Container Gardening on a Budget

If you have decided to try container gardening this year, you might be wondering, "how much is this going to cost?"  The answer is simple. There are many ways to keep costs down and still have great success growing fruits and vegetables in containers.

  1. Start from seed.  If you start your plants from seeds, it will cost a lot less than buying plants.  If you decide to buy plants, however, you can save money by buying small plants.  They will grow fast once they are planted.
  2. Share or trade seeds and plants.  You might find that a pack of seeds or a 6-pack of small plants provides more than you need for container gardening.  One way to cut costs and avoid waste is find a gardening friend and share or trade your extras.
  3. Buy supplies on sale.  Watch the newspaper for spring sales on seeds and plants.  In the fall when the growing season is drawing to an end, look for sales on containers, potting soil, and other supplies.
  4. Be creative.  Shop yard sales and flea markets for inexpensive containers, or look around your house for things that you already have.  An old laundry basket, a pail, or even a child's wagon make fine containers.  Be sure to punch holes in the bottom of any container you use to provide proper drainage.
  5. Make your own compost.  Compost provides the nutrients your plants need to grow.  Make your own compost using food waste and grass and plant clippings from your yard.
  6. Buy fewer flowers to beautify your yard.  No need to buy lots of flowers to make your hard look great.  Fruits and vegetables grown in containers do "double-duty" -- they not only provide delicious food, they look beautiful, too.  Add just a few flowers to the fruits and vegetables plants in your containers to add color.  You will be surprised how great your yard, steps or balcony will look this year.
For answers to your gardening questions, 

For more information on gardening, visit Grow It, Eat It from University of Maryland Extension 

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© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall