Creating a Summer Garden On A Budget

When planning for a Summer garden, decide how much you’d like to spend BEFORE you actually start your project. By ignoring this step, you risk spending far more than you will actually need. If you plan with a budget in mind, and purchase only those items specically needed for your plans and needs, you are much more likely to find that your summer garden is more budget friendly than the vast majority of other summer gardens you may see in your neighborhood.  Hopefully the advice in the next few paragraphs will help you find the tricks to cutting the expense of a summer garden. It will help you find budget friendly ways to build the summer garden of your dreams, without breaking the bank in the process.

Whatever you do, do NOT buy what you do not need. It doesn’t matter how good it may appear to be – if you do not need the product, don’t buy it. Seeds, tools, and various other items look great in the catalogs you receive in January and February. However, beware of elevated costs – where shipping is involved. Try using the money you might have spent on these items on something that could pay off in the long term; i.e. a composter or a tiller that can be used year after year.

If your list of garden materials costs more when, all is said and done, by shopping online compared to purchases of the same items purchased locally you really haven’t saved anything at all. Look into the prospect of supporting small,local businesses wherever possible. You may find they are more likely to bargain, barter, and even throw in freebies when they know there’s a good chance you’ll return to buy more – or better yet, bring some of your gardening friends with you on your next visit.

Check your local government offices for composting sites where you can dump or pick up free composting materials. Many communities offer these services free to residents and may even have pick dates for larger items such as felled trees or other waste collected after a storm. Compare the expense of purchasing these materials commercially. You may find that the savings can be significant over the course of a summer.

Find out if there is an exchange group among gardeners in your area. You may find that there are gardeners wishing to exchange plants with you. This is a great way to acquire new plants and increase the color and texture interest in your summer garden. Along with the trade in plantings, you can pick up extra suggestions on where these plants did well in their previous “home” from the actual person that grew them. This is a great way to make new gardening friends and perhaps new neighbors who have moved in over the long winter months. You can share a passion, be physically active, socialize and save money. It truly is a win win situation for most gardeners. 

Selecting plants that are native to your area for your summer garden will make the job much easier. They have already aclimated to the heat, humidity, winds and other factors of the region. This is a huge part of gardening that is often overlooked. There is always the risk that non-native plants may not survive due to excessive temperature, pest and moisture variables. Even in the best of circumstances there are added costs incurred when pesticides and additional soil amendments are needed. Keep costs down by selecting plants that due well in your climate zone and those that are locally grown. This isn’t to say that you can’t have an exotic plant or bush here and there. If you absolutely can’t do without that ONE non-native plants, then go ahead and plan them into your garden. However, when planning a garden from scratch, make the majority of your plantings native to the area.

The local classified ads and free-recycle programs are a good place to find used garden tools that are still in good condition. There are many reasons why people will sell or give away their garden tools and you may be surprised to find quite a bargain on these. You don’t need “designer” tools to play in the dirt. As you get farther along in your planning and planting, you may find that you will need a specific tool, but mostly shovels, rakes and a hoe will do perfectly fine. When properly taken care of, these tools can last quite a long time and knowing that you got them for nothing makes it all that much sweeter. You also might find a few free plants available through at these sales too.

Remember that mulching saves time and money.  The mulch saves money by holding the moisture in. This lowers the time and cost involved in weekly watering and eliminates many of the weeds that crop up-which cuts down on your weeding time. For most of us, weeding is not the #1 favorite garden activity.

By using all the suggestions mentioned above you should be able to save a good deal of money in the planning and maintaining of your summer garden. Remember to take advantage of the gardeners in your area. Some of them have been doing this for a long time and can offer a treasure chest of suggestions and ideas to help make your garden a truly satisfying experience.

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