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Gardening Without Breaking the Bank
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Gardening Without Breaking the Bank

Bursting with backyard garden ideas but need to stay on a budget? We hear you! With so many great gardening tools and accessories out there, it can be easy to forget that it doesn’t take all that much to get a garden growing. In fact, to be a backyard gardener, you don’t even need a backyard.

Because Pinetree Garden Seeds is one of the few seed purveyors to offer organic, heirloom, non-GMO seeds in affordable, people-sized packets, we hear from many new home gardeners who are on a budget. We help them find creative, effective, and affordable ways to grow flowers, vegetables, and fruits in the sunny spaces in their lives.

Whether you are short on cash, available sunlight, gardening space, or time, we have wonderful tips below on how to take what you have on hand and turn it into a wonderful harvest.

Gardening on a Budget in a small space

Short on Space? Start Small

Fresh air, warm sun, and controlled weather conditions make windowsill gardens a go-to growing option for small spaces. When starting seeds, we love to take a look around our kitchen to find shallow containers to repurpose or reuse. Dig into your recycling bin. You can quickly cluster seeds in the cells of egg cartons and ice cube trays—just add drainage holes and place plastic lids to catch excess water. 

  • Mighty Miniatures

Full of flavor and small in stature, microgreens are ideal candidates for containers. They are quick to germinate, simple to snip, and require very little space to spread out. Harvested two to three weeks after planting, these miniature plants are packed with more nutrients than their mature counterparts. Cabbage, arugula, broccoli, and beets are a few affordable garden seeds that you can munch on as microgreens.

  • Homegrown Herbs

If you favor fresh herbs in your cooking, consider placing a container or two right at hand near your kitchen window. Herb gardens are happiest with well-draining soil and at least four hours of sun each day. Worried about water damage? Save the lids from your yogurt cups for a simple drip tray that will keep water off your window. Growing herbs in a small indoor container garden means you will have functional flavors all year round.

Searching for Sun? Spread Out! 

If your home is lacking the dedicated daylight that most plants will need to truly thrive, consider the space you have outside—and that means any space, not simply big backyards. Plantings on balcony or rooftop gardens receive far more sun than plants kept indoors and can be arranged in a way that makes them easy to maintain.

  • Rooftop Raised Beds

Especially practical in crowded cities with little lawn, rooftop gardens add color, cultivate community connections (who doesn’t love fresh veggies?), and increase agricultural space. As you research the most suitable rooftop gardening system, assess your area to ensure your surface can support the weight of your vegetable garden layout. It is also a good idea to check with your town (or the building’s owner) to make certain there are no restrictions.

  • A Balcony for Bees

Bee gardens continue to increase in popularity and have a positive environmental impact. You can have one of your own blooming on your balcony without losing your seating space. Stacking containers, hanging baskets, and vertical displays can be cleverly combined to save space. When your balcony is blooming, buzzing bees will happily hum along from spring to fall. (Need recommendations for your bee garden? Check out our Ultimate Gardening Guide to Pollinators!) 


Tight on Time? Get Help (and Grow Closer)

Tending a garden can be tricky to work into our busy lives, especially at the height of the growing season when certain tasks—from weeding to watering to harvest—simply can’t be put off to a more convenient time. Our favorite trick? Get the help you need from family and friends.

Wondering how to start a garden in your backyard that your kids will love, too? Some of the easiest vegetables to grow can also be the most fun! We encourage families to share gardening benefits by involving their kids from plan to plate.

  • Pizza party plot

We often hear from families wondering how to plan a home garden their kids will love and genuinely want to help maintain. One of our favorite gardening tips is to plant a pizza plot. Kids love dirt (and pizza), so why not combine the two? Pizza night can now include a visit to the vegetables for basil, peppers, and tomatoes! This is one small garden idea that makes a big impact.
  • Kid’s Choice Crops

When teaching kids how to plan a garden, include them in the process from how-to  to harvest. Invite kids to select seeds, dig dirt, and watch for weeds. Sunflowers for one are a favorite flower for many gardeners and a delight to grow. From first leaves to flower, the whole family can monitor and measure the sunflower’s growth together. Compare the flower’s towering height to the rest of the family for a fun activity that will help kids master measuring skills, too. (Want to include even the littlest ones? Check out our Guide to Growing a Baby Food Garden.)

Ready to get growing? Let’s get going! Our gardening experts are always here to help and answer your questions. Our extended home gardening community is also one of our favorite go-to resources for good advice. If you have any tips or tricks to make gardening less expensive, time-consuming, or effective in smaller spaces, let us know in the comments!

15 comments on Gardening Without Breaking the Bank

  • Robert Kilmer
    Robert KilmerSeptember 23, 2020

    As here,Renee gives great suggestions and information. Her customer service is tops, quick and helpful. And seeds are affordable. Suipport a small company instead of Burpee and other giants.

  • Teresa Reed
    Teresa ReedSeptember 23, 2020

    I love the info you send to us but here I am, asking for more! My husband has finally agreed to help me expand the size of our garden, so I’ll be able to plant a greater variety of plants and seeds. However, I need to know what can and can’t grow near each other and, if something causes a problem, how far away does it need to be? Can you educate us on this topic in a future email? I would certainly appreciate it.

  • Susan
    SusanSeptember 23, 2020

    You provide great information and I always look forward to your posts. I have been gardening for many many years and love to hear about new innovative ideas. I had never thought about microgreens as an add-on to my garden or containers. Would love to hear more about these little powerhouse greens. (Recipes, growing tips, growing inside or outside etc.) Thanks for your wealth of information.

  • Susan
    SusanJanuary 25, 2022

    You provide great information and I always look forward to your posts. I have been gardening for many many years and love to hear about new innovative ideas. I had never thought about microgreens as an add-on to my garden or containers. Would love to hear more about these little powerhouse greens. (Recipes, growing tips, growing inside or outside etc.) Thanks for your wealth of information.

  • Felicia M Horne
    Felicia M HorneSeptember 23, 2020

    I loved this article, and was so moved by your generosity of spirit and dedication to fostering home gardening for all the right reasons (saving the planet, raising ecologically aware kids, creating oases of beauty and nutrition) that I’ve decided to make you my go-to place for garden supplies and seeds. And I use a lot of both.

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