This is the year you are going to start your own small vegetable garden but you don’t know where to begin. This are our proven tips to help you start an inexpensive garden. Not only does it take only a few dollars to begin but it is simple and easy to maintain and will profit you throughout the year. It doesn’t take a green thumb to create a great garden. It just requires a bit of knowledge, patience and organization to make one of these ways work great for you and your family.
EASY WAYS TO START AN INEXPENSIVE GARDEN
DETERMINE WHAT VEGETABLES YOUR FAMILY WILL ACTUALLY USE/EAT: It may be super trendy this year to cook Brussel Sprouts with every meal but if nobody in your family eats them you are wasting space and time growing them. Sit down with your family and make a basic list of what everyone enjoys eating and what is most frequently purchased. Common vegetables are tomatoes, bell pepper, lettuce, onion, cucumber, green beans, peas and even broccoli. This list varies widely for each family but should be personalized for you instead of chosen because a friend or website tells you this is easy to grow. If you won’t use it, then it becomes wasteful.
START PLANTS FROM SEEDS AT HOME: While there are many high quality brands of seeds out there, to begin your first garden beginning with the 5/$1 packets found at your local dollar store are perfectly acceptable. They may not offer the largest variety but they will produce quality delicious vegetables your entire family will enjoy eating at a fraction of the cost.
CREATE A CONTAINER GARDEN FROM REPURPOSED ITEMS: Save milk cartons, old ice cream buckets, old flower pots, shoes, toilets, buckets, etc. to repurpose into cute and functional container gardens. For lettuce and herbs shallow containers work great. For heartier vegetables that need deeper roots for support such as tomatoes, peas and beans deeper containers are better choices. Go through your shop, the thrift shop down the road or a local yard sale and find fun, inexpensive or free containers to use for your garden.
CREATE YOUR OWN COMPOST: This typically needs to begin a few months prior to starting your garden but it is easy to create your own compost for extra nutrients on your garden by keeping your fruit and vegetable peels, etc. to use as food for your plants. For more on composting check out this article: Composting Basics.
REPURPOSE FLOWER BEDS: Do you have flower beds around your home that are vacant during summer months or could be used for a garden instead of flowers? Repurpose these beds for your vegetables making sure to mark where any annual bulbs may be planted that would need to be moved or planted around as needed.
CREATE A COMMUNITY GARDEN: Do you live in a great close knit neighborhood, apartment complex or community that might benefit from a communal garden for sharing responsibilities and produce? Seek out others in your community and consider sharing the cost of seeds and soil to create a larger garden that everyone pitches in to help maintain and where everyone can share the fresh produce as desired.
BARTER WITH FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS FOR HELP MAINTAINING GARDEN: If you work full time outside your home and just don’t know that you will have time to maintain your garden check with close neighbors, friends in your area or even neighborhood kids to see if you can barter with them in exchange for some of your vegetables, babysitting or even trade in video game “rental”, etc.
SAVE YOUR SEEDS FOR NEXT YEAR: One trick for savings is to save the seeds from your produce to use the following year. Some plants you can simply dry and save seeds from the fruit itself and others will produce seed pods if you allow them to continue growing after they have reached their peak ripeness. Check for information on the best methods of drying and storing seeds and use them for the next year.
If your family eats a lot of fresh produce each year using these easy ways to start an inexpensive garden will not only provide you with foods at a fraction of the cost year round. Not only will you have produce right off the vine this summer, but you can store your excess foods by freezing or canning to use year round.