You Can Garden on a Teeny Tiny Budget

I truly believe that planting something and watching it grow has significant mental health benefits.  I googled it to see and many experts agree that gardening is just plain good for you, physically, mentally and emotionally.  I know that sitting outside in my favorite spot for just a few minutes can turn my attitude around when my day isn’t going in a good way.

Some folks have told me they don’t garden because they think they can’t.  While it may come more easily to some than others, everything you need to know can be learned.  It isn’t true that you have to have a “green thumb”, have a lot of time, or spend a lot of money to reap the benefits of some growing something beautiful.  I’m living proof.

My first ever plant purchases were from a yard sale.  An older couple who had a sunroom filled with plants had rooted some new plants from theirs and were selling them.  They had a sunroom full.

They spent probably an hour schooling me on what plant food to buy, how often to water and how to start new plants from existing ones.  All because I stopped at one garage sale.  And all because they were excited and willing to share their knowledge with me.

In those days I lived in an apartment and I quickly developed a passion for indoor house plants.  Now, I mostly have outdoor plants with bright colored blooms.

What your particular stressors are may be different from mine, but we all have them.  A house full of kids, a child with special needs, a full time job, whatever it is that leaves you feeling sapped of all your mental energy,  a little natural beauty that YOU nurture can bring a sense of peace and joy as you watch it grow.

When my oldest two kids were young and they were less than 2 years apart,  I had very little money or time to spend on gardening, but I always wanted to have a little something growing. Just a little something.  A little bit of cheerful on the porch by the front door or on the kitchen table.  That’s all I could manage at the time.

As my kids have gotten older being able to garden a little as a hobby has been something I have tremendously enjoyed.  I still have a teeny tiny gardening budget.  I never spend more than just a few dollars at a time.

My grown up kids don’t need me so much anymore. When they were younger I was nurturing them and watching them grow.  Now I nurture these beauties and watch them grow. Whether you have 20 plants or 1, you can gain the same benefit.

I purchased this Knockout Rose (on the left) last night at Lowe’s for just $3.00! The original price tag was missing, but I would guess it was originally priced about 4 times that.   The plant on the right $1.00 (originally priced at $4.68).  I have another of these in a different color (the featured photo at top of post) and have watched it quadruple in size. It has such gorgeous color and delicate looking but hardy blooms. It has been low maintenance so I was happy to find another on sale.  Can’t wait to get these babies planted.

I LOVE the clearance section in the garden center at Lowe’s.  There’s almost nothing I would rather do with a few minutes and a few dollars. More than half, if not most, of my plants have been purchased at discounted prices.
If you’re new to gardening start with just one or two plants.  Unlike when I first started, you have the benefit of Google to learn everything you could possibly want to know about how to care for your plant.  Start small and gain confidence.

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I’ve loved hydrangeas for many years now, but they’re a little more complicated than what I currently have growing. I got this beauty for $5., marked down from $12.98, so I decided to take the risk!

I am no expert! I have been growing things for about 30 years now.  There is much still for me to learn. I still love to find someone (like at the garage sale that started this plant love affair) who knows things about gardening that I don’t and learn from them.

Tips For Gardening on a Teeny Tiny Budget:

  • If planting outside check different times of day to see how much sun each part of your yard gets.  Write it down or draw it out if that helps you remember and plan. Being sure you plan for the right sun exposure helps you not lose $ on plants that don’t survive.
  • Start with just one or two plants.  Learn about those, grow in confidence and buy 1 or 2 more.
  • Sometimes, the same plant varieties are available in different sizes.  Buy the smaller ones.  The plant marker in the container will tell you what size the plant will be when mature.  If you’re willing to be patient, you can achieve the same look for much less.
  • Once you get started, always save your pots as you re-pot plants.  You will always use them later!
  • If you’re spacing out your expenses, it helps if you buy a little bit of supplies like potting soil or a tool you need all along and not when spring hits and you want to buy the pretty new plants they just put out for sale.
  • Consider planting where YOU will get the greatest enjoyment from your plants, not necessarily where they will be seen by others the most.  I keep something by the front door, but the rest of my plants are all in the backyard near the pool and where I like to escape when I need a mental health moment.  I need mental health moments every day 🙂
  • Friends and even acquaintances that garden love to share when their plants spread out too much and need to be thinned or new plants sprout up from the originals.  I LOVE getting new plants this way, not only because they’re free, but I always continue to remember who I got them from as I enjoy them.
  • You get the most bang for your buck by purchasing Perennials.  Perennials are plants that come back year after year.  In general, they are a little more expensive than annuals (those that grow one season and die) but they can be found on sale. Almost all of my plant purchases are perennials.  You buy once and they last for years.
  • I have recently learned that many annuals will sometimes survive if you have a place to put them inside (if they’re in pots) for the winter.  An acquaintance I met at Lowe’s (y’all I talk to everybody) said many plants sold as annuals will come back the next year even outside because our winters here in way-South-Alabama are so mild.

If you want some natural beauty but don’t have much to spend it CAN be done!

I love daisies of all kinds. This one wasn’t on sale but it was really calling my name!
Our deck. This walks out to the area I like to sit near the pool. I have to let our dogs out multiple times a day and see these beauties every time I do. I can also see them through my blinds when they’re open.
The jasmine hanging over the deck rail has been growing about 3 years. It will only bloom for me a short time, but I’ve learned to be happy with the green backdrop it provides. I sit at a table right beside this flower bed when I read my Bible in the mornings and have my coffee. I will continue to fill in the open spaces in this flower bed little by little.

I sincerely hope that you will be encouraged and inspired to give gardening a try even if you never thought you could.  With anything, the biggest step is the first, so Just Start.    I think you’ll be so glad you did.  And then I want to see pictures!  If you already garden, I want to see those pics too!

Till next week friends,

Josette

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4 comments

  1. I bought a rabbit ear cactus at Lowe’s on clearance YEARS ago for maybe a dollar. It grew and grew. I accidentally turned it over and it grew on its side! I got really tired of keeping up with it and threw it out (literally, no planting) in the flower garden where it continued to grow and bloomed. In the winter it died down and came right back in spring! I was shocked! Eventually, I dug it up and repotted it. Still have it!
    This blog was interesting to me as I am growing flowers on the balcony of the apartment I now live in. However, for the last few months, I’ve been throwing seeds in a pot in my kitchen that only had soil in it. So now, I have a bunch of seedlings and no idea what they are! I do know a couple are melon or squash. If you can give more info about vegetables that have successfully survived in pots, that would be great!
    Thanks!

    1. That’s an amazing story about your cactus. That’s one hardy cactus! The first year I started growing vegetables I planted tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers in pots. What inspired me to do that was having a conversation with someone who worked in the garden center at Walmart. He told me he grew cherry tomatoes in a large pot in Miracle Gro soil and was as much as they could eat. That had inspired me. My back deck is full sun all day and we are in south Alabama and it is very hot. I had two problems that summer. My tomatoes got a pest that I learned was a tomato hornworm. And all my plants dried out so quickly because of being on the hot deck. The next year I planted in the ground. I have continued to battle pests every year and trying not to use pesticides, but I’m about to give up on that. I’m trying one more thing first 😊. Tomatoes can be grown in pots, but they need to be deep like 5 gallon buckets. The cucumbers I think will too and try using a tomato cage or staking to make grow up. The peppers also. I did get some from everything I planted, it just wasn’t a big harvest. If I didn’t have the place in the ground to plant I would have tried again. The first year I couldn’t get my husband to till me a spot until he saw I was serious. I would love to hear back what you plant and how it goes. Thanks so much sharing with me.

  2. I love to garden! I have recently developed Tendinitis in my wrists 🙁 so my big garden has down graded to a strawberry patch and an herb garden in my kitchen window… I hope to never give it up.

    1. Tiffany, I hate that for you that your tendinitis is affecting your gardening. I have wanted to grow strawberries but haven’t tried that yet. As for herbs, I currently only have Rosemary, someone gave that to me, but I would love to add more. Glad to know we’re fellow gardeners!

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