Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How to start a vegetable garden on the cheap!

It's that time of the year again. Time to start thinking about getting your garden going. If you've never done a garden and don't know where to start here are a few tips that I learned along the way....

The first thing you are going to need to do is have some dedicated space for your garden. If you live in an apartment it may be more of a challenge but not impossible. It this is the case you will probably need to plant your garden in containers. Here's a great article on container gardening
http://containergardening.about.com/od/containergardening101/a/containerwhy.htm
Second step, get containers. You are going to need lots of them with good drainage. You can find these free sometimes at nurseries. The 6 packs are pretty much disposable anyway. They have so many plants that come in and a lot of these places would love to get rid of them. I got some a couple years back at a local nursery. They only charged me .25 a piece for the 5 gallons ones. I think I got like 30 of them. Still using them each season. You can also save containers like strawberry containers or  milk jugs and poke holes in the bottom. Lots of containers can be re-used. You can also find gardening supplies on freecycle.com. I got a ton of edging that I used to divide my garden in sections. Here's a great article about inexpensive containers.
http://containergardening.about.com/od/floweringcontainergarden/tp/Ideas-For-Cheap-Or-Free-Cotnainers.htm


Next you need to decide what you want to plant and locate seeds. I found these cheap on craiglist once. You never know what you're gonna find on there. lol You can also go to the dollar store or even Wal-Mart has them for .20 each.
You will also of course need some rich soil. I bought just the cheapest big  bags of topsoil Lowe's and use Miracle Grow with it and it seems to do just as well as the more expense soil.

Ok, now you are ready to get your starter plants going. Plant your seeds in 6-packs or whatever containers you have on hand. If you have a green house put them in there to get them going faster (this is especially helpful if you are a little ahead of schedule and it's still kind of cold at night). If you don't have a greenhouse you can also just cover them with grocery bags or anything that will protect them from colder temps.


The next step is to prepare the ground. If you have a rototiller this should be no problem. I just use my garden claw. Does the job just as good. Just takes a lot longer. You can find these at any garden supply store. Even K-Mart has them. They're about $40 I think.

When your starter plants are about 3 inches tall you are ready to transplant them into your garden.  It helps to go online and do a little research about what you are planting so you know how to prepare the soil, etc. So plants like, cabbage and artichoke like sand mixed in with the soil. I learned this from trial and error. It was pretty funny one year I had a cabbage that keep growing up instead of out. It ended up being about 3 feet tall. To be quite honest I still don't know how the heck that happened. :]

You should be able to get your garden going for about $50-$100 if you plan it right. Get your kids involved too. This is such a great way for kids to learn about plants. My son loves helping. He get's such a kick out of it.

Happy gardening!!!!


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