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Reader Question: Share YOUR Frugal Gardening Tips (+ DIY Stacked Potted Herb Garden Idea)

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HOT! Getting Toasty! Lukewarm Starting To Melt Ice Ice Baby
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Check out this email from reader from Sarrah:

With Spring upon us, I am curious if you or other Hip2Save readers have ideas on how to garden on a budget – seeding, flowers, planters, etc. My yard is in need of some TLC as it is looking quite shabby, but I don’t have much money to spend on the project. Any ideas or tips that other readers may have would be great to see!


Here’s one idea I’ve posted previously… try growing your own herbs in this DIY stacked potted herb garden. Not only will it spruce up your outdoor space, but it’s also a frugal and convenient way to incorporate your own homegrown herbs into cooking! πŸ™‚

Now it’s YOUR turn to share frugal gardening tips below!

Mary is a senior copywriter with 9+ years in frugal tips & deals. She has a Bachelors in Human Resources Interdisciplinary Studies. Connect with Mary on LinkedIn

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Comments 64

  1. Britt

    My local dollar tree has tons of gardening tools, gloves, pots, seeds and even 15 lb bag of soil. I’m not sure the quality

    • Norma

      It’s pretty good for simple, small work. I’ve used some of their stuff.

  2. Katie

    Ask a friend to split packs of seeds with you. Plant them now in little containers to replant once the frost threat goes way down!

  3. B07ZqbGG71s+Z0RbbkkCmyM2xJjSS/4E8ghAIFmnbBQ=

    Yard Sales and Discount stores (Dollar Tree/Goodwill) are great places to find pots for gardening. You can also use salvage pallets (check pallet for chemicals) and freebies!! for seeds.

  4. calsun12

    I recommend yard sales & discount stores (Goodwill) for pots/tools. Freebies for seeds. πŸ™‚ Also be on the lookout for plants at your local farmers markets-most of the work is done, just wait for the harvest. πŸ™‚

    • Courtney

      How do you get freebie seeds?

      • maflies1

        Not free, but Dollar Tree had packages 4 for $1.

      • Just Me

        My library has free seeds. They also have a plant swap.

  5. Janet

    I plant hostas in my planters along with other flowers. Hostas are a great filler or quite beautiful by themselves. Now is the time of year when the hostas that are planted in the ground are coming up so you can just dig them up and divide those plants. If you don’t have any hostas yourself you could probably talk someone into sharing a few starts. Another bonus is that the hostas in the planters will come back the next spring!

    • maflies1

      Most of my hostas come back planted in the ground if the deer leave them alone. Deer suposedly do not eat them, but I beg to differ. This was after trying the remedies of hot chilie peppers sprinkled on them. They ate them anyway. Fun to watch though.

      • e

        They’ll eat anything right now- they’re literally starving to death because of drought.

  6. MommaNguyen

    The lowes near my house usually has 50% off, $5, and $10 racks with “ugly” flowers, shrubs, etc. I always buy my stuff from there, usually I just needs to be transplanted, a little water and fertilizer and it’s beautiful!

  7. maflies1

    I’ve found that the Bonnie brand of plants that are already planted are much better for me than seeds and very rarely do I have one that fails, and I’m sure that would have been the plant and not me. Ha! So glad to see the item on here again, Collin.
    I took a plant that was too short to fill the container that I was going to put on the deck, so just found something to put in the bottom of the larger pot, and no one knew. The larger pot has faded and can’t decide whether I like that color or whether I’m going to spray paint it. Have fun all! Love Springtime!!!

  8. Rosi

    My mom discovered that flea markets had great deals on plants for 1/2 the price we paid for our trees and seeds! She also said there was a greater variety.

  9. MommaNguyen

    Also, once you get started you just have to harvest the seeds from your plants for next year! Save your seeds from the cucumbers, peppers, etc. that you eat. Dry them in the sun and save or plant.

    • Norma

      I’ve done this with spicy peppers

    • Bre

      You just dry them in the sun?! It’s that easy???? Then how do you store? Ziplock bag? How cool!

      • MommaNguyen

        Yep! Just dry in the sun and store in a baggy. It’s super easy! I do it with all of my veggies(bok choy, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, squash, etc) πŸ™‚

        • Norma

          Bok Choy?! I didn’t know they came with seeds. I’m going to look into that

  10. Txmom

    I live in a hot climate so to save money on watering my garden I go to my local dollar store and buy baby diapers and cut out the center out put in a pail fill with water and let the diaper beads fill up just before planting pour some beads in the hole and then I don’t have to water it as often

    • maflies1

      Got me thinking. How about putting these in a trough type thing b4 it rains and then putting on plants when they need watering. Suppose if you have room in the freezer you could freeze these, new ones of course, and when a dry spell, they woulld be great. What do you think?

      • Txmom

        You could also just save the beads in a air tight container and then add them as you need them I keep one in my garage

    • llc

      Wow. Ive been gardening for almost 20 years and have never heard of this. Im in Houston, TX so I will be trying this soon. And sharing this with anyone that gardens!

    • Pat

      Great way to use those almost free diapers at Kroger this week.

    • Audra

      Our local dollar store sells water beads. We use them for fun activities for the kids too, if age appropriate

  11. Katie

    If you find mismatched pots you can always spray paint them so they all match! Think about bright colors as they can add a nice pop of color to your yard with very little effort

  12. Lana

    Ask friends for divisions of their perennials. Most established plants need to be divided and I for one would love to have someone come and do the digging for free plants. Also, overwinter pots like geraniums in your garage. I started with 6 geraniums and now have 35 pots that I put on my deck each summer for a gorgeous and free display. Start a compost pile for free compost starting next year. Check Freecycle for plants. I used to post there every Spring offering you dig plants that needed to be dug up in my yard.

  13. liz

    Gardening can be done very inexpensively. You can make flower/vegetable planters out of all sorts of things: cedar fence planks, logs, cement blocks, bricks, pavers, old tires, pottery, rocks stacked up, etc. Garage sales are a great way to find planters and other garden tools. Painting things in coordinating colors helps unify your garden space. To save money on seeds you can buy seeds at the dollar store, use coupons at home and garden centers when offered, and look online for free seed packet giveaways. Many seeds last for years if kept in a dry and cool location. Garden websites and Amazon often sell seeds at good prices as well. You could always do a seed swap with friends and trade seeds. When buying plants, especially herbs, many can be split into 2 to 4 sections before planting, which increases your quantities as they grow. Some plants can be grown from the tops of the produce you buy, such as celery, garlic and potatoes from the eyes. Neighbors often have plants that need splitting and may be able to share items like hosta, many different flowers, raspberry plants, or rhubarb. Lilacs often produce extra shoots that come up in the spring/summer and can be transplanted. Look around your yard, you may find plants and flowers that can be moved to new locations in your yard to make nice flower beds. Rose bushes can be rooted from cuttings. In order to mulch/compost your plants, start a simple compost pile- grass clippings, leaves, coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable scraps/peels, etc can be added. Clean egg shells that are crushed, provide nutrients that some plants need and can be sprinkled around the base. There’s lots of information online about all sorts gardening tutorials and done on a budget. Enjoy!

  14. Leigh

    I love to garden and love to save $, so my tips would be:
    – Plan out your garden before hand. Even draw it out if need be. I know in the past I’ve gotten too excited and bought way too many seeds or plants. So knowing ahead of time what you have room for can help keep what you buy limited.
    – In addition to knowing what you have room for, know what will grow where you live. Some plants and seeds sold only do well in certain parts of the country or certain times of the year. Check the back of the seed packet for your “zone” and when the best time to plant is.
    – Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Walmart (just where I’ve seen them) have 20 cent seed packets that germinate just as well. If you have a small garden, there will be more than enough seeds in those packages to use.
    – If you have a bigger garden area or want more of a variety, Home Depot usually does a Spring Black Friday sale this time of year where they put all their seeds BOGO. That’s where you can find the different and fun varieties.
    – After you start growing, you can save seeds from your plants and flowers for next season, just make sure they are clean and kept dry.
    – Youtube and Pinterest…there is a lot of tips and how-tos on there to help save money.
    – Start small and expand what you grow over time…a garden is no good to you if you start too big and don’t have time to tend to the plants and they don’t produce for you or die.

    Happy growing, Hipsters! πŸ™‚

  15. laura

    My mom is president of the garden club in her town and they have a plant sale around mothers day. All the plants are dug and divided from the garden club members gardens and sold at a really reasonable price (a LOT cheaper than a retail store). The plants are all really hardy. All the money made goes to a scholarship the garden club gives to a deserving senior of the high school who wants to study something botany related.

  16. Cari

    I regrow vegetables. So far, I’ve only tried celery. It’s going great! My seeds, I get them from Dollar Tree. Dollar General has gardening tools and accessories super cheap. I make my own markers and decorations. Pinterest is great for diy gardening stuff.

  17. Vee

    For weeds, mix vinegar and dish soap and spray directly onto the weed. May have to reapply occasionally but it works great and is much better for the environment and ourselves. Make sure you only spray on the weeds as it could kill grass.

    • Norma

      Great tip! Thanks!

    • Connie

      How much vinegar to soap to kill weeds?

      • Vee

        A gallon of vinegar to an ounce of soap. Remember to spray directly onto the weed as spraying on the grass can kill it. For tougher (hairier) weeds or one with thick roots, multiple applications may be needed. Good luck!

  18. A

    I always check out a local greenhouse in July/August. They usually have all their seeds 75% off. Seeds are good for up to 5 years after the season they are packaged for so I stock up for the following season. I buy the big bulk packages too and get more than one season out of a package. I save sour cream/cool whip containers throughout the year to plant my seeds in. Just poke holes in the bottom for drainage. Also if you use manure, see if you can find a local farmer who has some aged. We got a pick-up truck full for $20 last year.

    • Elizabeth

      Good idea! I’ve usually used small plastic cups that come in 100-ish count a the store, and poke a hole in the bottom. Paper ones usually get moldy, but plastic is great. I like the recycling of the old containers idea, though.

  19. katy

    Everytime we wash veggies, fruits, or even gently rinse off dishes, we dump the used water into a 10 gallon bucket .at the end of the day we take that bucket to water the plants outside. It’s good exercise because the bucket will fill up pretty fast, requiring us to haul it out to water the garden usually more than once a day. It’s better than letting the water just go down the drain. Hope you guys consider this idea to not only help reduce water usage but to get a good exercise too!

    • Lynne

      All the peels from anything I compost straight into my garden. Apples, oranges, potatoes, carrots, etc. I keep a small 2ft square section open that I can just drop my peels in and throw a shovelful of dirt over. Just make sure you don’t have seeds in them, Or you may have some surprise plants growing!

      • Melissa

        Interesting, why?

  20. Sans

    Love to see this post. I live in Texas and new to gardening. Is it good to start from seed or buy small plants for my vegetable garden? Buying plants looks like more expensive for me. Can anyone give a list of easy to grow (less maintenance) plants for beginners like me.

    • Lynne

      Tomatoes, peppers, green beans, peas are all pretty easy to grow. I do my whole garden from seed, but if you are worried about it tomatoes and peppers you can buy as seedlings.

      • Pat

        Beans must be easy to grow too. When my daughter was small I planted a garden outside. She helped me. A few days later I saw her outside planting a whole bag of dried beans that she got out of my kitchen. They grew even though they were dried. LOL Still laugh at that memory.

    • Elizabeth

      I’ve experimented with planting seeds from veg I get from the store. I have always had wild success with tomatoes. I pull out the seeds from the tomato and plant them directly in some soil container (usually small plastic cups with a punctured hole in the bottom.) I put a few seed per cup. I swear, almost every seed grows. Cut off extra seedlings, or you can try to separate them into separate plants. Tomatoes are the easiest plants that I’ve ever grown from seed from a fruit.

  21. Carey

    We use old newspapers covered with grass clippings in between our rows in vegetable harder to control weeds. Saves us a ton of time weeding and we don’t have to purchase the expensive weed fabric.

    • laura

      My sister in law only plants organic and she was concerned with the ink on the newspaper leeching into the soil as well as whatever chemicals they use on the paper itself. I used to use this method also, but now I only used in my flower beds.

  22. Tosha

    For mulch, our local dump has piles for free. We just mulched our beds this weekend and got three full pickup trucks for free. Just need a pitchfork and a strong man!😍

  23. Lindsey

    Regrow potatoes from ones that are past their prime (with lots of eyes). We have ours in a pot and they’re sprouting like crazy! Also, OSH (Not sure if a national chain) often has no sales tax days, here in CA that’s 9% and adds up so I try to take advantage of those days and stock up!

    • Vee

      Yes! I cut a sweet potato into small pieces and planted them in my garden. I didn’t expect anything since I had done nothing to help them along. Nothing happened the first year. But the next year these leaves and runners started growing like crazy. We finally started to dig the runners up and had over a dozen huge sweet potatoes. Make sure you cut up the potato where an eye is. The eye is what is sprouting a new potato.

  24. Heather

    If you have a friend or neighbor who gardens you could get cuttings of some of their plants to start. Also, you can buy potato vine from Lowe’s and it really grows like crazy.

  25. Edy

    I live in Houston tx ! I wait for lowes or homedepot to put their mulch 5$10 dlrs and that’s when, I get my mulch and lowes in the very back of the garden dept they put plants on clearance !! I got a pink geranium and got some rosemary and lots of plants – they always discounting ! Also , farmers market on airline on the back there is a lady that sells beautiful roses bushes and has lots of plants !! And between April – may Home Depot will have their rose bushes for $5 just have to keep a eye on the ads !! I have pink , white, purple , yellow angel trumpets there very easy to make more from cuttings ‘ 🌹🌹roses are my favorite ! But I have cilantro , peaches , peppers tangerines , papayas , lemons, mint !

    • llc

      And I wait until Houston Garden Center has their 70%+ off Sale for large bushes. I got the largest size Azaleas (over 3 foot tall not counting the container) available for $10 (Regularly $60). Some things that grow slow are worth buying larger. I have purchased the smaller azaleas for $3 but it would take them over 6 years to get as big as the $10 ones.

      Also, learn what grows in your area. I use davesgarden.com before I buy a plant I am not familiar with. It will tell you what plants grow well in your conditions and how to propagate so you can multiply them.

  26. Si

    I have a question. Hopefully someone can answer. I have had strawberries planted for 4 seasons now. Every year the plants look good and strong and have multiplied, but they have yet to produce any berries:/ anyone know why they wouldn’t produce berries?

    • Diane

      I had the same problem and I finally gave up and pulled my plants up after 5 years and a grand total of 5 tiny strawberries off of about 50 plants. The plants grew great and kept putting off tons of runners (and I even tried cutting those off one year thinking that might encourage berries) but no luck πŸ™

      • Si

        Oh shoot:/ hate to hear that!! I live in NV and the soil is pretty acidic, so I thought that might be why. But I’ve talked to others that live here and they have had no problems with not producing any berries. So I wasn’t sure why mine wasn’t! Thanks for the reply:)

    • Shauna

      They might be spending all their energy growing shoots. Try snipping the shoots to contain the growing to the mother plant so it will produce fruit instead of
      More plants.

      • Si

        Thanks for the tip!! I will def try this!!

  27. Judy W

    My daughter-in-law replants all her grown veggies. For instance she takes the core of a cabbage and replants it and gets another cabbage. She does this with beets, cauliflower etc.

  28. lpmousse

    I bought my seeds for the year for $50. May seem like a lot, but I don’t buy veggies ever from mid-May through most of August. Ordered from the Burpee catalog online. They always seem to have free shipping or % off coupons. Growing 2 plantings of beans, cucumbers, peas, peppers, kale, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, carrots, lettuce and butternut squash.

  29. Michelle

    I actually get my seeds from trading on Listia.com. I’ve had really good luck with them, and I usually get rid of some stuff I don’t need to get the points to bid. It’s a win-win for me!

  30. Rachel

    Try a hay bale garden, you can talk to local farmers who will often have straw bales chemical free for a very reasonable price. Google hay bale gardening & your state and there are tons of articles that help you get started. Just be sure to use hay straw, not bermudagrass.

  31. Cate l

    First if you do buy a plant make sure it’s a perennial which means it will come back hopefully year after year. Then buy plants that will grow big and then you can divide , generally in the spring. A good example of this type of plant is a hosta. Hostas love the shade and can be divided the next year I’m sure you can find a video online how to do this it’s quite easy as long as you keep the root system in tact and then you can plant it elsewhere.

  32. Pat

    Join freecycle and ask or watch for posts this spring. I got tons of plants and bulbs for free along with a old concrete fountain probably from the 50’s. In Central Arkansas they have even offered sand, gravel, rocks, and sod. You can always ask and some times receive. I asked for bricks or concrete blocks for a raised garden and I got several offers and went and got them. Only cost gas so make sure you tell them how far you will travel. I usually put in the area I work and home since I have to go between them anyway it wasn’t really far to travel. I offered to help my elderly neighbors with their flower beds and I always thin them out and get those to plant at my house. They are happy and so am I. You can plant a lot of the produce you buy. My husband was in the service and they would go to the field and one of the soldiers wives would send him with salads. He would dump what he didn’t eat in the woods. The next year he found cucumbers growing where he had been dumping his salad remnants. LOL. I got pots and dirt on freecycle too. Like they said above you can paint them so that they match. I have gotten paint on freecycle too. Most of teh stores like Lowes have discount plants too. Ask friends and coworkers if they have any they are going to thin or if they need help thinning. I have went and dug up plants on freecycle when people bought a house and didn’t like the plants. I have gotten bulbs, hostas, and ground covers this way.

  33. Sue

    Check out your local recycling centers to see if they have free mulch/compost. I live in Philadelphia and there’s one that gives out as much free mulch/compost as you want, you just have to transport it yourself. We used some last year in our vegetable garden and it worked great – and really saved us money on soil/mulch.

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