Dirt Cheap: The Best Frugal Gardening Ideas on the Internet

(By Daisy Luther) With the price of healthful groceries going no place but up, lots of thrifty folks are starting a garden to save money on their bills this year. But what about the money to start a garden? It can be a very expensive undertaking, especially if you’ve never gardened before in your particular location.

I’ve been researching ways to start my own garden as inexpensively as possible and thought, “HEY!!! I know some other folks who would absolutely love frugal gardening ideas!” So…here they are.

Step One: What Kind of Garden Are You Going to Grow?

Of course, the very first thing to decide is what type of garden will work best for your situation. This will depend a lot on your soil, your climate, your skillset, and what you have easy and inexpensive access to. Following are some articles and books that will help you make your decision.

Pallet Gardens: Simple, Easy, Free

Straw Bale Gardens Complete

Create an Instant Garden with Sheet Mulching

Lasagna Gardening: A New Layering System for Bountiful Gardens: No Digging, No Tilling, No Weeding, No Kidding!

DIY Super Easy Raised Garden Bed for Under $30

How to Build a Raised Garden Bed for $12

For those who aren’t build-y: Big Bag Fabric Raised Beds (I have used these with great success for veggies with shallow roots and as a bonus, you can use them on concrete if you’re gardening on a patio.)

Square Foot Gardening: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less Space

15 Fruits and Veggies You Can Grow in a Bucket Garden

PVC Drip Irrigation System for Your Garden

How to Save BIG on Lumber Supplies for Your Square Foot Garden

Step Two: Plan Your Garden

Now that you have figured out how you’ll grow your food, you need to figure out what to grow. A lot of that depends on your goals. Are you just hoping for salad this summer? Or are you planning to grow an entire year’s worth of food for your family? These links will help you make some decisions!

How Much to Plant for a Year’s Worth of Food

An Inspiring 5000 Square Foot Garden Plan

Last Frost Date Seed Planting Worksheet

Step Three: Start Your Seedlings

While it’s easy and less hassle to buy your seedlings already started, it costs a whole lot more. One plant can be the equivalent of an entire package of seeds!  Starting your own seedlings is not that difficult and you don’t need an indoor growing operation that marijuana drug lords would envy.

Seed Starting 101

Frugal Seed Starting Station

10 Seed Starting Hacks

20 Frugal Repurposed Seed Starting Containers

How to Make Newspaper Seed Starting Pots

Another Way to Make Seed Starting Pots from Newspaper

Chicken Manure Tea for Seedlings

Why Your Seeds Aren’t Germinating

Step Four: Amend, Create, or Prepare Your Soil

No matter how sturdy your seedlings or how efficient your beds, your garden is only as good as your soil. These tips will help you, whether you’re amending what exists, creating soil, or preparing your soil to receive seedlings.

Know Where You’re Starting Out: Test Your Soil

How to Make Your Own Garden Soil and Compost

Create an Instant Garden with Sheet Mulching

10 Tips to Improve Your Soil

Build a Compost Bin from Pallets

Is Your Soil Getting Enough Calories?

Bonus: Pest and Weed Control

You don’t have to break the bank to keep weeds and pests at bay.  Many of the things you need are things you’d normally throw in the trash. Other DIYs are chemical-free and thrifty to make.

Natural Pest Control in the Garden

5 Ways to Naturally Control Weeds

Natural Flea Beetle Control

The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Pest and Disease Control

Repel Insects Naturally with This All-Purpose Garden Spray

Bonus Bonus: Miscellaneous Frugal Gardening Awesomeness

These resources didn’t fit into any of the above categories but I found something useful for my frugal gardening efforts in every single one. So, I figured you guys would like them too!

10 Things That Can Be Recycled for the Garden

The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible

The Top 10 Plants for Companion Gardening

Vegetable Gardening Basics

DIY Garden Hose Repair

Build a Simple Cucumber Trellis

21 Gardening Hacks

Frugal and Free Landscaping and Garden Ideas

9 Gardening Supplies You Can Get for Free

How to Start a Garden on a Budget

Bonus Bonus BONUS: A Peek at My Personal Gardening Library

These are the books I have on my own bookshelf in the gardening/homesteading area. I’ve included links so you can find them on Amazon. All links are to the newest editions, so the books may not look the same as the ones you see on my shelf.

Gardening Books

Lasagna Gardening: A New Layering System for Bountiful Gardens: No Digging, No Tilling, No Weeding, No Kidding!

The Backyard Homestead

Straw Bale Gardens Complete

The Woodland Homestead

Urban Farming

Western Garden Book

The Encyclopedia of Country Living

Building a Shed

Organic Gardening (There are only a few used copies of this one on Amazon)

Craft Wisdom and Know-How

The Taylor Guides

Not shown because I let someone borrow them or read the e-version:

All New Square Foot Gardening, Second Edition: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More In Less Space

Garden Like a Ninja

What are you waiting for?

If you are into the preparedness lifestyle, I’ve mentioned again and again what a terrible idea it is to wait until after a disaster to begin learning to garden. I’ve had a couple of bad years in a row, and I’m determined to make this one better. I have that luxury now, because groceries are plentiful, albeit pricey, at my local store.

Clearly, budget isn’t an issue! There are so many things you can do on a dime that there’s absolutely no reason for you to delay starting a garden for self-reliance.

Do you have any frugal garden tips you’d like to share? Your comments could be included in a future round-up! Post them in the section below!

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, voluntaryism, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. She is widely republished across alternative media and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, PreppersDailyNews.com. Daisy is the best-selling author of 4 books and lives in the mountains of Virginia with her two daughters and an ever-growing menagerie. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter.