How to Garden Without (Much) Money

| 8/27/2013 11:39:00 AM

“Really, when it comes right down to it…gardening costs more money than it saves,” a friend said recently, giving me a knowing look. He continued, “I mean, I suppose if you count that you’re growing organic, you’re getting a bit more value… but by the time you buy plants…and build beds…and pay for water…and do all that work…you might as well shop at Walmart.”

Is this true? Should we look at our beloved garden as a simple economic equation? As a crass consumer calculation? As a grimy little matter of dollars and cents?

Sure. Why not?David and Rachel

My friend has a point. If you garden like most gardeners, your plots are a hobby that occasionally gives you some tomatoes you can brag about. Every year you replace rotted boards from the sides of your beds, buy transplants and maybe rent a tiller. Then you worry over holes in your broccoli leaves…slugs in your lettuce…and fire ants in your paths, so you buy various chemicals, organic or otherwise, to fix those things. When plant vigor is low, you spring for fish emulsion, blood meal, bone meal, kelp meal, oatmeal or a Happy Meal™ and so on and so on.

The bits and pieces add up quickly and prove my friend’s observation. Or do they?

The quick answer is no. In tough economic times, we need to figure out how to garden in a way that strengthens our finances rather than straining them. In that vein, let’s look at a few ways you can garden on the ragged edge of cheap.

4/30/2018 11:09:46 AM

Hi I’d like to garden but I’m broke so I’m looking to learn how without money for soil

Stephanie Angulo
8/28/2013 10:16:01 PM

I think this article is fantastic! So many people think having your own vegetable garden costs more than what you can buy at the grocery store and it's simply not true if you stay on top of your garden

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