How to Save Money Gardening

Seven Methods:Choose the Right ProduceGrow Your Own HerbsGrow Plants from SeedPractice Succession PlantingMake Your Own FertilizerUse Recycled Materials in Your GardenCollect Rainwater to Minimize Water Costs

Growing your own produce can be a way to stretch your household budget. According to the National Gardening Association, the average well-maintained garden yields a $500 return on investment. The W. Atlee Burpee & Co adds that a $50 investment in seeds, fertilizer and soil can produce the equivalent of $1,250 worth of vegetables from the grocery store. Planning and maintaining a garden are key factors in producing a bountiful harvest. Use these tips to save money gardening.

Method 1
Choose the Right Produce

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    Plant produce that you and your family enjoy. To save the most money gardening, select vegetables that you like to eat and would normally buy at the grocery store. Do not plant vegetables that you would not purchase on a regular basis.
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    Choose vegetables that can be preserved, stored or frozen. By selecting vegetables that can be easily canned or frozen, you stretch your garden investment and may consume produce from your garden throughout the year.
    • Plant cool-weather vegetables like onions, potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes and winter squash that can be easily stored.
    • Plant tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, corn, peas and beets that can be canned or frozen.
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    Grow vegetables that provide a high return on investment. Plant vegetables that are expensive to buy in the store, or that you consume in large quantities. Consider options like tomatoes, green beans, onions, peppers, squash, potatoes, peas, lettuce, beets, spinach, carrots, broccoli, cucumbers and Swiss chard.

Method 2
Grow Your Own Herbs

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    Plant herbs for a high return on investment. In most areas, you can purchase a packet of seeds or a small herb pot for about $1.50, which will produce leaves for an entire growing season. In contrast, fresh herbs at the grocery story typically cost about $3 for a single-use packet.
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    Select herbs that you use for culinary or household purposes.
    • Plant herbs that you frequently use in the kitchen, such as basil, rosemary, oregano or parsley. You can use the fresh herbs throughout the growing season, and you can dry the herbs for future use.
    • Plant herbs that you use for household purposes. Herbs like lavender or lemon verbena can be used as air fresheners, added to soaps or infused in oils.

Method 3
Grow Plants from Seed

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    Plant seeds for a higher return on investment. A packet of seeds is less expensive than a plant, and the yield is much greater. A seed packet can produce dozens of plants for less than a single established plant or a cell pack of seedlings.
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    Exchange seeds with friends. Because seed packets typically provide more seeds than you need for a single growing season, exchange seeds with gardening friends. By exchanging seeds, you get more varieties of produce and lower your seed costs.

Method 4
Practice Succession Planting

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    Plant produce in stages. Rather than planting an entire crop of seeds at once, plant them in stages over the course of several weeks. This enables you to harvest in stages, and therefore consume the produce over time, rather than all at once. Succession planting allows a constant harvest in your garden, reducing the chance of produce waste.

Method 5
Make Your Own Fertilizer

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    Create compost from yard, garden and kitchen waste. Starting a compost pile is an easy way to make free fertilizer. The compost will improve the soil and eliminate the need to purchase commercial fertilizers for your garden.
    • Collect grass clippings, fallen leaves and kitchen waste like egg shells, coffee grounds, banana peels and leftover vegetables in a corner of your yard.
    • Rotate the compost using a pitchfork periodically.
    • Apply the compost to your garden as a free fertilizer.

Method 6
Use Recycled Materials in Your Garden

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    Recycle newspapers for use in your garden. Newspapers can be placed directly on gardens for use as weed barriers, or can be shredded and placed in containers to promote moisture.
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    Use yogurt containers or egg cartons as seed starting containers. Recycle used (and clean) yogurt containers or egg cartons to grow seedlings. Poke a hole in the bottom of the containers prior to planting the seeds to allow air circulation.

Method 7
Collect Rainwater to Minimize Water Costs

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    Collect rainwater for irrigation. Purchase a commercially manufactured rain barrel, or modify an existing barrel to collect rain. The collected water can be used to water your garden, reducing your household water bill.


  • Don't purchase commercially manufactured plant spikes for labeling garden produce. Instead, reuse materials you have at home. For example, you may cut a plastic milk carton into strips, and write on the strips with a black permanent marker.
  • Recycle an old garden hose to keep rodents and birds out of your vegetable garden. Cut a hose into several segment approximately 3 feet (.9 m) long and place the segments in your garden. The hose segments look like snakes and keep animals out of your garden.


  • In order to save money gardening, you must maintain your garden. Weed, water and fertilize your garden regularly to promote healthy plant growth.

Things You'll Need

  • Produce seeds
  • Herb seeds
  • Compost
  • Recycled containers
  • Recycled newspapers
  • Rain barrel

Article Info

Categories: Buying Wisely