5 Tips for Cost Saving Solutions to Gardening26 Apr, 2021
5 Tips for Cost Saving Solutions to Gardening
Have you ever heard a gardener say something along the lines of “I just harvested my first $100 tomato!”? This refers to the cost associated with growing a garden, especially starting a new one, but it doesn’t have to be this way! There are so many cost cutting solutions to gardening that make it simpler and more convenient as well.
Lost Cost Gardening Tips:
Look for free or low cost seeds. Seeds can add up fast, especially considering home gardeners often don’t need a whole packet of seeds. Consider a seed sharing program with your neighbors or other local gardeners. Local libraries and extension programs will also often have free seeds and information to get those in the community interested in growing. If you do buy seeds, remember to store them in a dark and dry location so they can last multiple years.
Save Seeds. Seed saving is one of the best ways to reduce upfront gardening costs season after season. In order to save seeds you will have to let some of your produce bolt or go to seed. So make sure you allot a few extra plants just for the purpose of seed saving.
Look for low cost soil: At The Jewel of Encanto Farm, this is one of the biggest costs we have taken on so far in getting the farm started. Soil is expensive in large quantities, especially good quality finely grained soil without a lot of mulch. Our solution was to ramp up our compost production; we now ensure that we have enough compost being produced that we can fill new beds and replenish old ones. We sift our compost to discard any large mulch pieces that might burn seeds or make germination more difficult. If compost piles are the solution for you, try starting out with a basic bagged soil and add nutrients to it over time. *If you are looking for high quality organic matter for your garden beds, look for a local bait shop. Bait shops sell red wiggler worms for fishing, but often don’t have a use for what the worms leave behind: beautiful nutrient rich worm castings! If you can establish a relationship with a bait shop they may be willing to give you bins and bins of worm castings for your garden*
Fill raised beds only as much as needed. Raised beds are great for so many reasons, but sometimes if they are too tall it can take a fortune in soil to fill them. Instead consider filling the first half with larger sticks, rocks, or any material that will break down slowly and allow drainage. Then use a layer of sand and rock to aid in drainage, if you are working with larger fillers in your first half, place cardboard pieces over them to prevent all the sand from falling into the cracks (Don’t worry the cardboard will break down too). Then you are ready to put your soil into the bed; as long as there is enough room for root vegetables like carrots to be completely in the soil, you will have a well working garden bed at a fraction of the soil cost.
Use drip irrigation. Using drip irrigation is a great way to reduce watering costs in the garden. Drip works best for transplants. If you are planting seeds, try getting drip line, which lets out more water and can be placed over a row of newly planted seeds. Drip tape uses far less water than sprinkler heads or overhead sprinklers, meaning you spend less on your water bill and plants are more consistently watered.