If you know how to start a garden, you can grow vegetables in your backyard garden on the cheap and not only feed your family, but you can afford to feed your community as well. Vegetable plants can be a bit pricey if you purchase them one plant at a time, so here are some great tips to start a vegetable garden inexpensively.
To start a vegetable garden you will need quality plants or seeds and great potting soil. Even if you are in an area where you can garden right into the ground, you will need to amend the soil to give the plant all the nutrients it might need.
If you will be gardening in containers or a raised bed, you will need a good potting soil mix. Buying organic potting soil can get expensive, so here is a great inexpensive recipe for organic potting soil. Now, you will have to purchase everything initially, but the bags of fertilizers go a very long way and are a great bang for the buck.
Use this mix to amend your garden soil too and watch your plants thrive.
Organic Potting Soil
- 1/3 Potting Soil
- 1/3 Vermiculite
- 1/3 Compost or Earthworm Castings
- 1 cup Bone Meal
- 1 cup Blood Meal
When thinking about what you want to plant in your garden, plant 80% of what you family normally eats on a daily basis and 20% on veggies you would love to try. You can buy plants that are ready to be transplanted into your garden once all dangers of frost have passed. Better yet, you can get a head start and start seeds indoors if you have the garden bug early or sow them directly into the garden once it has warmed up.
The most cost-effective way to garden is always going to be buy purchasing seed packets and growing them yourself. A vegetable seed packet runs less than $2 each and tends to have 10-50 seeds per packet. That is just pennies per seed! One of the best things about gardening with seeds is that you can try different varieties of the same vegetable and see which one your family loves better. If you are a fan of tomatoes, you can try five different kinds of seeds and have spent less than $10 for over 250 seeds - that is a ton of tomatoes growing in your yard!
If you want to use starter plants you find in the nursery, the best way to go is to look for those that are in 4- or 6-packs. These are usually $1-2 per 6-pack making each plant less than $0.50. One thing to remember is that if you plant 6 squash plants you will have more squash than you will know what to do with and will be able to give some to every neighbor you know! Whereas a 6-pack of spinach will give your family enough new leaves to eat a salad a few times a week. Make sure you know the yield of the plant before you plant more than a couple plants!
Only buy 1-2 single plants that are $2-10 if it is something that will either yield a lot of vegetables or is your favorite vegetable. This can either be an artichoke plant in a gallon container or a rare variety of basil that is already 10” tall. Don’t impulse buy on these individual plants or your will blow your vegetable garden budget in under 10 minutes flat!
Keep your expenses down when starting your vegetable garden with making your own organic potting soil and using seeds. For plant markers, use popsicle sticks. If you need containers, use everything from an old wheelbarrow or anything that can have drainage holes. I’ve seen the most creative veggie gardens come out of using inexpensive containers and a little imagination.
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