Gardening can get expensive if you let it. Personally, I’m not very big on DIY stuff for the garden. My chronic illness makes it difficult to spend too much time tinkering and toiling. Instead, I have to rely on cheap garden tools to make things work. It can take some time before you discover which tools are worth spending money on (even small amounts) and which are worthless. The right tools for the job depend a lot on the kind of gardener you are and what tasks you need help with. Here are some of my favorite cheap garden tools:
Cheap garden tools
These are some of the cheap garden tools I use to make my life easier as a frugal gardener.
- Garden gloves. A good pair of garden gloves is a must-have if you’re digging in the dirt. But the thing is that I almost always end up losing them by the end of the season. If you’re a chronic misplacer of things like me, don’t spend a ton of money on fancy gardening gloves. Gloves from the dollar store are typically sturdy enough to last a season. They also provide adequate protection from potential irritants. And, bonus: They’re usually super cute!
- Bamboo sticks. You can get these in bundles for a steal at most hardware stores, and they’re a staple in my garden. I use them solo to support peppers, tomatoes, and eggplants. Need support for cucumbers or pole beans? Tie em’ together, and voila! You’ve got an inexpensive support system that costs you a fraction of what you would have paid for a fancy trellis.
- A flexible hose. Water is a vital part of gardening. But until recently, I really hated doing it because I had to lug around an insanely heavy hose. Once I replaced my clunky hose with a flexible one, watering has become a much easier task. Just make sure to bring your hose in for the winter to ensure its longevity.
- Plastic plant markers. I know that plastic isn’t an ideal choice because it’s not environmentally friendly, but the fact is that I’m still using the same pack of 150 markers that I bought 3 years ago. I just cross out last year’s crop name or write it in a different color. You can also cover up old names with tape. They’re super durable and can be reused over and over again. And, knowing what I planted where is a huge key to my success as a gardener.
- Google sheets. Okay, this one is actually free! I used to use a notebook but found that digital recording was a lot faster. I use sheets to record notes about seedlings, plants, and anything other notable garden-related observations about each season. It allows me to look back on previous seasons and see what went right and wrong.
While these cheap garden tools are a staple in my gardening toolbox, your kit might look entirely different. And that’s okay! This is what works for me. Sure, sometimes I’ll splurge on something fancy, but these are the basics that get me through each season.
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.