If you’re creating a garden on the cheap or going for the frugal to downright FREE garden, here’s my list of must haves:
1) The frugal gardener needs to be flexible, as in no master landscape plan set in concrete. The frugal gardener lets the plants be the guide and the garden sort of “happens by happy accident.” For example, if you respond to a “free plants” ad on CraigsList, you will have no idea what you’re really getting. Being flexible lets you look at the new plants and say “Wow, they’re just what I needed!” no matter what they are.
2) Physical flexibility helps too. Keep this in mind when the ad on CraigsList says “You dig!”
3) Patience by the wheelbarrow load is also necessary if you’re keeping your gardening budget down. Small plants, cuttings or starting your garden from seeds is not the instant way to garden. Gardeners need to learn to wait — and then wait some more, especially if you’re aiming for frugal. It can take years to create a garden this way.
4) Terms such as “meek” and “mild” don’t usually describe the frugal gardener. Toss the shy, quiet and unassuming traits out the window and practice being outgoing and assertive. The more you ask for free or reduced prices on items, the easier it gets and getting told “no” just pushes you on to the next possibility.
5) Creativity and an open mind will help the frugal gardener use what IS available rather than having a set shopping list of items that “need” to be purchased.
The good news is that if you love to garden and don’t have a lot of money, these traits can be learned and when they are, you’ll have a fantastic garden on the cheap.
Steph Coelho is a freelance writer gardening in zone 5b. She is a certified Square Foot Gardener and has taught various garden-related workshops. When she’s not digging in the dirt or writing, she’s cooking up fresh produce, running, or listening to her favorite podcasts.