Free Gardening Supplies
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Most people think that gardening is an expensive hobby because they go to big box stores and see a hefty price tag on a tree or shrub and think they can’t afford that let alone an entire yard of expensive plants.
Gardening doesn’t have to be expensive, you can get plenty of supplies for free! Some of the supplies you may already have on hand and may not know it.
Some of the basics that you’ll need:
Bags of dirt is one of the most expensive things an inexperienced gardener buys. You don’t have to buy any at all if you’re patient. You can make your own with either vermicomposting (worms) which is my favorite, or composting.
Both vermicomposting (I will write about that very soon) and composting use the scraps that you eat to make dirt. If you are throwing away your banana peels, you are throwing away money.
Plants are easy enough to get dirt cheap or free. If you’re on Facebook, simply place an ad in the Market Place area, letting people know you are looking for plants. Often gardeners are looking to clean our flower beds in the spring to make room for new plants or tame down plants that spread.
Plant cuttings from friends are also free. Most plant cuttings will come from indoor plants, but you can use some of those plants for fillers. Every year my spider plant produces too many babies. I cut them off in April, then transplanted to the planters on my porch in May. You don’t have to use traditional garden center plants in your pots.
Quite a few Libraries and Co-Ops around the country have what is called, a seed library. The seeds are free with the return of seeds in the fall. It’s just like checking out a book. When you are done growing the seeds, let them go to seed, and then collect them to take back to your seed library.
Seeds can also be from the foods that you eat. Not all food you buy in stores has seeds that will be viable or even be the same variety that you purchased (only heirloom plants produce the same type of seeds). I bought those little mini peppers one year and planted the seeds from them just because I thought they were cute. I only got yellow peppers from them despite the fact that I planted seeds from all of the colored peppers. Despite the fact that they were all yellow, they tasted good.
Did you know that your city municipality often gives away its wood chips for free? It isn’t beautiful colored bark, but it’s still free!
Other items you can use to help keep the weeds down is, cardboard, leaves, and newspaper. If you put a layer of those down, you can put a thinner layer of wood chips or bagged mulch, thereby reducing your cost.
Some gardeners use straw. I’m not a fan of it as more ends up spread across the yard than anything. There are also a lot of weed seeds in it that make it undesirable to some gardeners.
Containers to start your seeds are absolutely free. Look in your recycling bin for yogurt containers, milk jugs, fast-food drink containers, etc. Just make sure you wash them well. The bonus for using these containers is you can use a permanent marker on them to identify what you have grown.
A quick note about using plastic containers, be cautious when you put holes in the bottom for drainage. I have cut myself a few times doing this.
Plant stakes, to tie things up with, can possibly be found on your own property. Did you recently have a tree that lost a limb or two in a storm? Cut up the parts you can use to stake plants. Or maybe you can find something to use at your local garden store that’s cheap. Don’t look in the plant isles, instead go to the hardware/lumber area. They’ll cut boards down for you so you can fit them into your car. Maybe even the dollar store will have something that you can use. Start thinking creatively! Maybe you’ll even see a discarded piece of furniture alongside the road that you can cut up for plant stakes.
Basic Gardening Equipment
Hand trowels, hand rakes, and gardening gloves can all be purchased online or at your local gardening center. Some people buy them at the local dollar store, but I have found that there’s a huge difference in how long products last compared to buying quality and buying from the dollar store. I have several hand trowels that are a few years old, but the dollar store variety lasts one season at best. Sometimes they only last a week. For the price difference, you’re saving money by spending a little more to start with.
Other items that you’ll need are a hoe, rake, shovel, and hose. Again, buy at least a decent quality so that you aren’t having to replace them every year. A decent shovel should last you at least ten years.