So you want to have your very own vegetable container garden? Are you concerned with the start up costs? Is it worth it? Absolutely! Here are 5 ways to be frugal with your container garden. Before you know it, you’ll be a frugal vegetable container gardening guru!
5 Ways to be Frugal with your Container Garden
1. Sign up for free stuff online.
The Internet has a wide variety of free offers such as free newsletters and free resources. If you are just starting out in container gardening, these types of free items will be a tremendous resource for you.
Newsletters and resource libraries can help you determine what types of plants will grow well in your area and climate. What is better than learning from someone with experience? Some websites even offer free seed packages for signing up to receive a newsletter or resources, or even coupons to a local nursery.
2. Raid your recycling bin for usable containers.
Why start out with expensive pots or containers? There is no need!
No one said your vegetable container garden had to start out with expensive high-end containers. You can turn many of the items in your recycle bin into containers for your garden with just a pair of scissors!
Look for items with a wide mouth, like gallon ice cream or yogurt containers. These containers provide room for enough soil to give your plant a good growing foundation. These types of containers make great pots to grow herbs in.
Tip: Yogurt containers make for great seed starting pots.
You can also cut off the tops of milk jugs, juice cartons, and soda bottles. Get creative! An old set of ceramic coffee mugs or bowls can turn into containers for gardening. Even egg cartons or ice cube trays can be used to start seedlings until they get too big and need to get transferred to a larger container. Just remember to provide drainage holes in the bottom of the container and to use a good seed starting mix.
3. Check your local dollar/discount stores.
I am often surprised at the variety of things one can find in a dollar store or discount stores, especially in gardening season. If you aren’t really in to turning the bits and pieces you find in your recycling bin into containers, these stores are a great resource for you.
Some might actually carry gardening supplies like plastic containers and terra cotta pots. If they don’t though, you can purchase plastic Tupperware containers or as said above, ceramic items like mugs and bowls to start up your garden. In gardening season, some stores will carry potting soil and seed packages, so keep an eye out for that too. Finally, you might also be able to score some gardening tools as well, such as trowels and mini watering cans.
Tip: Most stores will put gardening supplies on sale at huge discounts toward the end of the gardening season. I have bought organic fertilizers, seed starting supplies and other items for pennies on the dollar.
4. Look for free compost
Many cities and municipalities offer free compost as part of their recycling programs or environmental initiatives. For example, town one over from ours offers unlimited amounts of free compost to its residents, all you have to do is pick it up at the designated sites. If you are a non-resident, they usually sell it pretty cheap. I pay $10 for a truckload of compost. You can’t beat that!
Check with your local Starbucks about free used coffee grounds. They give away free coffee grinds for compost purposes. If you ask the manager to save them for you, they will.
You can also ask at your local nursery or garden club. They might be able to give you some tips on places to get free compost, or even better, they might give you some themselves!
5. Ask your friends and neighbors.
Never underestimate the power of asking others. Go to your family, friends, colleagues and neighbors for vegetable container gardening resources. You will be surprised at what people have laying around. It’s amazing what fellow people will do for you if you share an interest with them! They could have extra containers in their garage that they want to get rid of.
Your neighbors might share some of their compost pile with you. Maybe they have extra seed packages. Or they might even have a garden of their own and can make some clippings for you to help get your garden started. The possibilities are endless! Sometimes, all you need to do is ask.
I hope that you use our 5 ways to be frugal with your container garden in order to get started and to get the most out of your space. It is fun to grow your own garden!
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