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Organic Gardening on a Budget


When I think of the word ‘organic,’ I usually think of the produce I find at Whole Foods–the beautiful, wildly overpriced produce that mesmerizes me because the store pays someone very well to create those gorgeous displays. But I digress…

Lest you think I drown myself in pricey food each week, I don’t shop for my produce at Whole Paycheck Foods. In fact, I don’t really spend much money at all on produce (at least during the summer and fall). How does a self-professed lover of veggies avoid spending oodles of cash on her produce tab?

I garden!

On my back porch at any given time, you’ll find a plethora of potted plants ranging from herbs and tomatoes to strawberries and peppers. I live in an urban area, so I don’t really have a yard to garden in (besides, I’m pretty sure the neighborhood cats and coons would have a field day back there even if I did!), but I’ve carefully honed the craft of a potted garden as a way to reap my veggie-filled summer bounties.

Here are some tips I share with those who ask how they can do the same when it comes to growing their own organic gardens on the cheap:

Think Outside the Bed

Even if you do have a yard in which to garden, it’s not a requirement that you spend money to install and maintain raised beds. In fact, most gardens can be edged with the very plants that fill them, eliminating the need to have the raised beds in the first place. Last year, I was desperate for more space so I mixed my basil plants in with the flowers my downstairs neighbor had planted in front of the building. The basil flourished and made a beautiful backdrop for the pansies that were already there!

Embrace the Power of Multiplying

I make sure to plant things that come with high yields, such as tomatoes, squash, peppers and greens. Not only are these plants easy to maintain, but they continue to produce food months after their first harvest if taken care of properly.

Organic Means No Chemicals

This is a no-brainer, but I’m always surprised by how many people don’t understand the basics of keeping their gardens pest-free without using chemicals. I once read about a soapy water, pepper and garlic mixture and when I tried it, it worked like a charm. Now I keep a few spray bottles on the porch, and I mist my plants each time I water them. Herbs are a natural repellent, so I also benefit from their pest-deterring powers.

Make it a Group Effort

Gardening can be quite social if you’re willing to get to know your neighbors. I’ve borrowed tools, swapped seeds and shared the fruits of our collected labor. Not only am I passing along good, neighborly karma points, but I’m scoring lots of free things such as compost, mulch and homemade plant food that I would otherwise need to buy. All in all, it’s a win-win for everyone involved.

How do you trim your gardening expenses?

This post was written by Jen, a staff writer from The Happy Homeowner



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. We’re not doing a garden this year with the new baby, but I love what you did with the basil. Most people with even a balcony can grow fresh herbs, and the savings are huge. Plus, so many herbs are pretty enough to be used with flowers decoratively, and they tend to be pest-free and easy to grow.

    • It definitely makes sense to focus on what’s most important right now–your new bambino; congrats!

      It’s true–you really don’t need much space at all to have a thriving garden that saves you some serious cash.

  2. We planted our garden in post again this year. I wrote a post a few weeks ago about how we save money with our gardening. One of the things we did this year was ask friends and family if they had any flower pots they weren’t going to use. We also started some of our plants from seeds and gave the leftovers to a neighbor since we didn’t need all of them in the package.

    • That’s great that you’re reusing things and sharing–I’ve found a great little community through gardening 🙂

  3. Strategic watering so as not to waste water seems to make a huge difference.

  4. I may try to do the tomatoes in pots. We have a nice patio, and I prefer the fresh tomatoes to the hybridized gargantuan ones without flavor.

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