Last year, I planted a small garden.
Throughout the spring and summer, we had fresh strawberries, butter beans, and onions.
This year, I plan to expand my garden. I will be adding a couple of raised beds – and trying my hand at growing watermelons, potatoes, and assorted beans.
My goal is to be healthy – and frugal. Here are some tips for planting a garden, without breaking the bank.
Place your garden in a convenient location.
This is crucial. Take in to consideration sunlight, soil conditions, and proximity to water. If you are dragging hoses back and forth, watering the garden will become a real chore.
Buy tools at yard sales – and borrow / share with friends.
Depending on the size of your garden, you will need various tools (rakes, shovels, tillers, etc.) You may need these tools once or twice a week – or once or twice a year. Shop discount-bins, yard sales – and borrow / share when you can.
Use raised-beds and square-foot gardening.
I am a big fan of raised-bed gardens – and this year I’ll be using the techniques from the book Square Foot Gardening to create my own square-foot garden. Basically, square-foot gardening allows for maximum production from a smaller space. I built my own raised-beds out of scrap lumber.
Make and use your own compost.
I built a compost bin out of some old pallets. The pallets were free and the compost that I made was rich and filled with good stuff for our soil.
I use drip irrigation, small sprinklers, and rain water collected in my homemade rain barrel.
Start – or even grow – your plants indoors.
This is something that I will be doing this year. Here’s a great video – with tips for growing plants indoors. It takes a few minutes to watch, but the information is easy-to-understand and very practical.
Plant what you like to eat.
Here in the South, tomatoes are extremely easy to grow. I don’t like tomatoes, so I don’t plant tomatoes. Spend your time and resources growing the things that you know your family will eat. Should I need a tomato or two for a sauce or a soup, I can trade / swap / share with others in our neighborhood.
Be prepared to store vegetables.
This is extremely important. At harvest time – you will have more than you can eat. We freeze a lot of vegetables – and we are thinking about canning some for next year. Here’s a video explaining the process – complete with awesome accent!
Save your seeds.
I am relatively new to gardening, but the sites I have visited and the books I have read always suggest saving seeds from the healthiest vegetables that you harvest. This sets you up for the next planting season. When I do not have seeds from a previous growing season, I will purchase them from our local hardware store, online, or even on eBay.
Talk to experienced gardeners.
This may be the most important tip. Find a neighbor or friend who loves to grow things – and strike up a conversation. Most folks who love gardening also love to talk about gardening. Learn from the mistakes and successes of others.
Planting a garden can be fun – and it doesn’t have to be expensive.
If you have tips or techniques to share, please do so in the comments section. Be blessed.