting a friend who is also interested in starting a garden can help you share the bounty, but also the start-up costs, tools and labor. Grab a friend or two on the weekend, make a pitcher of lemonade, crank up the tunes, and have an afternoon in sun getting your hands dirty.  It’s a great way to connect with a neighbor or strengthen a relationship with a coworker. If sharing a gardening area doesn't work for you, you can start container gardens together. Hey, you’ll even have someone trusted to watch the garden this summer when you’re on vacation.

Play “Extreme Potting!”

Creative types have been making pots out of every thing you can think of for as long as gardening has been around. Why not make a game of it and call it "Extreme Potting?" Using things that everyone already owns (It's cheating if you go out to buy something new, even from a thrift store or consignment shop!) find out who in your gardening group can come up with the wackiest pot!

Top Ten Household Things You Can Use As Pots:

  1. Wheelbarrows
  2. Baskets
  3. Boots
  4. Toilets 
  5. Colanders 
  6. Teacups 
  7. Old Drawers
  8. Clean water bottles
  9. Tires
  10. Pallets

Make sure to come up fun and funky prizes for the top three places--things that your friends will use in their gardens: gnomes, yard flag sets, stepping stones, watering cans. 

Use Recyclables to Start

Soils, fertilizers, starter pot kits, fancy tags and support items are all available for you to buy to get your seeds started, but they also all exist already in your recycling bin. Any small container that you can make drainage holes in the bottom of can work as a starter pot and compost is the safest and cheapest fertilizer. Check it out.

Top Five Recyclables to use as starters:

  1. Soda Cans
  2. Toilet paper rolls
  3. Takeout containers
  4. Pallets 
  5. Fast food soda cups

As a side note, polystyrene (foam) peels away easy when it is time to replant your seedlings into the garden.  Paper and cardboard can sometimes be directly planted in the ground as it can biodegrade as well as protect your young seedling from stronger weeds.  Plant ID tags can be made from wooden craft sticks or plastic spoons.  Write the name of the plant on it with a permanent marker so you don't mix up your zucchini with your cucumbers before they fruit! Composting kitchen scraps in a small pile in the back of your yard makes a great all-natural fertilizer for your plants.  Hint: Do not compost any meat products or anything with grease on it. That is what attracts insects and other animals that wish to eat your crops. 

When you harvest comes in, have a barbecue with all the people who helped the garden along. Come up with some recipes together and share the cooking duties. Your plants might even yield more than you can use in your household, so be sure to share the crop with those who helped!

How much did you spend on your garden startup? Do you have a creative pot that you used for your garden? Share your answers in the comments below!

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