Gardening without breaking the bank
By Lisa Iannucci
You’ve always wanted a garden in your backyard with beautiful flowers to enjoy while also giving your home a boost in curb appeal. While a garden can also bring you a great deal of enjoyment, the costs of starting one from scratch can add up depending on how elaborate you want to get. There’s the potting soil, trowel, shovel, rake, plant box if you’re using one, fertilizer and more.
If you have the desire to have a flower garden, you can create one without busting your budget. Kaylyn Hewitt, the lead floral designer of The Bouqs Co., has spent more than a decade in the floral industry. Hewitt offers some suggests to save you money and still make your garden look beautiful.
Start from seeds: It takes more time to grow your own, but buying a packet of seeds is much more affordable than buying a full-grown plant just to have that finished look. “Seeds, like wildflowers and butterfly seeds, usually have a variety of flowers that germinate quickly,” says Hewitt.
Shop the sales: Just like weekly food sales at your local grocery store, plants and other gardening supplies often go on sale at local nurseries. You just have to know when to look and what to look for. “Garden centers have a sale section of plants that look past their prime, but with a little TLC they will perk right back up,” says Hewitt.
Opt for perennials: When it comes to plants, don’t reinvent the wheel every year – that costs more money. Instead, Hewitt suggests investing in perennials, so you don’t have to start from scratch when the new planting season rolls around. Perennials are plants that last for more than a couple of seasons. “Also plant wildflowers,” she advises. “They spread over a large area, creating a cost-effective choice.” Succulents also do not require a lot of maintenance and last for years.
Propagate properly: “Choose indoor plants that are easier to propagate so that you get more bang for your buck,” she advises. “One plant can easily turn into two or three.” Plants that propagate easily include pothos varieties, succulents and monsteras.
Containers: Hewitt says that containers for both your indoor and outdoor plants can get a bit pricey so look for more affordable alternatives. “Try basic terracotta planters as they are generally good for most plants, and they tend to be less expensive,” she said. “Also, consider planting multiple things in one planter or container.”
Choose veggies: So, you might have wanted a beautiful flower garden, but Hewitt suggests opting for growing vegetables instead. “Veggies can be super fun and easy to grow, and the best part is that when late spring and summer roll around, you will make a serious dent in your grocery budget if you eat what you grow.”
Garden Research states that for an average-sized food garden, the tools cost around $100, and the seeds cost about $2.8 for 50 seeds, on average. The cost of soil ranges from $534 - $2400, depending on the type of plants and the depth of soil required for these plants.
However, choose your vegetables wisely, because Garden Research states that some, such as asparagus, are more costly to maintain than, say, zucchini.
Add in a pro: When it comes to maintaining a garden, the costs are more reasonable. The National Gardening Association estimates that U.S. gardening households spend an average of $70 on maintaining their gardens each season.
However, if you have a large garden to tend to or just need advice, it might be easier to call in a pro to help select plants, flowers or trees and take care of weed control and soil fertilization. According to Thumbtack, planting services range anywhere from $47 to $2,000, depending on the size and scope of the project. A weekly professional gardener costs an average of $35-$80 per week. Doing it yourself will cut those costs but weigh what you need versus your budget and what you may be physically able to do.
Read more: If you’re interested in more tips on growing a garden, visit The National Gardening Association website at https://garden.org. The Association offers a library of frequently asked gardening questions, a dictionary of garden terms and a wide variety of printed gardening books