Ways to be Frugal When Gardening

Christy | 7:06 PM |

Gardening is a great way to save money. You can grow your own fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables instead of buying them from the grocery store. In addition, you can be sure that there are no harmful pesticides on your crops, helping you to eat a more healthy diet that will reduce your chance of illness and help you save money on doctor's bills.
However, when you are just starting out gardening, you can make a lot of rookie mistakes that can cost you a lot of money. In addition, the cost of fertilizer, soil, gardening tools and other necessities can start to add up fast. If you don't make the right decisions, your plan to save money by gardening can turn into an additional expense. Here are a few ways that you can be frugal when gardening by avoiding unnecessary costs and rookie mistakes:

Buy Seedlings Instead of Seeds
Growing your garden from seeds can sometimes be difficult. Seeds are very vulnerable, and a number of things can prevent them from growing, including the composition of your soil, how much you do or don't water them, what kind of fertilizer you are giving them and so on. Seedlings, on the other hand, are much more sturdy. Since they are already growing and have blossomed into little plants, they are more hardy and can withstand more conditions.
By using seedlings instead of seeds, you increase your chances of success so you don't waste money on seeds that never germinate and produce the crops you want to grow.

Use Quality Soil
The composition of your soil plays a big role in whether or not you are able to grow sturdy and disease-free crops. It pays to test your soil with a home kit or to take a small batch of it to your local agricultural extension office to have it tested. You will learn what you need to add to the soil to make it healthier and to reduce the risk of pests and diseases that might afflict your crops.
By starting with a healthy soil, you minimize your risk of failure -- as well as the amount of money you will waste on seeds or seedlings that never grow to harvest and any other fertilizers or amendments you buy.

Make Your Own Compost
One of the best ways to improve the quality and health of your soil is to add compost to it. However, buying compost can be very expensive. You can save money and reduce your household waste by creating your own compost. You do this by adding kitchen scraps (everything but meat or dairy) to your bin with other organic matter, such as paper, grass clippings, dead leaves, and sticks.
Continually add these items to your compost bin, and turn the pile regularly. Within a few months,  you will have a rich compost that will be free of harmful chemicals and that will provide a quality -- free! -- amendment to your soil.

Put Up a Fence
Whether you live in the city or the country, there will be many pests that want to invade your garden and dine on your delicious produce. You can keep out pests and save your produce -- and protect the time and money you have invested in growing it -- by erecting a simple fence. This can be a plan bale of chicken wire wrapped around wooden stakes. The only requirement is that it be tall enough to keep out common pests and that it doesn't leave room for them to crawl underneath.

Read, Read, Read
Gardening is in large part a matter of trial and error. However, all that error can cost you a lot of money. To save yourself money and reduce those errors, read as much as possible before you begin. Learn what crops need to be cross-pollinated to grow. Find out what you can actually grow in your region. Learn what types of soil amendment you need to add for certain crops.

The more you know, the fewer mistakes you will make and the more money you will save. Also, you'll have a beautiful bounty of produce at the end of the season to fill your plate with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Gardening is a great way to save money -- if you know what you're doing. Use these tips to help you avoid unnecessary costs and rookie mistakes so that you can save money and get the fresh produce you need to create a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle.
What rookie mistakes did you make that cost you money when you started gardening? Tell us about them and share the tips you wish you knew when you were starting out in the comments!
Kelly Opferman is a seasoned writer who at this time focuses on her app site, located at: http://www.autoloancalculator.org/. Her educational background includes finance, teaching, and economics.

Image courtesy of Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About Frugalful.com:
Frugalful.com is a collection of frugal-living articles and resources for women trying to save money- while still being able to enjoy the luxuries of life.