If you are anything like me, you love to garden and strive to make your garden better each and every year. The problem is that making the improvements is expensive and costs can add up fast!
We’ve all been there, but wouldn’t it be great if you could make these changes at little or even no cost?
I’m here to tell you that you can make huge improvements to your garden without breaking the bank. I have been a full-time homesteader for ten years now, so gardening is a way of life for me at this point. I have tried just about everything in the books and I know exactly what works.
Would you believe me if I told you that I haven’t been to the grocery store in three months? On the top of that, I spent a little over $20 on my vegetable garden that feeds my family all year!
Whether you are looking to improve your vegetable garden or your rose garden, these five easy methods can help you do it with little to no expense. Most of these methods are so simple that you can put them to use right now.
So, let’s begin.
You Should Be Composting
If you aren’t composting already, shut your computer down and get started right now. Composting is an easy process that starts with taking scraps that fill your trash and turning them into one of the best fertilizers around. It’s a win/win situation that all gardeners should be taking advantage of.
Don’t let the fancy compost tumblers, bins, and perfect mixtures scare you away. These fancy tools make the job a little faster and more consistent, but they aren’t necessary if you are just trying to start on a small scale. Take those kitchen scraps from dinner and put them in a pile in your back yard. You have just started producing free fertilizer for your garden by walking an extra 40 feet past the trash can!
Create Your Own Mulch for Free
Most of you know that mulch provides a wide variety of great benefits to your garden. It helps keep the soil insulated, moist, and deters the growth of weeds if you use it right. However, what most people don’t know is that you can mulch your garden for free by using some amazing free mulch alternatives.
If you want to enjoy the benefits of mulch without spending the money, stop throwing it away! Leaves are one of the best natural mulches out there and we go through so much work to get rid of them every year! I have also had great success using grass clippings, pine needles, waste hay, and wood chips.
I understand that many of you are looking at this and thinking this will take away from the beauty of your flower garden. I understand that, but what if you use three inches of leaves with an inch of the “pretty mulch” on top? You just reduced your lofty mulch bill by 75%!
Save Your Seeds
Do you go out and buy seeds to get started every spring? You should really be saving those seeds and building up a small stash each year.
Saving seeds allows you to save money, plant more, and even trade for new plants. Before I started saving my seeds, I was spending over $400 in heirloom and organic seeds. Now, I have traded for more seeds that I can handle and give them away regularly!
This one sounds a little crazy, and I realize that, but “no-dig gardening” has some amazing benefits. The idea is that you should be laying layers of compost and mulch down to naturally create your garden beds. It is a very simple concept that many people consider to be the lazy way to go.
If you think about it, we put so much work into encouraging worms and healthy microbes to develop in our garden. Then, we take our giant knives and cut the soil up, disrupting everything that we have been looking for to achieve!
Keep an Eye On The Clearance Racks
Here in Massachusetts, the clearance racks are full of great plants in the fall. The garden stores are begging to break even on them, so they don’t need to keep them alive for the winter.
Those racks are my favorite place to be in the fall, and they should be yours too. Even if you have just purchased plants that are about to go to seed, these are less seeds that you have to purchase next year.
One of my biggest personal scores that I have had was when I purchased twenty apple trees already in 10-gallon planters for $5 each a few years back. I planted and mulched them as soon as I got home and they produced about 200 lbs of apples this year.
Do you know of another way that you improve your garden without breaking the bank? I would love to hear about it in the comment section below!