Gardening is an enjoyable hobby, but buying gardening tools and supplies can be expensive. In a challenging economy some people may want to take up gardening, yet reconsider when it comes to spending money on materials. Fortunately, acquiring gardening tools and supplies doesn’t have to be costly as there are many ways to cut expenses.
Saving Money on Garden Tools
Too many novice gardeners rush to buy their tools and supplies before taking inventory of what they need or where to acquire these items.
- Buy garden tools from thrift shops. Besides gardening tools, many dollar stores, thrift stores or other second-hand shops have plant containers, gloves, spades and other gardening supplies.
- Use old cans. Rather than discard cans such as coffee cans, use them for mixing, as planters or for watering house plants and other small outdoor plants. You can poke holes in the bottom of a can, paint it with opaque, white Gesso and then decorate your new planter.
- Use the Freecycle website. Before buying anything, check out the Freecycle network for your area. Freecycle is a website that matches local people with goods. Their philosophy is, “One person’s trash can be another person’s treasure.”
- Use high street stores, rather than a local garden center, as they’re usually cheaper. High street stores are those such as Walmart or Target, as opposed to more specialized shops.
Cost Saving Tips for Gardening Compost
Often beginning gardeners on budgets are intimidated by all the organic compost they’re told to buy for having successful plants and crops. Don’t buy commercial compost, but look no further than your kitchen and yard.
- Use food scraps. Food scraps such as fruit and vegetable peelings, egg shells, old coffee grinds and even bakery products have important nutrients that you can use as compost for a rich soil additive.
- Bury scraps in the ground. Don’t feel like composting? Then just bury food scraps in your garden soil. The Wisconsin State University website recommends digging a hole that’s at least a foot deep and then filling it with about three to four inches of food scraps. Mixing wastes into the soil helps speed up the composting process. Be sure to use plenty of soil (at least eight inches) to keep pets and pests from digging up the scraps. It takes about two to six months for the buried food to decompose, depending on factors such as temperature, soil moisture and other variables.
Animal Manure as Garden Compost
Commercial manure comes from animals, so if you already have some farm animals or live in rural areas where animal manure can be gathered, you can make your own compost from different animal droppings.
- Horse manure contains much ammonia and is excellent for using in seedling beds. Because horses mostly eat grass and foliage, their manure helps enhance foliage and leaf development in plants. The nutrients found in cow manure have been long established in a cow’s digestive process and works well for composting uses.
- Pig manure, rich in potash, works best with root crops when it’s been significantly humidified. Pigs, which are mainly rooting animals, eat the roots they dig up.
- Rabbit manure is good for leaves and stems, containing much nitrogen. It also helps in shrubbery development. Poultry manure from chickens, pigeons and other birds is good for flowers, fruits and seeds, as it’s rich in phosphorous.
- Don’t use pet manure on crops. Although manure from pets such as dogs and cats may help with plants such as rose bushes, they’re not recommended for vegetable plants because they have a potential pathogen.
Growing Plants from Cuttings
Growing plants from cuttings, rather than buying them from nurseries or stores is a major way to cut expenses. There are many different plants from which you can take cuttings. Ask friends and neighbors for cuttings.
For example, you can cut off a branch from a plant such as ivies or a rose and place in water. When it develops roots, plant it in the ground and keep it watered. A few other easy plants for snipping cuttings are those such as geraniums, hydrangea, mint and red valerian, according to FrugalGardening.com.
You can use cuttings from store-bought grocery foods. A brand new plant can grow from just a small slice of food. Different plants have various methods of cutting propagation, so it’s important to know your plant. Good sources of knowledge may include library books or visiting a local horticulture center. And, of course, you can always research online the proper way to take a cutting from a particular plant.
When you take steps to lower costs gardening can be even more rewarding. In addition to the self satisfaction of growing your own food and learning a new hobby, you can pride yourself on trimming the family budget so you’ll have more money for those foods you can’t grow from a garden.