Happy Spring! It's time to get back in the garden and get things into shape. But you're on a budget, you say? Me, too! Here are some ways I get gardening supplies for free (or cheap):
Try Freecycle first
Every spring season, as the community is prepping their yards and gardens, the freebies come out! Many people will list leftover supplies such as pavers, tomato cages, etc. on Freecycle. I've gotten plants from gardeners thinning out their large hostas and daisy plants, and I've even seen bushes and trees offered. If you're not familiar with it, Freecycle is an international non-profit organization that keeps items out of the landfills while building communities. You can find your local chapter at Freecycle.org. You can request gardening items you're looking for, but please offer up some of your own items first.
Use what you have
Before you rush out to spend money, check your basement and shed for items you can reuse or re-purpose. You may have plastic containers, buckets, or recyclables available. I love how MrBrownThumb used toilet paper tubes for seedlings:
Find free mulch or compost
Many counties offer free compost at the local landfill or mulch where they are trimming trees; you need to bring your own containers and/or truck to haul it home yourself. Check your county's website or with a local rec center for more information. You can also learn to make your own compost pile.
Share or trade with friends/neighbors
Instead of renting or purchasing an expensive machine on your own, go in with a neighbor or friend and split the cost. My next-door neighbor and I agreed to re-sod our front lawns at the same time, so we split the cost of renting a tiller, got a better deal on supplies by buying in larger quantity, and split the work. We also have complimentary tools–shovels, wheelbarrow, etc.–instead of duplicates, so between the two of us we have everything we need for our lawns and gardens.
Try Craigslist's “Farm & Garden” section
I just noticed this (since I'm usually looking at furniture there), but there's a “Farm & Garden” category on your local Craigslist. This looks like a way to get large machinery (like riding lawn mowers) at used prices, but I also see small-scale sales like trees and hedges for $3-4. I'll keep an eye on mine and see what I can find for cheap!
Give DIY a try
Before buying, think about how you make your own for a lot less. You can find instructions for everything on the internet, and sometimes it's worth your time and effort vs. the money. For example, you can make a rain barrel which will save you money on water, or you can make cute garden markers instead of buying them.
What other ways can you save on gardening?
Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link. Thanks for supporting MoneywiseMoms at no cost to you!