Saving our hard-earned dollars is something that is at the forefront of many of our minds these days. In order to make ends meet, we cut corners where we can, which sometimes includes the veggie garden. Something to remember about saving money is that it is not always done exclusively by omission. Just because you may not have a ton of money to spend does not always mean you have to give up on the things you love, such as gardening. You may simply have to garden smarter as opposed to not at all and you can do so by cutting costs.

For starters, if you’re spending a bunch of money on mulch, stop. Though mulching is important as far as water retention, erosion prevention, and weed control goes, it is not necessary to actually buy the mulch you use in your garden. Instead of burning through the budget, take advantage of other mulching options that are less expensive or maybe even free. A good option for mulch is grass clippings, be they yours or your neighbor’s. This time of year is perfect for accumulating fallen leaves, even if you have to rake neighbor’s yards to get them. You can also contact a tree service and see if they need some wood chips taken off their hands.

Seeds are the backbone of every garden, but no one says you have to buy them. Start saving seeds from the organic veggies you’ve already bought or grown and plant those when the time comes. If you don’t have the seeds you want, it is possible that you might have the seeds someone else wants; the best way to find out is by joining a local seed exchange. You may also be able to check with local stores that sell seeds as they may be willing to sell or give away last year’s seeds since these are often disposed of after the year ends.

If you’ve been to a home and garden store, surely you’ve seen the many options for starting seeds, all of which come with a price tag. Well, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead of buying peat pots and pellets, use what you already have to start seeds. Do you eat eggs for breakfast? Use the leftover carton or eggshells themselves to start seeds. Keep some left over toilet paper or paper towel rolls and use them to start seeds as well or fold up your newspaper to make seed starting containers. Since you will have these items around the house regardless, you might as well put them to good, money saying use rather than disposing of them and buying something else entirely.

See what you can propagate from friends and neighbors. There are many plant types that propagate easily via clipping shoots and suckers. If you have access to people who garden, perhaps they will be willing to share these with you which you can then transplant. Should that option not exist, take a stroll through the wilderness and see what nature might be willing to provide, such as blackberries which not only grow wild but propagate easily.

If you were to sit down and itemize everything you needed or even thought you needed to start a garden, you might experience a bit of sticker shock. Though it is easy to get overwhelmed with the cost of starting from scratch or buying new items, it simply does not have to be that way. By adding a little bit of ingenuity and imagination to the gardening process, you will see a huge savings begin to take shape. Soon you may find that all of the money you saved will get you to the garden of your dreams, and there is no shame in using egg cartons and toilet paper rolls to pave the way.