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Introduction on how to save money gardening
I read a blog post about how much money an average gardener can “save” by growing his own produce.
I must say, it was a real joke. As it seems, there’s no money to be made as an average gardener. I really wonder how then, it’s possible for small farmers to grow produce and live off the sales they make.
I know, farming isn’t the same as gardening. But people that really want to invest in gardening can make serious income changes. You just have to be frugal and believing in it.
Below I have written several ways to save money while gardening. Even if you only have a minimum amount of time to grow vegetables. One thing is true though. You’ll get out of the garden, what you put in. So, more time spent intelligently in the garden will result in more produce grown on the same square feet of soil.
make your own seedling pots
This can be a real investment in time or an easy to do job.
I personally “make” paper pots. I do this because I want to be able to sell seedlings.
Selling seedlings in something like a toilet paper roll isn’t as attractive as making your own square paper pots made off a newspaper.
But it’s very much possible to just collect your toilet paper rolls to grow your own seedlings on the cheap.
Real seedling pots, especially biodegradable ones are really expensive, so look for ways to avoid buying these pots.
make your own gardening fences and trellises
Instead of buying fancy fences and trellises, start making your own. Everyone has a way to get to pallets or left behind wood.
As long as you find material for free, you can make durable fences and trellises without spending a dime.
Yes, you will have to make those fences or trellises but if you do it intelligently, you can reuse them many years to come.
save seeds and do seed swaps
normal seed saving to save money gardening
Normal seed saving is growing a vegetable until it bolts and goes to seed.
The procedure to save seeds can be found on the internet. And it is quite easy if you have enough patience. Just try it and you’ll see you will have small wins each time you do it.
Sometimes you’ll get a lot of seed. Maybe you’ll get less seed than you want it. Just redo it and you’ll get more each time you do it. You’ll get better at it and save more and more money doing it.
seed saving by reusing vegetables
I personally save seeds from fruits and vegetables I use in the kitchen.
For instance, an apple contains seeds that can be planted. And there are many more fruits and vegetables that contain seeds you can remove just before you eat the fruit or vegetable.
One of the things I also do is replanting cut off vegetables.
Leeks can be cut off so there’s a small piece of the plant still left. You can use these pieces to regrow and use. Or you can regrow these pieces to regrow and go to seed.
I like the second way of going about it. I regrow the pieces and let them go to seed so I can regrow the seeds the next year. That’s a lot more produce to be made by the regrown piece when grown to seed then just the regrown piece itself.
For onions, you can do just the same as you do with leeks. Just make sure you use a good 2 centimeters or 1 inch with the root attached. Replant it and let it go to seed the next year. One plant will give you fresh, more viable seed, to grow all the onions you need for the next year.
The regrowth of celery goes by the same principal. just use about 1 inch or 2 centimeters of the celery core with the roots attached and let it grow to seed.
You will learn a lot by using this trick and you’ll get more viable seeds then the store bought ones. The seed that is sold in the stores can be as old as 3 years. I can assure you that it’s really difficult to germinate three-year-old onion seeds.
Compared to store-bought seeds, self-grown seeds have an almost 100% sprouting ratio.
make your own fertilizer
compost to save money gardening
Everyone already knows about compost. There are different ways to make compost. One thing is certain, homemade compost is the best.
Compost contains nutrition for the plants and also contains the life the soil needs to let plants flourish.
Yes, you might call me mad, but urine is a really good fertilizer. You just have to check how much urine you need for which plants. Some plants don’t mind pure urine. Other plants need the urine to be combined with a certain amount of water.
One thing I should mention is this, let the urine stand for at least 6 months. After 6 months there’s no more danger for pathogens.
Chickens poop, cows poop, horses poop. Every animal poops, that’s a fact.
You can compost and use this manure on your vegetable beds. Composted manure is really beneficial for the plants.
You can combine the poop with wood chips or other carbon material to fully compost it before using it.
Bad soil can be helped out with compost tea. The best way to treat soil is with compost. But sometimes you don’t have enough compost to fully cover your vegetable beds. A good compost tea can help you out in the beginning until the soil is becoming better.
Last but not least, we have vermicompost. Composting organic material with worms is really making black gold out of kitchen scraps. Vermicompost is a low-level fertilizer with a lot of life in the matter. Using a small part of vermicompost on your vegetable beds, will not only help out the fertility but also the health of the plants.
Use available mulches
collect leaves to save money gardening
In the fall, the trees drop their leaves. This is a golden period. Tree leaves are worth their weight in gold.
Asking the leaves of the neighbors should be a habit, not a problem. At this moment, I’m sure there are neighbors arguing over the leaves blowing around “their” garden.
Leaves are no reason to fight, they are a reason to celebrate life. Because leaf mulch or compost is a heap of life and nutrition to your future plants.
So, start assembling all the leaves you can, so you can start mulch and compost and make new fertility and life in your garden.
use grass clippings
This is a double no-no. First of all, keep the cycle closed in your garden. Pulling the greens away from your garden is the same as stealing from the land.
At the same time, the vehicles needed to drive your greens away, pollute the air without any reason.
Use your grass clippings to mulch the vegetable and flower beds. Compost grass clippings to make fresh fertile soil.
use basic tools
wood chips by hand
I personally sold my wood chipper because I don’t use it enough. In our garden, we chip the wood by hand. No, we don’t have those small wood chips a wood chipper would make. But our woodchips do the job very well.
compost with a basic shovel
You don’t need an industrial compost maker to make compost. Using manpower is enough to make perfect compost. The use of manpower also avoids spending money in a fitness center. So composting really saves a lot of money.
As I already mentioned, in our garden, we do the woodchipping manually. That’s not the only way to avoid machinery. Being a good tenant of the soil, I don’t till the soil. I take care of the soil by mulching and putting compost on top. There’s no need to till the soil, it’s instead much more natural and easy not to till the soil.
use bio-intensive systems
square foot gardening
There are different methods of growing vegetables. Some people like rows of different crops. Other people like to grow mono-crops and use their field for one crop.
I personally love the square foot gardening method. It offers a lot of different vegetable patches in the garden. It’s easy to maintain and it doesn’t cost much to anything to divide the backyard into small squares of one foot each.
You can grow a lot more food with the square foot gardening method than you can with any other method. So, square foot gardening is worth considering.
follow up crops
Growing with the square foot method makes it easy to grow follow up crops. But even if you grow in rows, you can start a new crop as soon as the old crop is harvested. Just check the internet to see what crops to grow in what season.
If possible, use vertical space. Plants like cucumbers, pole beans and can be grown vertically with the use of a simple cheap trellis.
The plants I summed up aren’t the only plants to grow vertically, there are many different ways to grow vertically.
The use of vertical space can grow your small garden really big on the same square footage.
grow expensive produce
This might not be a way to save money gardening. But what can beat making money while gardening?
You can talk to your neighbors to let them buy your surplus of vegetables, fruits or even eggs and chickens.
I personally grow a lot of seedlings. And I sell those to my neighbors and people that garden in our city.
I’m sure there are many more ways to save money or make money gardening and maybe I will amend this article if I find lucrative projects while gardening.
For now, this is it for this article on 9 ways to save money gardening.
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Thanks for reading and see you in the next post.