5 Tips for Gardening on a Budget

Updated on April 23, 2019
csherwood profile image

Chris Sherwood is a project manager by day and avid home and garden scholar by night who loves to share his trials and success with others.

Gardening has a long underlying history of helping individuals and families save money by growing their own food. Like any activity, gardening can be expensive depending on your plans and the materials you choose to use. However, there are plenty of ways that you can reduce the overall cost of gardening, allowing you to grow your own food while staying within even a strict budget.

Salvaged and Recycled Materials

You don't need to go out and buy the most expensive treated wood for raised beds and other infrastructure. In fact, treated wood may not be the best choice for vegetable beds due to varying brand's chemical additives. Instead, look for reclaimed wood in old barns, old fences, or hanging out in your garage. Even old logs and sticks can be used if you have trees on your property. Try to stay as natural as possible, avoiding items like railroad ties and tires.

Salvaged pieces of wood and other materials can also be used for tomato and pole bean trellises. Even a few free found sticks in the woods can be tied together as a teepee for climbing crops to inhabit.

Late Summer Clearance Sales

One of the best-kept gardening secrets is the late summer clearance sale. As most companies want to clear out old gardening products and seeds to make way for the next round of seasonal items, stores often put gardening tools, fertilizers, and seeds on deep discounts as it gets later in the summer. It's not uncommon to find seeds for 75% off, along with pots, raised bed kits, compost, and other items that can be used for your next year's garden. Most big box stores are great places to look for these deals, but don't count out drug stores and even grocery stores, depending on your area.

Many online seed stores also do clearance events to varying degrees to sell off the remainder of that year's seed stock. Remember, seeds can last for years if stored properly. While some experts may recommend putting them in the freezer, I've had seeds I've stored in a plastic pencil box last more than five years, though you may see a slight drop in germination rates with older seed. This tip further helps you save money by spreading out a seed purchase over multiple years.

Seed Saving

While you may have to invest initially in seeds, many vegetable varieties have seeds that can be easily saved and grown again the next year. This small task essentially creates a free garden over time. Another benefit to saving your own seeds is that each time you save the seed, the plant becomes increasingly more adapted to your individual climate and soil type, often creating a stronger, healthier plant.

Be aware that certain seeds may not grow true to the original, such as squash seeds planted closely together with other squash or pumpkin seeds, or hybrid plants purchased from stores that may grow as one of the parent seeds used to create it. However, crosses are what make gardening fun, and you may even discover a new variety you really love that you can save seeds from and grow out as your own.

Some of the easiest vegetables to save seeds from include lettuces, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and peppers. In some cases, there may be additional processing steps necessary, like fermenting or soaking the seed before drying and storing, so make sure you read up on each variety before packing them for the winter.

Plan Long Term

Garden infrastructure projects can take up the bulk of any gardener's budget. However, planning long term you can slowly build up your garden to spread the cost out over multiple seasons. For example, in my first year of gardening on my own, my entire garden was wiped out by deer overnight. The next season I found some old orange construction fencing which I wrapped around a few cheap t-posts and ran twine across the top of the t-posts to discourage deer from jumping over it. A few deer got in, but the devastation was not nearly as bad. I then saved up money and upgraded the fence to plastic deer fencing the next year, and then eventually real fencing a section at a time over the next few seasons.

Remember, your garden soil is also a long-term project. It takes time and lots of added organic matter for beneficial organisms to make a home in your garden soil and match the "black gold" soil you see on garden shows and in magazines.

Find a Community

Gardening has a built-in community of those who love to teach and share with others. I blame this on zucchini, as once you grow one zucchini plant, you either learn to share with others or plan to be buried in them all season long.

Whether it's a gardener sharing seeds they've saved for free with another gardener or giving away tools and other materials, you'd be surprised how much money you can save by joining a community. Seed sharing communities have expanded to online services like Facebook, Google Hangouts and other platforms. This allows you to ask questions, swap seeds, and learn from many master gardeners around the world.

As you get more established, pass on the garden bug by sharing your collected seeds with other new gardeners in your community and then you'll feel the true joy that gardening can bring.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • csherwood profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris Sherwood 

      22 months ago from Washington

      Agreed Bob! I have learned so much from other long-term gardeners that have both impacted what I'm able to grow now as well as my total harvests. It's amazing what knowledge is out there.

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 

      22 months ago from New Brunswick

      Hi, good tips, as a long time gardener I have collected tips and techniques that can save both money and to me, more importantly time.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)