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Creating a beautiful garden shouldn’t take a lot of money. We run our homestead by the ethos of “Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without,” so most of our gardening projects are things we’ve been able to do with cheap or even free materials right here from our own land.
Before you head out to the garden center and plunk down a load of cash on garden supplies and plants, take a look at these awesome garden ideas that you can do on the cheap or even for FREE.
To make it easier, you can look at cheap or free garden ideas in several different categories. Browse through them all for great ideas or jump to the category you are most interested in.
30 Awesome Cheap or Free Garden Projects
Cheap or Free Seed Starting and Plant Propagating
Grab some newspapers and make these easy seed starters! Susan from Learning and Yearning gives you the step-by-step tutorial so you can do it yourself.
Victoria from A Modern Homestead shows you how she used toothpaste boxes (the kind without a thick glossy coating or tons of crazy dyes) to create seed starters you can put right in the ground at planting time!
Victoria also has an awesome seed starting planner to help you make the most of your plantings this year. It’s free and adaptable to any garden zone!
Grow lights can be expensive, but they don’t have to be! Pam from Brown Thumb Mama will show you how you can make your own for about $10!
Head over to Original Homesteading to check out all the creative ways you can use materials you already have at home to start your seeds for free!
Seed tape is amazing for starting those little seeds that like to wander, like carrots. But premade seed tape can be expensive. Susan over at Learning and Yearning will show you how to make your own for super cheap!
Lesa from Better Hens and Gardens has an awesome seed starting and planting calendar template and shows you exactly what to consider when planning your garden.
Sure, you can buy premade seed starting mixes, but you can save money and better control your garden outcomes by creating your own. Lesa will show you exactly how in this tutorial.
If you’re antsy to begin seed starting in the winter, then The Reid Homestead has a tutorial to show you how to create mini-greenhouses using plastic milk jugs.
It can be expensive to buy berry bushes, but if you have raspberries nearby (or a friend with some to share) then Autumn from A Traditional Life will show you exactly how to propagate raspberries FOR FREE from suckers!
Who doesn’t love tons of basil? Pam from Brown Thumb Mama will show you what to do to get tons and tons of tasty basil from just one plant!
Not strictly seed starting, but once you get those plants in the ground it’s important to protect them! Here’s how to control this pest naturally for free from Original Homesteading.
Cheap or Free Container Gardening Ideas
With the amount of plastic waste in the world, it seems silly to go buy plastic planters at the garden center when you can easily source tons of great planters on the cheap or for free. Planters can be free buckets from the grocery bakery, but there are tons of other fantastic options if you’re willing to open your eyes and get creative! Here are tons of awesome ideas for container gardening for cheap or free:
This container technique uses soil layers that mimic the hugelkultur gardening method. Of all the container gardens we’ve ever tried (and we’ve grown a LOT in containers) this was easily the healthiest soil and most abundant container harvest we’ve ever had.
Jessica from 104 Homestead gives you loads of fun ideas for reusing and repurposing practically anything into fun planters!
Jess over at Faithful Farmwife gives you super easy DIY instructions for turning items you might otherwise toss in the trash (or recycling) into easy planters.
Susan over at Momcrieff shows you exactly how she managed to snag some awesome planters that are super expensive at the store for very little money. Learn and get inspired to do it yourself!
-If you’ve never considered it, take a look at gardening with rain gutters! There are tons of great flowers, herbs, and veggies you can (and should!) grow in gutters. Ann from A Farm Girl in the Making will show you how!
You can use practically anything for a planter if you’re willing to get a little creative. Mary from Boots and Hooves Homestead will show you some cool upcycled planter ideas you can try out today!
Cheap or Free Composting Ideas
You don’t need a big compost tumbler or a fancy box to compost your kitchen scraps. In fact, it’s super easy to get started for little to no money at all! Here are three ways to get the job done, even if you only have a small space to work with.
Short on space and money? Jess from Faithful Farmwife will show you how to compost in a 5-gallon bucket!
Victoria from A Modern Homestead shows you the exact technique for getting rich compost in buckets over time.
Vermicomposting is an awesome way to create a healthy garden. Kris from Attainable Sustainable shows you how you can get started with worm composting on the cheap!
Cheap or Free Garden Beds and Structures
Sure, you can buy raised bed frames, premade birdbaths, and trellises, but those things cost an arm and a leg and aren’t always better in the long run. The solution? Try these projects you can do with little to no money! For example, in the photo you can see our first small hugelkultur raised bed. The results from it were the best of any garden technique I’d ever tried and it cost so much less than some of our other attempts!
Careful though. Not all upcycled and found materials are created equally. Check out these tips for getting these materials safely before doing projects with recycled or reclaimed materials.
Here are some great cheap or free projects you can build in and around your garden:
Jessica from 104 Homestead will show you some fun and creative ways to create a beautiful garden trellis for little to no money!
Ann from A Farm Girl in the Making shows you some creative ways to use found materials to create beautiful raised garden beds!
Hugelkultur is a method of soil layering that results in healthy plants and fantastic yields! It also improves overall soil health over time. It’s one of our favorite gardening methods and Autumn from A Traditional Life will show you how to get started!
If you have trees available then they are a great free solution for making beautiful raised beds! Ashley from Practical Self Reliance will show you how.
Do you know what hypertufa is? I know I didn’t! This is a fun project you can adapt to all kinds of designs and garden types.
Cold frames are great for cold weather gardening. Sharon from Simply Canning will show you the easy way to make one for (almost) free!
A wattle fence is a perfect way to use branches, vines, and other tree pieces in the garden. The result is quaint and picturesque as if out of a storybook. Tess from Homestead Lady will show you how to create one for yourself!
This great cold frame tutorial uses straw bales instead of wood or blocks. Get the tutorial from the Reid Homestead.
Kathi from Oak Hill Homestead shows you some easy and relatively inexpensive ways you can trellis plants beyond traditional tomato cages or expensive trellises from the garden center.
We’ve already done several of these cheap or free projects but I have SO many left to try. I’m looking forward to building things like trellises and wattle fences in the near future!