There is no need to spend a fortune on a vegetable garden or kitchen garden. You don’t need to spend a dime on most of the essentials to get started.
As a way to help new gardeners get started on the path to greater resilience and self-sufficiency, here are some zero-cost tips for planting a vegetable garden right now:
1. THE BASICS: START GROWING AT ZERO COST
To begin, keep in mind that most of the things plants require to develop are already there. Sunlight, nutrients from the soil and air, and water are all necessities for plants.
Nature already offers a lot of what you need for gardening, despite the fact that it can appear complicated at times. Seeds, time, and a little work are all you’ll need to get started.
Being sure to meet your garden’s long-term demands won’t set you back a dime. So, let’s see how you may keep your garden healthy and fertile for years to come without having to invest a penny:
Composting is an essential part of an organic garden’s overall operation. It is the process by which we ‘recycle’ good waste and other biodegradable materials and return the nutrients contained in them to our growing areas.
It is possible to increase your self-reliance and establish a long-term, self-sustaining growing system by installing a composting system on your property.
Composting For Free
Here are some tips to help you get started with a free composting system:
Creating a simple compost bin or cold compost heap is as simple as creating a heap in the corner of your property. Use materials you already have or can get for free to keep the compost contained and to keep things looking nice. There are a variety of materials that can be used to build a compost bin structure. Compost bins can be made from reclaimed wood, such as old pallets or scrap fencing. Recycled barrels or drums can also be used for this purpose.
Composting kitchen wastes in an upcycled 5-gallon bucket is a simple, cost-effective solution. Old food containers or storage bins might be utilized for this purpose.
You can also experiment with vermicomposting or use a bokashi system to boost the amount of compost you can produce.
Another approach for composting is to just compost in place, which can do two things at once. In the section where we discuss creating a new growing space, you’ll learn more about composting in place.
More Fertilizers at No Cost
Gardeners have other options besides composting when it comes to replenishing the soil’s nutrients. You can also produce your own free fertilizers and fertility boosters for your plants by repurposing free things around you.
For instance, you could:
Make leaf mold out of fallen leaves from your garden in the fall.
Make use of free or low-cost mulches like comfrey or grass clippings, as well as other natural materials around your home (e.g. seaweed, bracken, straw, leaves etc..).
Comfrey can be used to make liquid fertilizers for your garden.
You should never have to buy fertilizer for your garden if you employ these strategies and all the organic stuff you have at your disposal.
When planning your vegetable garden, keep in mind whether or not you’ll have to water it by hand.
Even if you grow your vegetables in the open air, it is likely that you will need to water your garden at some point during the year. Even in locations with significant rainfall, dry spells can occur frequently throughout the spring and summer.
The first thing you can do is think about how you can manage the rain that does fall on your land. Storage options for water include:
- the actual trees and plants that make up the landscape.
- the soil.
- ponds, reservoirs, and basins.
- Barrels, cisterns, or rainwater tanks are all viable options.
If you have the ability to collect and store extra water on your land, all the better. The following factors can affect how much water our gardens collect and store:
- selecting appropriate plants and avoiding any bare soil as much as you can is essential.
- Mulching and earthmoving can help keep water in the soil longer.
- Adding organic stuff to the soil to enrich it.
- The act of excavating a body of water. (These can be dug by hand on a modest scale.) By using natural clay from your property, you may even be able to eliminate the expense of installing pond liners or equivalent and keep your costs at zero
- Capturing rainwater that falls from the roofs of your home and any other buildings or structures on the property. Creative gardeners may be able to put up free watering systems by using repurposed pipes and gutters, as well as reclaimed containers like old barrels or drums to hold water.
- When it rains, you can collect some water for your vegetable garden by putting buckets and other containers outside.
Catching and storing rainwater is an obvious way to save money for anyone with a water meter. However, there is a slew of additional benefits, both immediate and long-term, to collecting rainwater in your garden.
Developing Biodiverse, Thriving Ecosystems
Another thing to keep in mind when you design your vegetable garden is that it will be hardier if it is more diversified. Over time, the more resilient your garden is, the easier it will be to maintain it at no expense and without the use of pesticides.
Maintaining a wide variety of plants and animals in your kitchen garden is essential to its success. You’ll be able to save a lot of money, time, and effort if you do that.