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Creating a beautiful garden shouldn’t cost a lot of money. We run our farmstead according to the motto “use it up, wear it out, make do without it”. So most of our garden projects are things we could do here with cheap or even free materials from our own country.
Take a look at these fantastic garden ideas that you can make cheap or even FREE before going to the garden center and spending a lot of money on garden supplies and plants.
To simplify, you can look at cheap or free garden ideas in different categories. Search them all for great ideas or switch to the category that interests you the most.
30 fantastic cheap or free garden projects
Cheap or free seed start and plant propagation
Grab a few newspapers and make these simple starters! Susan from Learning and Yearning gives you step-by-step instructions 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 make seed starters that you can plant straight into the ground when planting!
Victoria also has a great seed launch planner to help you get the most out 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! Pam from Brown Thumb Mama shows you how to make your own for around $ 10!
Visit Original Homesteading and see all the creative ways you can use materials you already have at home to get your seeds started for free!
Seed ribbon is amazing to start with those little seeds that like to hike like carrots. However, pre-made seed tape can be expensive. Susan at Learning and Yearning shows you how to make your own for super cheap!
Lesa from Better Hens and Gardens has a fantastic template for starting and planting seed calendars and shows you exactly what you need to consider when planning your garden.
Of course, you can buy pre-made seed mixes, but you can save money and better control your garden results by creating your own. Lesa shows you exactly how in this tutorial.
If you want to start sowing from winter, The Reid Homestead offers you a tutorial that will teach you how to make mini greenhouses with plastic milk jugs.
Buying berry bushes can be expensive, but if you have raspberries nearby (or a friend you can share), Autumn from A Traditional Life will show you exactly how to propagate raspberries from suction cups for FREE!
Who doesn’t love tons of basil? Pam from Brown Thumb Mama shows you what you need to do to get tons and tons of delicious basil from just one plant!
Not necessarily starting with the seed, but once you get these plants in the ground, it’s important to protect them! Here’s how to fight this pest naturally using Original Homesteading for free.
Cheap or free container garden ideas
Given the amount of plastic waste in the world, it seems silly to buy plastic planters in the garden center when you can easily get tons of great planters cheaply or for free. Planters can be free buckets from the grocery store, but there are countless other fantastic options if you’re ready to open your eyes and get creative! Here are countless great ideas for gardening in containers that are cheap or free:
How to create a garden with plenty of containers for FREE (with mini-hill culture layers!)
This container technique uses layers of soil that mimic the cultivated garden method. Of all the container gardens we have ever tried (and we have grown a lot of containers), this was definitely the healthiest soil and the most plentiful container harvest we have ever had.
Jessica from 104 Homestead gives you tons of fun ideas on how to reuse virtually anything and turn it into fun planters!
Jess at Faithful Farmwife gives you super easy DIY instructions on how to turn items that you might otherwise throw (or recycle) into simple planters.
Susan at Momcrieff shows you exactly how she managed to get hold of some great planters that are super expensive in the store for very little money. Learn and be inspired to do it yourself!
-If you’ve never thought about it, take a look at gardening with gutters! There are tons of great flowers, herbs, and vegetables that you can (and should!) Grow in gutters. Ann from A Farm Girl in the Making shows you how!
You can use practically anything for a planter if you’re ready to get a little creative. Mary from Boots and Hooves Homestead shows you some cool upcycling planter ideas you can try today!
Related topics: How to get materials (for construction or other projects) cheaply or free of charge
Cheap or free composting ideas
You don’t need a large compost cup or a fancy box to compost your kitchen waste. In fact, it’s super easy to get started for little to no money! Here are three ways to get the job done, even if you have limited space to work.
Space and money tight? Jess from Faithful Farmwife shows you how to compost in a 5 gallon bucket!
Victoria from A Modern Homestead shows you the exact technique to preserve rich compost in buckets over time.
Vermicomposting is a great way to create a healthy garden. Kris from Attainable Sustainable shows you how to start worm composting cheaply!
Related: How to convince others not to waste (when nobody seems to care)
Cheap or free garden beds and structures
Of course you can buy raised bed frames, pre-made bird baths and grids, but these things cost an arm and a leg and aren’t always better in the long run. The solution? Try these projects that you can do with little to no money! For example, in the photo you can see our first small high culture bed. The results were the best of all gardening techniques I’ve ever tried, and it was so much less than some of our other attempts!
But carefully. Not all upcycling and find materials are created equally. Read these tips to get these materials safely before doing projects with recycled or recovered materials.
Here are some great cheap or free projects to build in and around your garden:
Jessica from 104 Homestead shows you some fun and creative ways to create a beautiful garden grill for little to no money!
Ann from A Farm Girl in the Making shows you some creative ways to create beautiful raised beds with found materials!
Hill culture is a method of soil stratification that leads to healthy plants and fantastic yields! It also improves overall soil health over time. It is one of our most popular gardening methods and autumn from a traditional life shows you how to start!
If you have trees available, these are a great free solution to build beautiful raised beds! Practical Self Reliance’s Ashley shows you how.
Do you know what Hypertufa is? I know I didn’t do it! This is an entertaining project that you can adapt to all types of designs and garden types.
Cold frames are great for gardening in cold weather. Sharon from Simply Canning shows you how you can easily create an (almost) free one!
A pasture fence is a perfect way to use branches, grapevines and other tree pieces in the garden. The result is quaint and picturesque as from a picture book. Tess from Homestead Lady shows you how to make one for yourself!
This great cold frame tutorial uses straw bales instead of wood or blocks. Get the tutorial from Reid Homestead.
Kathi from Oak Hill Homestead shows you some simple and relatively inexpensive ways to trellis plants beyond traditional tomato cages or expensive garden center grids.
We have already done several of these cheap or free projects, but I have so many more to try. I look forward to building things like grids and fences in the near future!
Would you like to build your own homestead someday? Learn all about our off-the-grid Cordwood Homestead project and sign up to access all free homestead tutorials in our resource library!
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