Frugal Gardening Ideas: Learn How To Garden On A Budget

piggy bank
piggy bank
(Image credit: MarkPiovesan)

Whether you garden as a hobby or you're growing produce to feed your hungry family, learning how to garden on a budget can keep more hard earned green in your pocket. Gardening on a dime doesn't mean going without needed supplies though. You might be surprised to find the array of cheap garden supplies at your local discount and dollar stores.

Are Cheap Garden Supplies Worth It?

The old saying: “You get what you pay for” is true when it comes to gardening supplies. The quality of discount and dollar store items is generally not as good as what one might expect from a greenhouse or online gardening supplier. On the other hand, if biodegradable pots from the dollar store last long enough to transplant seedlings into the garden, then they've served their purpose. So let's take a look at some useful, yet cheap, garden supplies one might find at their local discount house.

  • Seeds – Gardeners aren't likely to find a wide selection of vegetable and flower varieties, but they will find basic radish, carrot, and marigold seeds as well as popular types of tomatoes, peppers, and melons. These seed packets are usually dated for the current year so you know the seeds are fresh.
  • Potting soil – Use it for potting plants, as a garden additive, or for stretching out homemade compost. The quality of dollar store soil can vary, so try one bag before stocking up.
  • Pots and planters – These are available in a wide assortment of sizes, colors, and material. They may not be as durable as more expensive types, but are value-rich for gardeners who like the bright, clean look of new pots.
  • Gardening gloves – The fabric is thinner and stitching not as strong, so discount store gloves aren't likely to hold up for the full growing season. However, they're great for semi-disposable uses, such as pulling poison ivy or weeding on muddy days.
  • Garden decorations – From fairy garden items to solar lights, dollar store decorations are the cornerstone of frugal gardening. Generally, these items are reasonably priced so there won't be loads of regret should they get stolen, broken, or blown away in a wind storm,

Frugal Gardening Tips

Another method for gardening on a dime is using non-traditional items. In the search for cheap gardening supplies, don't limit dollar store acquisitions to the gardening department. Try some of these alternative products to meet your frugal gardening goals:

  • Kitchen supplies – Dish pans can be used to hold and mix potting soil. Cookie sheets, baking pans, or kitchen trays make wonderful drip trays. Inexpensive cups can be used for growing seedlings. Use a nail to poke several drainage holes in the bottom of each cup.
  • Household products – Boot trays and tubs can hold seedlings. Use plastic shoe boxes and bins to store seed packets and other gardening supplies. Inexpensive laundry baskets can be substituted for wood bushel baskets with the added bonus of being much easier to clean. Clothes pins make easy-to-clip-on plant labels. Spray bottles can be used for misting plants or for applying homemade insecticidal soaps. (Just be sure to label the bottles.)
  • Hardware department – Check this area to find string for tying tomato vines. Cable ties make great ties for assembling trellises.
  • Toys and crafts – Children's sand buckets are ideal for picking herbs, green beans, and root vegetables. Reserve the plastic toy shovel for use with loose, bagged soil. Wooden craft sticks make inexpensive plant markers.

So next time you pass that discount or dollar store, be sure to stop. You just might discover your own frugal gardening tips.

Laura Miller

Laura Miller has been gardening all her life. Holding a degree in Biology, Nutrition, and Agriculture, Laura's area of expertise is vegetables, herbs, and all things edible. She lives in Ohio.