Guest Blogger: Ways To Be Frugal In The Garden

I am pleased to invite my friend Ellen to blog here on Acting Balanced today!  She's a blogger that lives what she writes and I look to her for knowledge on so many topics - including gardening!   

It's almost spring in Vermont and I'm always looking for ways to be frugal in the garden. I have been gardening for about twenty five years. I have grown vegetables, herbs, berry bushes, fruit trees and flowers. Paying attention to ways to be frugal in the garden means that I can have a more impressive garden without spending more money. When I first started gardening, I wasn't really sure what I was doing. I bought a lot of reference books and through trial and error learned ways to be frugal in the garden that worked for me.

Ways To Be Frugal In The Garden

  • Start your plants from seeds whenever possible.  Some plants are more difficult to grow than others depending on what gardening zone you live in.  Even a novice gardener should be able to grow squash, cucumbers, lettuce, and sunflowers from seed.
  • Ask on Freecycle for gardening supplies. When you're looking for gardening supplies, try asking for them before you buy them.  Many experienced gardeners have extra pots and containers, leftover seeds they won't use, and gardening reference books.  Buy only what you need and see if you can borrow the larger items from friends.
  • Don't waste money growing what your family will not eat. While it's fun to grow all sorts of exotic vegetables, if no one in your family will eat kale or escarole, it's a waste of  money.
  • Use your own compost to fertilize your garden.  Using your own compost is cheaper than fertilizer.  There is also the added benefit that you don't have to worry about nasty chemicals getting into the food you eat.
  • Learn how to companion plant.  Learning what plants grow best next to each other will help you have healthy plants without using chemicals in the garden. Knowing that planting marigolds around the border of your garden will keep away garden pests will save you a ton.
  • Keep what you have in good condition. Clean your garden tools when you're done with them and store them inside out of the elements. Forgetting your shovel or hoe outside in the garden so it gets rained on and rusty is never a frugal thing to do.
  • Weed regularly.  Skipping just a day or two of weeding can really leave you behind especially if your plants are young and fighting for nutrients. Weeds take up space that your growing plants need as well as food from the soil.
  • Trade with friends.  If you find yourself with leftover zucchini seeds and your friend has too many butternut squash seeds, exchange your leftovers and you'll have twice the garden you did before.
There are many ways to be frugal in the garden.  These are just a few of my favorite.  Start small so that you don't get overwhelmed.  Each year, you can try a new variety or a new type of garden.    What are your favorite ways to be frugal in the garden?

Ellen is a busy mom of two teenagers who left the corporate world in 2008 to focus on a more eco-friendly life. She lives in rural Vermont where she juggles family, two blogs and a career in social media. You can find her at and