If you are lucky enough to have a garden or some outside space, it is important to make the most of it. A garden can be a wonderfully productive space for growing fruits and vegetables. It can be a calming place where you can escape from the stresses and strains of everyday life. You may be worried about the cost of creating your perfect outdoors retreat – the good news is that it is possible to create a great garden on a budget. Here are some ways to save money on making a productive, beautiful and relaxing garden:
Using Free, Renewable Resources
Before you begin planning your garden, the first stage is to work out what you already have and how to use it. Think about the renewable resources available and how to use them. For example, sunlight is a valuable resource – think about maximizing light in your garden and using that to grow your crops and wildlife friendly flowers. Use rainwater too, using a harvesting system attached to your home. Analyse the soil in your garden – is it good quality? The biomass from existing plants can be used to improve it. Consider keeping chickens or other livestock if this is an option where you live, as the food costs can be offset by the food and manure produced to help feed you and your garden.
Creating Growing Areas
Composting plant matter and kitchen scraps can be the first stage in creating fertile and productive growing areas and it will cost you nothing to create a simple compost heap. You can also create raised beds by composting in place, laying up ‘lasagna‘ type beds. These raised beds can be framed, also, using things you might already have to hand, or things that can be cheaply obtained. Raised beds can be made with reclaimed/scrap wood, rocks and stones, or reclaimed bricks, or, for the ultimate in make-do, can be created with household waste such as glass bottles, daubed together with clay/mud from your garden – perhaps excavated as you create a garden pond. In small spaces, you can use plastic or metal food containers to create vertical gardens along with branches or bamboo canes. In cooler climates, a greenhouse can be created with plastic bottles, or created with reclaimed windows and scrap wood.
Stocking Your Garden
Food containers that would otherwise go in your recycling bin can also be used as seed trays, pots and containers for growing plants. Starting plants from seed is the cheapest way to increase the number of plants in your garden and edible seeds can be obtained very cheaply, sometimes even for free from other gardeners. Ask around. Other gardeners may also be able to offer you cuttings from some of their shrubs and other plants. Trees and fruit bushes can be obtained more cheaply in the dormant months, when they can be planted as bare root saplings and canes. Use slow and steady solutions and you can create a wonderful garden for far less than you ever imagined.