This garden is coordinated by the Churchill Park Community Garden Collective a group of gardeners and community volunteers. We look forward to the upcoming season and hope that you will join our garden community. Please feel free to explore this website for more information.

If you have any questions or would like to join, please contact us at garden@opirg.ca.

June 30, 2012

Gardening on a Budget

            It’s never too early to start planning right? Well, that’s the philosophy behind this week’s post.
            While all the gardeners this year have at least planted their first crops, I (and I’m hoping others as well) am looking forward to next year and the new possibilities for my garden. However, gardening (especially for someone on a student budget) can be expensive. Garden fees, plants, seeds and additional tools and supplies can cost upwards of a $100. Realizing this, I’ve decided to devote this post to five ways you can cut costs when planning your garden.

1.     Plan Early
This step cannot be repeated enough in gardening. Try to have an idea of what you want to plant early in the season and seek out deals. Often, smaller discount stores will offer seeds at lower prices and knowing what you want to plant early allows you to find them in time.
Also, if your really tight for money. You can also decide what to plant based on varying costs. Some seeds/plants are less expensive than others, as well some full grown vegetables and herbs have better margins compared to their store-bought counter-parts and will save you money in the long run. Researching the seeds to buy and the places to buy them, helps make your garden profitable.

2.     Seed swaps
Instead of buying seeds, consider exchanging seeds from last year’s with friends and family. Hamilton also hosts a seed swap every year called Seedy Saturday where you can not only exchange seeds but also buy them and attend gardening workshops.
If you don’t have seeds from past years, you can also collect seeds from some of the produce you guy. For example, chives can be replanted using just the ends from older chives.

3.     Seeds, not plants
This is a general guideline and definitely a hard and fast rule but if you want to save money this season, you could consider planting seeds rather than plants. For example, herbs can be seeded inside by a window and then transplanted outdoors when the weather is better.
Along the same vein, smaller plants are often cheaper as well and you could consider following a similar system for them.
Another important note is that you can often find discounted expired seed packets. While not all the seeds in these packs will germinate, about 50% of them will for more plants.

4.     Do your research
This doesn’t just apply to finding out which stores sell the cheapest seeds and plants but also figuring out where they grow best and how to maximize the supplies you do have. For example, knowing which areas of your garden are in full sun, or slightly shaded and which plants grow best where. You might also want to look into when the best time to plant various plants are.

Hope this list helps you make your garden as profitable as possible in the years to come. If you want to know more about getting the most out of your garden check out: http://scavenging.wordpress.com/2009/04/24/the-2009-no-cost-garden/ for more ideas.

Happy Gardening!

My name's Laura Crump and I'm a third year student in the Arts and Science program at McMaster University. I've been gardening my whole life but this is my first year at Churchill Park Community Garden. I'm really looking forward to working here this summer, 2012.

No comments:

Post a Comment