Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Frugal Planting Tips For Spring

This year I vowed to plant a frugal vegetable garden. I mean I always do that but a very frugal super cheap vegetable garden as in almost no money spent. I have been trying to get the garden in by only buying a few seed packets. I will share what has worked for me so far and since our spring comes early you can then use these money saving gardening tips when you get ready to start your spring garden.

Here is how to start a frugal money saving vegetable garden.
I went through my seeds and determined what I needed. I have not grown peppers from seed before so this year I needed to buy and start plants early.

 My compost is wonderful this year. Full of worms and smells dark and rich and earthy and because I throw oranges that drop from the trees in there, smells of oranges.

I decided to experiment and see if I could avoid buying potting soil and use straight compost for seed starting and in my containers. WELL, I have to tell you YOU can! It has been working wonderfully and all my seeds are germinating quickly. Below is cilantro I am growing in a pot with straight compost.

One trick you have to try is creating mini green houses over your emerging seedlings. The is the best frugal garden tip for starting your seeds. #1 it keeps the environment warmer, the soil remains damp and it provides protection from critters nibbling on your seedlings. I use old plastic fruit containers from the market. I just put them right over the top of my plants or you could plant right in the container for transplanting later.

I am using my clothes pin plant markers to keep track of what I have planted. You can see my compost is not very fine or sifted. I use it with bits of this and that in there and it has not seemed to matter. All my seeds are germinating fine. I plant seeds in anything from old six packs from the nursery to egg shells to old yogurt cups. Just make sure you have a drainage hole in the bottom.

If you grow bell peppers in containers like I do did you know you can keep them as perennials for a few years? I just trim the plant way back in winter and top dress with compost and feed with compost tea. The bell pepper below is three years old and already has blossoms forming. I also use this method with herbs. You could overwinter them in a garage or basement possibly too. I of course live in Southern California so winters are mild.

Next time I will focus on germinating seeds and what I do to give them a super start.


  1. Great idea to use the plastic produce containers. Wish I'd read this a couple weeks ago. I've raised peppers many years. My biggest problem is what to do when they ALL germinate. Even when I give some away, I still have others and have to make the big decision. :-( Why does it make me feel guilty to throw any of them out??!

  2. Hi Elaine! I have not been doing too much blogging, but I am reading along when I can. You have already gotten a great start on your garden!!!
    I am getting kind of antsy to get going too, with all of this warm weather we are having!!!
    I miss you girls. I hope we can plan a get together soon!
    xo Kris

    1. We are doing breakfast Thursday any chance?

  3. I was wondering if I could use straight compost! Thank you :)

  4. I'm so anxious to get going to. When it warms in a few days I'm going to start moving my compost pile.

  5. When do you find the time to grow vegetables, home school and shop at Country General Store?

  6. That soil looks wonderful, Elaine! I'm excited to see what happens. I need to order seeds.

  7. We are big fans of repurposing containers in the garden as well. Love your clothespin idea. I'd love for you to share this gardening post on The Maple Hill Hop. You can find us here: http://mymaplehillfarm.blogspot.com/2015/02/the-maple-hill-hop-68.html

    Happy sprouting!

  8. Compost for potting soil. That would be a great money saver. Thanks for the tip! I have pinned for later. :)

  9. You are an ambitious gardener. I have always had a hard time with seeds. No potting soil. I wouldn't dare. But I am thinking gardening as you are but you are way ahead. I like some of your other frugal ideas. The clothes pin name tags, love it. Reuse of plastic containers, wonderful.

  10. We started a section of a new veggie garden by covering old turf with wet cardboard and 4" of our compost, planted and everything took off! You can use it all kinds if ways :)

  11. I did not know about peppers being perennials! Thanks for the tips, I'm going to try a few of these!

  12. I've had peppers come back the next year, but the past 2 winters here in the NE have been pretty severe so they didn't. I had neighbors that had a green house where the put them over the winter. My son wants to have a garden this and I definitely want to be frugal about it!

  13. Love the clothespins! I'm going to do that.