How to Garden Frugally

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Guest Post from Melissa at Stockpiling Moms:

Today we planted our garden.  It is a fabulous way to build your stockpile and stretch your budget.  Last summer, I was able to can 21 quarts of tomatoes and we ate fresh carrots, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers all summer long.  This year we expanded our garden and we planted in addition to the above blackberries, blueberries, red raspberries, onions, green peppers, hot peppers, corn, potatoes and an herb garden.

We garden organically with no pesticides.  The first year that you garden you will have to spend more out of pocket.  Last year we invested in tomato cages and we were lucky to borrow a roto tiller from our neighbor.  In addition to the cost of our plants and seeds that was about the total of our expenses.  We live on a wooded lot with deer and other pesky rodents so we did have to invest in deer and rodent repellent.

This year my total out of pocket expense for the garden was…drum roll…$11.34!  I used my ACE Hardware rewards and a $10 off any purchase coupon to purchase all of my seeds and repellent this year!  The only expense I had was my tomato plants!  Again, we used our neighbors roto tiller and we were able to reuse all of our tomato cages that we invested in last year!  I will have to spend money on additional deer and rodent repellent mid garden season however I hope to be able to strategically use coupons to reduce my expense.  I am also considering making a thrifty deer repellent myself from one of these frugal homemade recipes.

In addition to gardening we also compost.  I am going to be posting on our compost process and how to build your own compost bin as well as additional posts of our garden success.

I do want to mention that regardless of space you can garden in a small area, within your existing landscaping or even in pots on your patio or deck.  I am very excited to see how our garden progresses this year.  It is a fabulous frugal family activity.  We planted together; we will weed, water, harvest and eat together.

This year I mixed sand in my soil for my carrots as our family friend Mrs. Henderson told me that is a tip for growing longer carrots.  I saved my “old sand” from my son’s sandbox and mixed that into the soil for that row.

Do you garden?  I would love to hear what you plant as well as any tips or tricks that you may have.

Melissa taught Family and Consumer Science (Home Economics) on the high school level for 11 years before becoming a mom. In June 2005 after her son came home from Guatemala, she made the decision to leave her career and become a SAHM. In order to achieve this goal and live on one income, her family had to make some drastic changes in their lifestyle.

In December 2008, she began the switch to stockpiling. This new way of shopping or stockpiling was a big change for her.  After just four months she was already saving $200.00 plus dollars a month! Now she is feeding her family for an average of $150.00 a month total!  This new way of shopping or stockpiling has changed their lives!  In 2009 she saved $3600.00 through stockpiling.  Her hope is through Stockpiling Moms, she will be able to help others join her on the journey to frugal living.


  1. Very nice! This is my first year gardening and yes, we did sink some decent money into our garden. However, we saw it as an investment of something we want to do year in and year out. I also consider a fair amount of the work we did to be landscaping work (sod removal, construction of the boxes, etc.) We also removed a sizeable chunk of sod for our garden. I am curious to see how much money we have to spend next year (I’m guessing it should be minimal since we’re also composting.)

    Thanks for this post – I will share it with my FB followers! ;)

  2. Our garden has been slow this year because it has been cold in our neck of the woods. I am looking forward to your composting ideas.

  3. I only spend $20-25 dollars a year on my garden now. It’s really the start-up costs that can get you. But even that doesn’t have to be a huge expense if you are willing to add a little more each year. I love our garden! We save money and we have better tasting produce.

  4. We started a garden this year just south of Houston. Believe it or not, to build a raised garden with organic soil and compost mix, tomato plants, regular and lemon basil, bell peppers and icebox watermelons I only came out of pocket $15!!!! Earlier in the year I got a $25 gift card from one of our local garden center chains simply for signing up for their email! Told my mom about it, she did the same and gave us her card! Combined with one of their coupons, I got $80 dollars worth of merchandise for $15. Now we’ve got oodles of basil, tomatoes and watermelons all summer long! (No mature peppers yet!)

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