Beginning gardening on the cheap

If you don’t have a vegetable garden now, but think you might want to start one, here are some ideas for keeping costs down and effort minimal. This video (below) is by Jessica, from Roots and Refuge Farm. She’s a favorite of mine on YouTube.

It’s great to start out small, get your feet wet, and learn along the way. It’s also fun to get your kids or grandkids involved in growing (and eating) veggies. They will be more likely to eat vegetables if they help in the planting, tending, and harvesting. I, for one, was amazed to see my grandson make pesto when he was a young teenager from basil growing in their home garden.

I remember helping my parents in the garden; I particularly loathed picking green bush beans, which was one of my jobs, but I did learn to like a variety of fruits and veggies from our own 5-acre plot of land. As a result of home gardening, I also learned how to can tomatoes, jams and jellies, and watched my mom, aunts etc. put up pickles and other preserves.

Another way I have used a kiddy pool is to keep my potted plants going when I go away for a short vacation. I put the pool in a shady area and fill it with a few inches of water, then plop my pots into the pool. It’s not ideal for a long period, but it works fine for a few days.

I learned a technique on YouTube to make self-watering pots. It’s pretty easy, and not expensive, so maybe I’ll share that later with you.

From Rudyard Kipling’s poem, The Glory of the Garden:

There’s not a pair of legs so thin, there’s not a head so thick,
There’s not a hand so weak and white, nor yet a heart so sick
But it can find some needful job that’s crying to be done,
For the Glory of the Garden glorifieth every one.

Then seek your job with thankfulness and work till further orders,
If it’s only netting strawberries or killing slugs on borders;
And when your back stops aching and your hands begin to harden,
You will find yourself a partner In the Glory of the Garden.

Oh, Adam was a gardener, and God who made him sees
That half a proper gardener’s work is done upon his knees,
So when your work is finished, you can wash your hands and pray
For the Glory of the Garden that it may not pass away!
And the Glory of the Garden it shall never pass away !

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8 Responses to Beginning gardening on the cheap

  1. Erika L. says:

    I love gardening! Definitely thinking it might be a challenge this year for me in a new state that I’m not familiar with 😂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. czarowniczy says:

    She hit the first two things that came to mind when she said that you shouldn’t plant the taller tomatoes and where you put it is where it’ll sit due to weight but it will be even heavier than the weight of the dirt as the dirt will hydrate and the end weight will more than double. You’d better like where it’s at.

    I like 5 gallon buckets that you can get at the big box store OR if you have a bakery in the area
    they use 5 gallon buckets of eggs and usually sell them cheaply to get them out and make a few bucks back.

    The other thing is potting soil. Strange, but I was planning on posting that ‘you really know you’re getting old when you can remember when potting soil actually had soil in the bag’. Beware the potting soil, especially the cheaper soil, as it’s being sold in a somewhat composted state. It’s cheaper to let the finer wood chips get sold as such BUT as they compost with your plants in them the bacteria that are digesting the chips uses up available nitrogen so you have to adjust. I also don’t use the ‘woodsier’ soils to start seeds as they generally do poorly…if at all.

    I also watch the fertilizer as too much nitrogen produces a great plant but little fruit…again, if you use the cheaper soil you have to try and balance between the bacteria composting the wood chips and what the plant needs. Tip: you can mix dirt from right outta the ground with the cheaper potting soils and get a better medium for your plants, all ya gotta do is find dirt someone ain’t using.

    We used to pot-grow veggies when we lived in the ‘burbs, they’re great for table use when you’re looking for fresh taste but I don’t think you’ll get enough for storage. And another thing, check you tap water’s pH if you’re going to use it to water the veggies, if it’s too acid it can effect the pot’s pH.


    • stella says:

      All good points. This video is for the real beginner, with tips for products that are readily available and reasonably priced. I like to grow in containers. I live on a small lot, and it’s just easier for me. If I want to can tomatoes or make preserves, I visit the farmers’ market! A lot of people are installing raised beds. I actually have raised beds on two sides of my house, and along the back property line. The one in back really gets too much shade these days – neighbors’ trees are getting bigger. At least the one behind me chopped down their nasty mulberry. Still have a big one next door to the east though.

      Liked by 1 person

      • czarowniczy says:

        I like the 5-gallon buckets as every now and then we grow one plant of each type on the patio for instant access.
        S far my 50 feet of tomatoes and 50-feet of mixed peppers and egg plant are just hoppin’ along. Rain’s been real obligin’ and gentle so the only two tomato plants we lost were probably the result of gun violence. Just put that in for the Brady Groupers out there.

        Liked by 1 person

    • stella says:

      I have started some indeterminate tomatoes that are doing really well, and I will plant in the beds on the side of the house. Also have some dwarf tomatoes and peppers that will do well in containers. Herbs too. Finally starting lettuce and radishes outside this week.

      Some of the tomatoes I still have in pots (all the same variety) are doing poorly. I’m going to try some bone meal to see if they perk up. Otherwise, I really have plenty of tomato plants that look good.


    • stella says:

      By the way, one of the other guys I watch on YouTube (in Oklahoma) has a big high tunnel and a regular in-ground garden. He uses tubs that were formerly used for cattle feed or molasses? Here’s one of his videos:

      Liked by 1 person

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