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HomeDIY Garden IdeasGrow Your Own Food Without Spending a Dime: 50+ Zero-Cost Hacks

Grow Your Own Food Without Spending a Dime: 50+ Zero-Cost Hacks

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:


So, you’ve got the basics in place and the tools you’ll need to get started. What’s next?

You might be surprised at how simple and inexpensive it is to create a new growth space.

Your new growing area is ready for construction, so get to work!

Growing Spaces for Free in the Open Air

The location of your new vegetable patch should be your first consideration when setting up an outdoor growing space. When it comes to long-term costs, the appropriate location could make a major impact. Your new kitchen garden’s yield could be significantly affected as well.

Aside with sunlight and shade, watersheds and soil quality are other important considerations. The location of your vegetable garden in relation to other components of your yard, such as the kitchen door and your compost heap, should also be taken into account. The easier it is to tend your vegetable patch, the less waste you’ll produce in the long run.

You’ll also need to decide if you want to grow in the ground, or if you want to build raised beds. Generally speaking, it is less expensive to grow plants underground than on top of a raised bed. New beds don’t require any work on your part in terms of edging or filling.

Filling your beds won’t be a problem, though, if you use the ‘lasagna’ style of construction. It’s possible to get free raised garden bed edging as well, so don’t forget that.

Ground-Level Growing

A ‘created’ growing area may not be necessary if you start with bare, fertile soil. You never know, it could be right there, just waiting for you to find it. It’s also a good idea to put a cover crop or green manure in the area if it’s lacking in fertility before you start growing vegetables.

It’s possible that grass, overgrown, or poor-quality soil would necessitate some preparatory work before you can plant.

Fortunately, this project will cost nothing and require just resources that you may already have on hand from your land and the nearby neighborhood.

Lasagna Beds

In the same manner that lasagna is made in the kitchen, lasagna beds are made in the garden. Instead of layering spaghetti, tomato sauce, and the like, you’re constructing a structure out of organic components.

Creating lasagna beds on lawns or in your garden is an excellent method to expand your growing space. You can create additional areas for a kitchen garden and compost materials in place, rather than in a separate zone, much like you would a traditional compost heap, with layers of brown (carbon-rich) and green (nitrogen-rich) materials.

When making a lasagna-style garden bed, cardboard is typically laid down first. Even though it’ll eventually degrade, it’ll help keep grass and weeds out of your newly planted vegetable garden.

Next, you’ll cover the cardboard in brown and green materials. Most of the time, you can get these for free.

You may be able to obtain brown stuff for free, such as:

  • card and paper that has not been handled
  • dead leaves and branches
  • Chips of wood or other woody stuff
  • straw
  • bracken

You may be able to obtain green products for free, such as:

  • leftovers from your kitchen’s food waste
  • grass clippings
  • green leaves
  • seaweed

If you don’t have access to soil or compost, you may have to buy a little amount of high-quality peat-free compost to top your garden bed. In contrast, if you build your own composting system, you will only have to pay once.

Raised Beds

In the same way, as described before, raised beds can be constructed from the ground up. Keep adding organic stuff until you reach the appropriate depth. Raised beds will eventually sink due to the decomposition of the materials, but you can prevent this by putting mulch on the top.

However, what about the raised bed’s perimeter? Fortunately, there is a slew of cost-free options for natural and repurposed bed edging.

You could also want to experiment with hugelkultur, which is a distinct kind of raised bed. Make your own straw bale garden if you have access to free straw bales in your area.


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