Less Noise, More Green: Frugal and Sustainable Gardening

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Frugal and Sustainable Gardening

Home grown food, urban farming, gardening
At the end of the day, this is what it is all about for me.

This has been an expensive gardening year. Yes, I installed a new garden in the front of my house but looking over my budget for 2014, I see that I have spent more than I'm comfortable with on supplies, seeds, potting soil, etc. This prompted a hard look at how I am gardening and what my goals are.

The number one goal for me is food production. I grow food because I care about the quality of the food I feed my family, but also to lower our food bill. To achieve the second part of that statement I need to spend my gardening dollars wisely and recommit to being a frugal and sustainable gardener.

To that end, I will be writing more posts about this topic, highlighting what I am doing, my failures in this area and how I will do things differently in the future. Here are some of the things I can improve on:

green bean seed pod, frugal and sustainable gardening, urban farming
I spent an insane amount on seeds this year. I need to up my game when it comes to saving seeds from my plants.
  • Saving seeds to plant the next season.
  • Water usage and collection
Tool care, frugal and sustainable gardening, urban farming
I just gave myself a crash course on prepping tools for the winter. No excuses left for not taking care of them.

  • Tool care and maintenance- quality tools are expensive!

    Seed catalogs
    I am not a shopper, but I enjoy ordering things from the seed catalogs when they arrive in the mail in February.
  • Finding frugal solutions, rather than retail solutions, to challenges such as plant supports, space management and containers.
  • Create a local sustainability network to share resources and knowledge. I have already started on this and am excited about the possibilities.

Compost bin
My small urban garden cannot produce enough browns to keep up with the greens. I have a plan.

  • Creating a viable composting system that works for me. 

Starting seeds under grow lights, frugal and sustainable gardening, urban farming
Growing plants from seed is so much cheaper than buying transplants.
  • Continue to expand my knowledge of growing new plants from cuttings.
  • Working with the plants I already have rather than purchasing more.

Preserving home grown food, frugal and sustainable gardening, urban farming
Preserving the food I grow is a major budget saver.

Like any other hobby, gardening can be as expensive as you want it to be and there are designer options for all aspects of the activity. Gardening is more than a hobby for me, though. I enjoy the challenge of budgetary restraint and I run my home like a business, worrying about overhead and cash flow. I need to start thinking about my home food production in the same way, which sounds like I just sucked all the fun out of the room, but I have been mentally burdened this year by my garden expenses. It is time to pull in the reins on the spending and refocus on what I do best - getting great results by spending very little.

I bought potato bags this year. They were expensive and produced very poor results. Plus, I had to fill them all with purchased growing medium. This was the biggest budget buster of the year.

Are you a frugal gardener? What are some of your best money saving tips?

See you in the garden,



  1. Enjoyed reading your post! I spent more than I needed to in the garden this year too... but hope to improve going forward. Live, learn, and improve... I suppose.

    1. Yes, I think I got a little lazy this year, opting for the easy answers which involved money over time, creativity and sustainability. There are always ways to do better in the future. Good luck to us both!

  2. Many of us have limited space in which to garden so there are many trees in all forms and size commonly available for smaller gardens like mini fruit trees such as lemons and oranges suitable for growing on a sunny shelf or plant strawberries in a hanging basket or container. My response

  3. Planting trees saves energy. Trees planted strategically around our homes will decrease cooling costs in summer and provide a windbreak against the cold winds of winter thus saving on heating expenses. This link

  4. Organic gardening really gets down to the basics of growing fruits and vegetables, using only what Mother Nature provides.