The No-Cost Food Garden

It’s all fine and dandy for me to tell you to use only organic seeds and soils, and that said seeds should be heirloom ones when possible. However, what is to be done when you have absolutely no money to start with, and you must get a garden in to help you with food costs for the year? Well, never mind my previous advice and take what you can get.

There is no point in going hungry if you can possibly prevent it. Do what you have to do, and do it well. Plant as much as you can, grow it well, and figure out how to preserve anything you wont be able to eat right away. Do what must be done. There are times in a persons’ life when these types of decisions have to be made. Just be aware that this is not the healthiest way to eat. It is the cheapest, however.

Now, how are you to go about gardening with no money to start?

  • Do free seed searches online. Be aware that many of these come with agreements that you’ll share a portion of your food with someone else in need. What a wonderful type of program.
  • Use any leftover seeds from your previous gardening efforts.
  • Ask friends and family if they have leftover seeds that they wont be using.
  • and Cragslist may be helpful. Follow their guidelines to request seeds, pots, and whatever else you may need to get started.
  • Let people know, by word of mouth and posting fliers around town (and speaking to people who run nurseries) , that you are looking for items such as leftover seeds, seedlings, planters, etc.
  • Speak with people who are clearing land. Offer to cart away things that will be useful to you if they don’t want them. It saves them work, so they are often willing to give this stuff away. You may be able to glean some berries this way, at the very least.
  • Find out if anyone is willing to part with compost.
  • A few sturdy wooden pallets can be used to build a compost bin.
  • Accept cuttings from others, as well as seeds, seedlings, and full-grown plants.
  • Spring clean-up days in your town may net you much of what you need. People place unwanted items by the road, and you’re free to cart them off. Do so. Look for things like window boxes, a trellis or two, a spade, planters, bricks, cinder blocks, wood, and nails. Whatever you think might be useful. Even an old boot can be used as a planter of you want.
  • Build raised beds using the free wood, bricks, and cinder blocks that you find.
  • Build raised beds using free rocks that you cart home. Be sure to find out if this is legal in your area.
  • Water is a precious commodity, and expensive in some areas. This is what I do to combat the cost:

I have old buckets galore. I place these around the outside of my trailer where the most water collects when its raining. This is what is usually used when I’m working in the garden.

I use cooled water from cooking vegetables, pastas, and eggs, as well as leftover liquids from when I drink tea.

What tips do you have for starting a no cost garden?

Shannon L. Buck

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