10 Cost-Effective Creative Ideas to Home Gardening

Feeling the warm, pleasing rays of the sun plus the fresh and cool breeze while working at your beautiful garden is definitely reviving, and of course, inspiring. But does gardening have to be an expensive hobby?

I’d say no. Just check out these 10 creative yet budget-friendly gardening ideas.

1. Regrow veggies and herbs in water.

Basil grown in water placed in a cup.Basil grown in water placed in a cup.Basil grown in water placed in a cup.Do you know that some of your kitchen vegetable and herb scraps can be regrown in water? Yes, you hear that right. You only need a cup of water, a basin of water, or any container with water where you put them and wait until they develop new growth and are ready for harvest. But why in water?

Well, there are three major reasons to back this up. One, water is free; it is everywhere. You can even use the boiled water where you cooked the eggs or warm anything. Two, it is super easy that even a toddler can create his or her own water garden at home. And third and the most important, it is proven healthy and effective; the regrown veggies and herbs can actually give you the same vitamins and minerals.

Based on a list released by Don’t Waste the Crumbs, the top 10 vegetables that you can regrow in water are: Bok Choi, Cabbage, Carrot Greens, Celery, Fennel, Garlic Chive, Green Onion, Leek, Lemongrass, and Lettuce. Others can be grown in water alone but should be transplanted in soil for optimum development including herbs like basil, cilantro, ginger, mint, and rosemary.

A more professional approach is called hydroponic gardening. SFGATE explains this process:

Roots are submerged in a water-based nutrient solution, while the upper part is supported above water level. Hydroponically grown vegetables are considered healthier because the process eliminates weeds, bacteria and soil-borne pests. You can use hydroponic systems indoors and grow fresh vegetables year-round.”

2. Plant in eggshells.

Putting soil in eggshells.

Source: Flickr’s Personal Creations

Eggshells are free (after all, you are just going to throw them away after use) and loaded with the minerals that your plants will love. The General Chemistry Online reveals that:

The main ingredient in eggshells is calcium carbonate (the same brittle white stuff that chalk, limestone, cave stalactites, sea shells, coral, and pearls are made of). The shell itself is about 95% CaCO3 (which is also the main ingredient in sea shells). The remaining 5% includes calcium phosphate and magnesium carbonate and soluble and insoluble proteins.”

According to SquawkFox, “All green thumbs (and a few green fingers) know that sprouting seedlings instead of buying store-grown plants saves you nearly 90% on your gardening costs.” This even makes for a nice project for the kids as the final product is kid and pet friendly.

3. Use coffee grounds and filters.

Coffee filter in a cup.

Source: CC BY-SA 3.0 Uploaded by Elya

We all know making your own coffee is far less expensive than ordering out. But do you know that coffee grounds and filters can be used in your garden?

Coffee grounds are actually full of nitrogen, a soil nutrient that will really “perk” your plants up! On top of that, Pop Sugar has found that placing a paper filter in the pot keeps the soil moist without letting all of the water drip through the bottom of the pot. They’re even biodegradable.

Mick Telkamp of HGTV says that: “Coffee isn’t normally appreciated for its nutritional value, but the organic matter found in that coffee filter is a notable source of nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and copper and can be used to bolster the health of plants without investing in costly commercial soil amendments.”

4. Try upside down wine bottles.

Upside down wine bottle for gardening.

Source: Flickr’s jenny downing

Jody from The Greenest had the clever idea of using a wine bottle in her garden. Several days of not watering, and you get to recycle a wine bottle. According to her:

Simply fill the wine bottle with water, quickly flip it upside down and push the open end of the bottle into the dirt.  Depending on how hot it is, and how much your plants like water, this simple trick can save you a few (and sometimes several) days of watering. 

This trick works especially well with patio plants and seedlings you are trying to establish – I don’t think my tomato plants would have ever survived without it – but it also works well as a supplement for especially sunny areas that might need just a little more water than other areas in your garden.”

 5. Place plastic forks.

Plastic forks placed in a garden.

Though plastic forks aren’t biodegradable, you can re-use them in your garden as a safe way to prevent animals from eating your delicious herbs, vegetables, and plants.

Keep the animals from pooping on you fresh herbs, fruits and veggies by strategically placing a few plastic forks in your garden,” advised by Ellie of Positive Gardening.

6. Create a mason jar herb garden.

Mason jar with plant. Claire Zinneker has found a stylish way of using old mason jars to make a hanging herb garden. You can also try this when growing cucumbers indoors

Remember two weeks ago when I asked for your opinion on which hanging herb garden you liked best? Well, your votes weighed heavily in favor of option #1… so, using it as inspiration, I created my very own indoor herb display. So excited to share the final product…and to get cooking with my personal garden just in for guests to arrive! Want to make your own? We’ve got the simple instructions after the jump…” Source: camillestyles.com

7. Put a garbage can of compost between tomatoes.

A garbage of compost placed in between tomato plants.

Photo from Home Talk

James Bryan grew the largest tomatoes he ever has with this neat trick: he planted them around a garbage can full of compost. The can was filled with water, with holes in the bottom to let it escape.

I started May 28th planting 4 tomatoes around a garbage can with holes drilled in the bottom rim and a second row up about 10 inches. I buried the can to where the top holes just barely were above the ground, put in two shovels full of compost, then I fill the can up with water ever 2 days and tried not to water the leaves. These four plants are now 5 ft 4 inches in less that a month and a half and loaded with green tomatoes and about a hundred sets of tomato blossoms.”

8. Make a potato tower.

A potato tower.

Photo from Growing Lots Urban Farm

A bit of compost, hay, and wire fencing is all you need to grow some amazingly easy to harvest potatoes. No digging is required – simply lift the fencing up and they fall out the bottom.

I decided to create potato towers as living fence posts.  This is a multi-functional element – and multi-functionality is a key component of Permaculture design.  Not only does it act as a fence post, it allows me to grow a significant amount of food in a small space (think vertical!), and also add beauty.  What is a potato tower you say, and how in the world do you make one?  Well, follow me, and I will lead you down the proverbial rabbit hole to ‘tater land…

See the step by step instructions to build your own potato tower on Growing Lots Urban Farm.

9. Build a soda bottle water drip feeder.

Tomato plant with green fruits.

Image from The Gardening Cook.

You can’t always be there to water your garden and if you plan to grow tomatoes, know that these plants like deep watering. The cooking gardener has the solution:

Drip feeders are great for a variety of different vegetables, perennials and annuals. Many plants prefer the moisture at their roots instead of from overhead sprinklers which can encourage some leaf problems. There are many retail products available, but this Soda Bottle Drip Feeder makes use or recycled materials and works really well.”

10. Support watermelons with old t-shirts.

Supporting the weight of watermelons against the ground using t-shirts.

Image from the Vegetable Gardener

Creating a sling out of old t-shirts is a crafty way to support the growth of watermelons in your garden. It also saves precious space in the garden floor for other vegetables. Read more about this crafty idea and others on the Vegetable Gardner.

Gardening has been originally conceived to be affordable and environmentally-friendly, which continues to be so, until now.

The presence of cost-effective vegetables and herbs will always be there.