8 ways to garden on the cheap
photo by di the huntress
Garden season doesn’t have to be costly. If you head out to a retail store and buy everything all at once, it’s going to add up quickly. But if you do some careful planning and are patient and creative, you can enjoy a beautiful garden on a shoestring budget.
What ways have you saved on gardening? Here are a few ideas to enjoy frugal gardening.
Look for ads or place an ad. Many people, when they’re moving into a home and/or are redoing their landscaping, will offer plants for free and ask that you remove and haul them. Some people might have garage/yard sales that include plants, too.
Sign up for a few garden and seed company catalogs or newsletters. Many offer promotions and specials with their catalog. This is especially true for first-time buyers. Look on their websites for specials and search for coupon codes, too.
Some nature centers have native-plant sales. It’s a great opportunity to meet fellow gardeners, too.
HOME-IMPROVEMENT STORES AND DISCOUNT DEPARTMENT STORES:
Many garden centers pull plants that aren’t perfect quality and place them in the clearance section. Check this area frequently. They aren’t in prime condition, so they might not have pretty blooms this year, but they will look great next year. While you’re there, join their garden club. For example, you can sign up for Home Depot’s garden club in-store or online by visiting www.homedepotgardenclub.com. You’ll receive garden tips and exclusive savings. And speaking of garden clubs, join your local garden club, plant club or botanical society. You’ll have opportunities to learn more and possibly swap plants and seeds. Don’t be afraid to call nurseries, florists and garden centers, and ask them to contact you if/when they are planning on throwing away any plants. Check to see whether anything can be salvaged. If you do find yourself tempted to buy plants that aren’t on sale, opt for smaller, starter plants, which are cheaper than mature plants.
Many people simply toss away garden plants and supplies. While out and about, keep your eyes open. You might see bricks, plants or signs advertising a plant sale at someone’s home. If you happen to see construction crews or landscapers hauling materials, stop and ask whether they have any plants or garden materials (many tree and shrub branches can be rooted) they plan on throwing away or composting.
FRIENDS AND FAMILY:
Ask whether they have plans to divide perennials. Offer to help them, and ask whether you can have a few divisions. In the future, you can swap plants.
Don’t forget to save seeds from plants. Visit www.wintersown.org/wseo1/Specific_Varieties.html for a list of seed-saving possibilities, such as coneflower, columbine, poppy, marigold and lupine to name a few and information on how to save the seeds. Once you have seeds saved, not only can you expand your own garden, you have something to trade with other gardeners, too.
FARMERS AND FLEA MARKETS:
Don’t overlook plants being sold at your local markets. The prices are often far less than you’ll find at retail stores. You’ll find large and starter plants. Some of these vendors will be open to haggling, too.