Want to start a garden or improve your gardening skills? After such a hectic year last year, a lot of people turned to gardening as something fun and rewarding to do right at home. Regardless of the reason, gardening can be such a valuable skill but also a little expensive if you’re just getting started. When looking for affordable ways to learn how to garden, it’s best to start small and work with what you have on hand.
Here are 6 tips, resources, and ideas to help you start gardening at home without busting your budget.
1. Narrow Down Your Gardening Options
Gardening is such a broad topic so it’s easy to go down a major rabbit hole if you don’t narrow down your specific intentions early on.
Do you want to start a vegetable garden or grow fruit? Do you want to work on your landscape and learn about different seasonal flowers and plants? Are you interested in growing herbs? While all of these are great ideas, you should commit to just starting with one.
Narrowing down your options can help you focus on just one thing at a time. It will also help you save money since you’ll need fewer materials. You can always add to your gardening skills later after you’ve mastered your first project.
2. Books and Podcasts
Books are pretty cheap and can provide a ton of information. Pick up a beginner’s gardening book at your local library or order a book online.
The Beginner’s Guide to Gardening is available on Amazon and offers 326 affordable yard projects to help improve gardening skills. This Vegetable Gardening For Beginners book is great for anyone looking to start growing vegetables indoor or outdoors.
There are literally tons of books about every type of gardening as well as book as books that teach you how to care for your indoor plants as well.
If you’d rather listen to a podcast instead, there are plenty of podcasts (in this list) that offer gardening tips and share even more resources for beginners.
3. Buy Seeds Online or Locally
The most basic way to begin gardening is to buy seeds and plant them in soil. Luckily, you can buy seeds online or at any store for cheap. You may want to buy some seed starting mix or potting soil and you can even plant your seeds in a pot inside your home.
With growing seeds into plants, timing is everything so it’s all about planting at an optimal time. That way, you can move things outside when the weather gets better. If you make a mistake when planting your seeds and caring for them, you won’t be out of too much money and it will simply be a valuable learning experience. You don’t really have much to lose.
4. Get Plants in Bulk or On Sale
If you want to skip the seeds and go straight for plants that you can put right into the ground, look for sales or consider buying several types of one plant to save money.
I do this with tomato plants and they are relatively cheap around $5 or so each. Stick to just two to three different types of plants to start and master them. Then, move onto something else.
Home Depot offers some really good deals on seasonal plants each year so keep a look out for their offers. Your local Lowes is also a great place to buy affordable plants as well. Don’t forget that people who work in the gardening department at these stores are often very helpful. They know a lot about the plants, soil, and other materials you’ll need and are there to answer your questions.
5. Watch Videos
One of the most affordable ways to learn how to garden is by watching gardening videos online. Thanks to YouTube, there are a ton of experienced gardeners making helpful content and sharing their processes.
These videos are all free since content creators can get paid by placing ads in their videos.
6. Look For Free or Cheap Gardening Materials
Setting up your garden from scratch could easily cost you hundreds of dollars or more. This is why it helps to source as many free or cheap materials as you can. Start making your own compost at home that you can add to your gardening soil. Get into the habit of throwing kitchen scraps into a composting bin including coffee grounds, grass clippings, and yard waste.
See if landscaping companies or neighbors are getting rid of gardening material, mulch, or other supplies. I’ve actually found some pretty great beginner gardening tools at the dollar store and they’ve lasted me well over a year. In fact, it might be better to start with smaller, cheaper tools as you learn more about gardening and improve your skills.
Summary: Affordable Ways to Learn How to Garden
Don’t let perceived cost or fear of making a mistake stop you from starting or growing your garden this year. There are many affordable ways to learn how to garden without breaking the bank. You just need a little time to explore these options whether it’s reading a book, watching a video, or striking up a conversation with the employee in the gardening section.
Little by little, you’ll notice your skills improving over time along with the fruitfulness of your garden.