How to Save Money on a Vegetable Garden

Soil with a stack of coins and a green seedling next to it.

Growing your own vegetable garden has many benefits. Not only do you save on your weekly grocery bill come harvest time, but you will also expose yourself and your family to a healthier, all-natural diet. Although vegetable gardens can get a little pricey, here are a few ways you can save money when growing your own veggies.

Starting Small

A great way to save money on a vegetable garden is by starting small. A container garden is good if you have a limited budget and small space. Types of plants that thrive in smaller containers include tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, peppers, carrots, turnips, green onions, lettuce, squash, and green beans. The only trick is finding the appropriately sized container for each plant and making sure it gets plenty of nutrients and sunlight.

Compost on the Cheap

The composition of your soil is a major factor in the success or failure of your veggie garden. An ideal soil mixture is pH-balanced, nutritious, and packed with microorganisms. A good compost mixture will provide all of these ingredients and you can create your own compost on a small budget. The only catch is starting your compost early—at least a year out—because it does take time building a large compost pile.

Save Those Dead Leaves

Fall leaves being raked up.

Mulch is another great ingredient for the overall health of your garden. But instead of purchasing expensive, dyed wood, recycle dead leaves. Shred the leaves with either a Weed Eater or a lawn mower and spread them throughout your garden. If you do not have enough leaves on hand, old newspapers, grass clippings, and straw will work just as well.

Buying Seeds

There are many places that sell seeds, but some are cheaper than other. You might be surprised to learn that you can actually purchase seeds online. Not only are they typically less expensive than in a store or through a catalog, but you also have a greater variety. When buying seeds, always look for heirloom seeds. These types of seeds are naturally produced and you can cultivate more seeds from the crop for next year’s planting season. Also keep an eye out for veggies that have a high yield rate as you will get more bang for your buck.

Grow From Seeds

Although you should not grow all of your veggies from seedlings, you can save a lot of money starting from the seed. A few veggies that are easy to grow from seeds include beans, corn, carrots, zucchini, squash, potatoes, spinach, leafy greens, and radishes. If the seeds do not take, you should have plenty of time to pick up more mature plants before the growing season is over.

Tending the Garden

A woman with a basket of vegetables.

You should constantly pick the produce from your garden once it starts producing because some plants like beans, eggplant, peppers, and squash, stop growing if they are not harvested in a timely manner. You should also make sure the plants are getting their recommended amount of sunlight and never dry out. This will help extend your gardening season and give you a larger yield come harvest.

Finding Gardening Tools

Gardening tools can get a little pricey if you are buying them new. Although you may have to purchase some tools new, check online sites like Craigslist for used (or sometimes free!) garden tools. You can also repurpose certain items, like bamboo poles, if you need a cheap fence or tomato stake.

Pest Control the Natural Way

Buying chemically based pest control can be one of the more expensive parts of starting a garden. Fortunately, you can discourage unwanted guests naturally and save big on your budget. Attracting pest eaters, like toads, is one solution to controlling pests. You can do this with colorful plants or installing toad houses around the garden. Certain plant species such as garlic also deter pests with strong odors. You can also raise your garden above the ground to help deter pests, though the construction process might dig into your budget.