Cheap Must-Have Tools For Frugal Gardeners

cheap garden tools

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 a 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.


4 Smart Garden Devices That Save Time and Money


4 Smart Garden Devices That Save Time and Money

Manual work in the garden is sometimes gratifying, but over time the grind becomes tedious. Thankfully, there are a host of smart gardening products out there that can help save you time and money. Which smart garden devices are worth the investment?

Here are my top 4 smart gadget recommendations for gardeners seeking to save time and spend less money on their edible plots. 

Instapark Outdoor Automatic Watering Timer

I recently purchased and installed an automatic watering timer to water my front yard flower patch. This section of my garden sits under my home’s roof overhang so it rarely receives any natural water and my regular hose doesn’t reach that far, so it’s a pain to water manually. I got some cheap irrigation hoses and connected them to this digital timer (both the hoses and timer cost under $50) and now this perma-dry spot gets watered on a regular basis. There’s a neat option to skip watering days (in case of rain), which I make sure to do so as not to waste water. The whole set up was inexpensive and it saves me loads of time in the long run. Last year, I relied on rainwater to wet this area and I lost quite a few plants, which I had spent time and money starting from seed.

Flexi Hose Expandable Garden Hose 

I don’t quite know what I was doing before I had this kind of hose. Now, watering is such a breeze it barely feels like a chore. Lugging around a heavy, clunky hose that’s hard to put away? That’s far from ideal. I’d sometimes skip watering because I hated to untangle the easily kinked hose. A flexible, expandable hose has its own challenges—it’s a fair bit more delicate than a heavy-duty hose—but it’s always easy to carry throughout the garden and it’s a delight to put away since it shrinks down to size once drained. Just be sure to store it away for the winter to prevent the casing from cracking. While this isn’t technically a smart device, I think the design is clever enough to qualify. It has saved me time and money because it makes watering a lot easier and I haven’t neglected my watering duties since getting this type of hose.

AcuRite Wireless Rain Gauge

When it comes to gardening, I rely on the weather forecast a lot. No matter how diligent I am in checking the weekly weather predictions, I can’t accurately measure the amount of rain my garden gets without the help of a gadget. A plain rain gauge does the trick, but if you like smart technology, this nifty wireless device is a handy monitoring tool. It’s a self-emptying collector that’s useful for checking how much rainwater your garden is getting. It’s also an excellent device for people in flood-prone areas. And it costs under $50!

Click and Grow Indoor Smart Garden

This intelligent garden system is on the higher end of the price scale, but it’s well worth the investment. I’ve grown so many herbs in this little automated garden that I never buy them at the grocery store anymore. The hydroponic unit makes it possible to grow greens, herbs, and other plants indoors all year round. All you need to do is add water and harvest away!