I love to garden. There’s nothing quite like the taste of a home-grown tomato or the feeling of serving your family cucumbers, squash or corn from your own garden. When the roses start to bloom in the flower gardens and the lilacs fill the bushes, that’s when you realize that you absolutely love gardening! If you are ready to start your first garden, then I’ve got some tips and resources to help you begin your journey of gardening.
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How to Start Your First Garden
Go Free First
Look around you and see if you can find the things you need for FREE. You can check on sites like Facebook Marketplace or yard sale groups. When we needed tomato cages the first year of our garden, we didn’t want to buy them. So I just posted on our local yard sale group that I was looking for tomato cages. I ended up getting 30 free from a local community member who was no longer planning to use them. Cost? FREE
Sometimes the things you need to start your garden can be found by asking friends and neighbors. Don’t run out and buy all the shiny tools and beautiful colored gloves. All those beautiful things are going to get dirty as soon as you start using them. If you can borrow the tools or get the seeds from friends, then you will be able to save your money as you get started.
You don’t have to spend money on edging stone, black landscape cloth or weed kill. Sure, they are great bits of help, but they’re not essential. A neighbor told us we could have as many rocks as we wanted from where he was doing some building. These made really unique flower garden edgers and didn’t cost money as we were starting.
Swap for Services
In the early years of gardening, we didn’t own a tiller but we needed the soil turned so we could start planting. We arranged for a family member to come till the garden in exchange for supper.
Find a local friend who has a garden and see if you can barter for the service. Most gardeners love to spread the love for gardening and would be willing to make an arrangement. Maybe you could babysit their kids one night in exchange for use of their tiller.
One of the big expenses of gardening is the initial cost of seeds, bulbs or starts. But the long term benefit is well worth the expense. Stop by your local gardening store or order seeds, bulbs or starts online.
Did you know you can buy seeds for petunias and hanging baskets from Amazon.com? Talk about easy!
If you have never had a garden, don’t plan a huge one. Instead, feel free to start with a couple of tomato plants and 1 or 2 other plants. Pick a handful of new flowers and just see what happens when you plant them. By starting small, you will be able to enjoy the gardening adventure without being overwhelmed.
Participate in a Community/Neighborhood Garden
Don’t have a community garden in your area? Just find a local neighbor who already has an established garden and ask them if you can be the helper. This is a great way to ‘apprentice’ yourself to an expert. You will get to enjoy all the benefits and responsibilities but will not have to shoulder it all by yourself the first year. You might need to do the weeding, planting and maintenance in order to earn the privilege of sharing in the harvest.
Protect Your Shoes
Word of caution from years of experience. Your shoes are going to get muddy. Designate one pair of shoes to wear when you are gardening, or purchase a pair of muck boots to protect your regular shoes.
What about you? Do you have ideas on how to save money or get started growing a garden? I’d love to hear!
Learn to Can
Once you get the garden growing, you may want to start canning some of the produce. Check out these tips for canning your summer vegetables.