5 Tips for Gardening on the Cheap

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While most of the country is still covered in snow, California's planting season rapidly approaches. Gardening is one of those hobbies where costs quickly add up before you even realize it. Here are a few ways to get the most bang for your buck.

Here are five tips for frugal gardeners:

1. Work with what you have. Take cuttings and collect seeds from existing plants. This is the best way to fill out a space and stretch your gardening dollar. Certain plants, like succulents, mint, and spider plants are basically foolproof, while others require certain conditions for success.

2. Try a plant swap or seed exchange. Many communities host actual events, or you can find a virtual version on sites like Folia and Garden Web.

3. Check out the Farm and Garden section of Craigslist. It's great for picking up physical supplies like pavers, pots, and fencing, but also plants and leftover sod as well.

4. Use recycled materials. For indoor gardens, use leftover containers— like pretty tea tins— to hold plants that don't require much water, such as cacti and succulents. Leftover pieces of wood from home projects also make great planter boxes, or help define borders in the yard. I recently picked up a pallet to create a vertical succulent garden on our patio.

5. Make sure your money doesn't go to waste. Give the plants you do purchase the best chance of success by paying attention to their needs. If you have beating sun in your yard, stay away from shade-loving plants. And if you are known for neglecting your garden, native plants have the best chance for survival.

(Image credits: Kim Lucian)

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