Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Gardening Isn't Free, but It Can Come Close.

Many people say they do not garden because it is too expensive but I am here to dispel that belief. Granted, there are some things that simply must be purchased specifically for gardening but not all. I will try to give free or cheaper alternatives to some of those "expensive" items.

In order to start seeds indoors, there are a few things that are needed. Most people buy trays or peat pots to accomplish this but those can get expensive. These trays can be replaced by egg cartons, something that is usually tossed out. If you did not read my post about Egg Carton Gardening, please do so. A quick search on the net brings up many more articles on the subject.

The trays need to be filled with a growing medium and there is no alternative. Seed starting mixes are available in small packages and are fairly inexpensive. An upside to using trays is that for the first round of seeds, they do usually come with small pellets that when water is added, they expand. All you need to do is drop in the seeds. Additional pellets for future seeds can be purchased and extend the life of those trays.

Seeds are the main ingredient in any garden. The good news is that seed packets are cheap and can sometimes be free. Seed saving is huge for gardeners and it makes a big difference. Most of us already eat vegetables and fruit but fail to save those seeds. A short post about saving seeds can also be found here. As I mention in that post, different seeds require different things in order for them to be productive but it may be a nice place to start.

Once the last frost has passed and the seedlings are ready to move out to the garden, there may be more costs. Most people do not have the luxury of a place to start have a garden but no need to worry. Container gardening has been around for a long time and some plants prefer it over direct planting but containers are not free, or are they?

Vegetables and fruits can be grown in nearly anything but finding these containers is the fun part. The more popular form of containers are standard pots but are not the only option. The only thing stopping you, is your imagination. They need to be cleaned out and may need drainage holes but that is pretty much it. A more in detail post about container gardening can be found here.

Now that the plants have somewhere to go, those containers need filling. They can  be filled with compost that was made at home and it can help alleviate this issue. Regardless of mediums, soils or otherwise, it may need to be purchased. Some gardeners mix their own mediums with ingredients bought in bulk or use less of it and supplement it with other things. There is a plethora of information online about making your own and this post should help you get started. If the luxury of a garden area is available, the soil will probably need to be amended and home-made compost will help.

I think this covers most of it for now, but I am probably missing something, somewhere. There are many places out there to find cheap or even free alternatives to almost anything and everything you may need. The internet is a great place to start and open many doors but like anything online, common sense should be practiced.

If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask. The search feature on my blog can be a good tool to find previous posts but just remember I am not the absolute word in gardening and more research should be done.

Are there any other excuses for not gardening? I would love to hear them!


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