Gardening, itself, is a frugal tip. Produce has skyrocketed in price over the past few years. The best way I have found to combat these price hikes is to raise your own food. Any way you can save money while gardening gives you even more money in your pocket for those things that you need in life. Here are some suggestions to help you to save money in your garden:
- Order perenial plants from Four Seasons catalogue
- Get your fruit trees from Costco
- Get strawberry and tomato plants from IFA for just 1 cent
- Get your seeds from your local seed saving group
- Or get your seeds from WinCo
- Raise all of your own transplants
Whenever I need perennial plants such as raspberries, blackberries, kiwi, strawberries, etc, I like to order them from Four Seasons. They are, by far, the least expensive catalogue that I have found. I like to order them about 2 weeks before I plan on planting them.
They come bare root. Only order as many as you are willing to plant as soon as they arrive. I soak the roots in a bucket of water right before planting. I love how four seasons has a money back guarantee if the plants do not survive for some reason.
In my last home, I had 3 twenty foot by 3 foot wide raised beds of strawberry plants. In June I would get about 5 flats of strawberries every 3 days. My neighbors loved receiving garden fresh strawberries from me. There is nothing better than the taste of fresh garden strawberries. The grape vines and raspberry plants are still producing prolifically to this day.
If, for any reason, you are not able to plant your bare root plants in your garden right away, be sure to plant them in pots to be planted outside as soon as you are able.
A couple of years ago, I found out about Costco’s amazing price on fruit trees. I used to think that $24/tree was a good price, but Costco has them bareroot (packed in moist sawdust and bagged) for just $11(Single variety trees) and $15 (Several varieties grafted on 1 tree). This year we had cleared out a spot for our Orchard on our property, so I purchased over 25 trees.
You will want to plant them as soon as possible after bringing them home, into your yard. But if for some reason you can not, like we were not able to, since we have about 6 feet of snow on our property, you can soak the roots in water and plant them into individual tree pots to be planted in your yard as soon as possible. I got my tree pots, free, from a friend who was moving and did not want to take them with him.
Keep in mind that these trees sell quickly. So be sure to check at Costco, starting in the beginning of March in order to get the best selection. My favorite fruit trees, from past experience, are the Bing Cherry (deep rich sweet flavor), the Moorpark Apricot (huge and yummy), the Fuji Apple (long storing (1 year), crisp and sweet), the Anjou and Bartlet pears (juicy and sweet), the Red Haven Peach (Sweet flavor that melts in your mouth). I tried a lot of new ones, this year. I will have to let you know how I like them after they start producing. Currently, they are all leafing out. When I purchased them, they were domant and did not have leaves.
You can get fruit trees from Four Seasons Catalogue for a lot cheaper than Costco, but the trees from Costco are a lot larger, so for me, it is worth the increase in cost.
Each Spring, watch your IFA flyers, in your local newspaper, for coupons that are on the front page. You can get a potted strawberry plant, of your choice, for just 1 cent and in a separate ad, you will be able to get a potted tomato plant, of your choosing, for just 1 cent, as well.
The neat thing about strawberry plants is that they send out runners, which means that the one little plant that you picked up will create a whole bunch of new strawberry plants for you each and every year. You can’t beat that!
For the tomato plant, I like to get the heirloom variety that they have available. Then I save the seeds from some of my one tomato plant’s yummy tomatoes so that I will be able to plant lots of transplants the next year.
Your Local Seed Saver’s Exchange
Whenever you get seed, you always want to make sure that it is heirloom seed. Why? Because this way you can save your seed from the plants that you raise in your garden every year. (Planting seed saved from Hybrids will not always give you the same plant that you got the seed from. So it is always best to only save seed from Heirlooms. I will have a future post on saving seed.) This will save you a fortune in seed costs. But when you need seed, that you don’t have currently, you can get it really cheap by finding out where your local Seed Saver’s Exchange is and getting it from them. I know that ours sells seed packets for just $1 and you get a lot more than you would from a normal seed package.
Now, if for some reason you are not able to find your local seed saver’s exchange, you can also get your heirloom seeds from WinCo in their food storage section for just $26. What you will find is a #10 can filled with a variety of heirloom common variety seeds with enough to plant a football field.
This can is sealed and will last up to like 10 years. For longer storage, I suggest that you freeze these cans in your freezer for up to 25 years worth of storage.
Your own transplants
Buying transplants such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, etc, from a retailer can get really pricey. It is not difficult to plant your own heirloom seed to create your own transplants for just pennies. I like to save toilet paper rolls and use them for transplant pots. Just fold in the ends and fill them with organic seed starting soil and your seed. Keep the soil moist and warm and voila! I will have more on planting your own transplants in a future post.
There are sooo many ways to save money while gardening. Please watch for future frugal gardening tips and tricks.
If you have any other tips or experiences, please leave a comment.