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I’ve written before about how much my boys love nature and working in our garden. And I’m a firm believer that these experiences are vital to their development and their emotional wellbeing. One of the tough things about being on a budget is justifying the cost of garden supplies and plants, especially when you are renting. I believe that the expense is worth it and have a few tips and trips to create an awesome garden without the huge cost associated with hiring landscapers. This morning K and I went to Lowe’s after we dropped D off at preschool and picked up a hanging plant, a potted hibiscus, 2 bags of mulch, and rocks for our rock garden for $15!
1. Take Advantage of Clearance Plants
This one seems obvious but it’s surprising how many people don’t realize that plants go on clearance! Just like everything else plants go out of season. They can also be reduced to make room for new inventory, because they are broken or look “messy”, or simply because they are the last few left. Our Lowe’s moves the clearance plants to special racks in the back for $0.50, $1.00, $3.00 and $5+. They also will have days when they mark them 90% off the LOWEST price! I’ve snagged Orchids for under $1, landscaper packs for $0.25 etc. All because the “season” was over! Some of the annual packs I picked up for pennies in June are still going strong in August! Today’s finds were a pretty hanging penta and a potted hibiscus K picked out for $5 each. They were both originally $12. I would have to pay more than $5 for an EMPTY hanging pot!
PRO TIP: Select perennials over annuals. They all come back year after year. Even if you only get a short amount of time before the growing season is over, if you can snag a perennial for pennies on the dollar you will enjoy them for years to come. “Dying” bulb plants are also a great buy since you can get them for pennies, plant the bulbs, and they will come back the next year.
He fell in love with his one and I just couldn’t say no. For $5 I didn’t have to!
2. Look for Ripped Bags
I learned this trick from my mother. Most garden centers and hardware stores will discount mulch, soil, rocks etc that are in ripped bags. My local store puts them in a clear bag and marks them down 50%. We were able to snag 2 bags of mulch and a bag of pea gravel all at 50% off just because the bags were torn! We had a bed that desperately needed weeding and mulching and normally I wouldn’t want to spend the money for a rental property but because I was able to buy it so cheap it was worth it to me. The Mexican Petunias in the bed I bought this spring for about $0.10 a piece when they were 90% off the clearance price. It needs a border but I’ll wait until I can get it cheap.
PRO TIP: Patience is your friend here. Wait for the right deal. Also, if you can’t get bags of the same color layer different once and mix with your hands. This was a bag of brown and a mislabeled bag that said it was brown but was actually black.
3. Grow From Seeds
Seeds will also be clearanced out at the end of the season and will keep for next year with little space required. They are also a favorite addition to Easter baskets in our home. Buy them on sale and save them. Once you have an established garden you can also collect seeds from your own plants to save. I will probably never have to buy basil seeds ever again we have so many.
PRO TIP: Have a small box to keep all of your seeds in. For awhile I didn’t and I kept losing them all over the house. A system is a MUST! You can also start them inside before the ground thaws so you have plants the size of the ones you would have bought in the store ready to go when the ground thaws.
4. Learn to Root Trimmings and Separate Plants
Certain plants (like my Mexican Petunias and Golden Pothos) are SUPER easy to root from trimmings. It’s so easy and it’s basically free plants! Many plants (like hostas) need to be separated when they get too big. This is also an easy way to get free plants from the ones you already have. Bulbs will also multiply and you can dig them up and spread them out in the fall. I’ve also had luck sprouting kitchen scraps like carrots, sweet potatoes, and lettuce by placing them in water cut side down.
PRO TIP: you can buy rooting hormone if you are feeling adventurous and want to try your hand at rooting trickier plants.
5. Trade with Friends
If you are lucky enough to have friends who also garden (or are even just interested!) you can crowd source seeds and plant trimmings. I’ve received so many seeds from friends and give them freely to anyone who wants some. I’ve also been given plant trimmings I was able to grow. Sharing is caring!
PRO TIP: if you are feeling REALLY motivated there are Facebook groups you can join to trade seeds with people.
So there you have it! Gardening doesn’t have to be an expensive pastime and the rewards are so worth the effort! Let me know what you think of my tips in the comments and if you like the post please share on Pinterest.