How to get into the garden on a budget
You don’t need a green thumb to have a beautiful yard, courtyard, balcony pots or an indoor kitchen herb garden nor do you need to grow everything from seed. Starting a garden can be simple and cheap, as well as frugal long term.
Having freshly cut flowers in your home can be expensive and the cost of buying herbs from the supermarket is high! To grow your own at a fraction of the cost is easy on a budget and many people enjoy it as a hobby.
The easiest and most cost effective way of improving your yard and garden is to spring clean! Get rid of any rubbish and clutter, trim the hedges and plants, mow the lawn etc.
Improve Soil and Mulch
Mulching will keep your plants healthy and can be done at home for free by simply recycling your kitchen waste. If you don’t have a compost bin, you can simply bury your grated vegies into the dirt of your vegie or herb garden – a great way to improve your soil and get those worms busy!
Sharing your plants by dividing them and replanting, or giving cuttings to your friends and family is a great way to get new plants for free. Find some like-minded friends who are willing to share and set-up a monthly or quarterly swap – anything that multiplies easily or grows from a cutting. Depending on where you live, some great plants to use are agapanthus, bromeliads, geraniums, succulents and more.
Buying in bulk will result in a cheaper unit price – especially with bulbs. If you can’t afford the total price, find some friends who are also interested and share the purchase.
Check the website of your local Council to see if they offer free plants. Some have plant days, others give vouchers for two free native plants a year.
We were lucky enough to know someone who worked in a nursery who supplied us with over twenty pots of dwarf agapanthus for free! Nurseries regularly throw out plants that aren’t “perfect” so get friendly with your ‘local’ and ask if you can inspect their ‘throw outs’.
If buying plants, look for the smaller (and cheaper) versions and nurture them to full size yourself. Try to buy at the end of a season to get a discounted price (except for annuals as they will die before you can enjoy). Visit fetes and markets to buy discounted plants … do a full inspection and ensure they are still disease free and healthy.
Remember that whatever you start, you have to maintain. Don’t waste your money on intricate landscapes if you aren’t going to have the time and effort to look after your investment. A simple, neat and tidy lawn or garden with a potted native can look just as effective as a detailed cottage garden with loads of plants and trees. Plan ahead and consider what you’re able to maintain.
What grows best in your garden?
I’m off to find my green thumb.