How to Start a Vegetable Garden on a Budget in 2024

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These budget vegetable garden for beginners tips will help you start growing delicious vegetables to eat them later without spending a fortune.

There are a number of reasons to start a vegetable garden – not least the great taste that freshly picked vegetables give you, or the access to seasonal vegetables.  However, while it can be an expensive business getting together the tools, seeds, plants, and equipment to start your own vegetable garden it needn’t be.  Our 6 easy tips for starting a budget vegetable garden will get you growing your own quickly, easily and with the minimal outlay or your time, effort, and importantly money.

Grow vegetables that save you the most money

You’ll need your shopping receipts to work this outlook for the vegetables that you use most regularly and how much they cost.  If you opt for the ones that cost you the most money, then growing them yourself is going to help you save more money. 

There are several vegetables that you can grow to save money, but my favorite example of this is salad leaves and lettuce.  Last week a bag of salad leaves cost $1.30 or the offer was 2 bags for $2.  Now we would normally use 2 bags of salad leaves over a week, especially if the weather is warm.  Compare that to a bag of salad leaf seeds costing less than $1 – AND producing the same result as 24 bags of salad leaves from the supermarket and you can see how you’re going to be able to save money.  

You can easily grab a selection bag of seeds and mix up your salad intake, rather than just growing the same all the time too. 

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Plant vegetables in succession to save money

The best way to ensure that you have a regular supply of fresh veggies is to sow your seeds in succession – so plant a few a week, to give you a regular supply, as, unlike many root vegetables salad leaves don’t store too well.  However, it doesn’t just work for salad leaves.  Sowing beetroot, carrots, and peas in succession also mean that you get a freshly pick crop to enjoy throughout the months of harvest. 

Many of the vegetables that you grow can be stored easily in a cold dark place, but they’re always so much better if you pick them fresh, especially peas – which we love fresh from the pod – and which work well grown in pots!

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Make your own compost

Now while this isn’t an immediate money saver as making compost can take a while – from 3 months to two years, some of the hot composting bins can reduce the time taken incredibly.  And it is incredibly rewarding.  

Making your own compost can also be a great way to increase the amounts of recycling and reusing that your household does.  And you’ll know that it’s definitely recycled.  No need to take garden waste to the household recycling centers anymore, and use fuel to get there, just put it into your composter and you’ll be improving the quality of your vegetable growing for future years too.

It’s easy to get started making your own compost – tea bags, vegetable peelings, cardboard, egg boxes, and fallen leaves can all go into your composter. There’s a lot in fact that you can recycle and make into compost, especially if you use a compost bin.

You can make a vegetable growing container out of just about anything

When you’re starting a budget vegetable garden there’s no need to spend a fortune. You can grow vegetables in containers really easily, reducing your outlay significantly. And that doesn’t mean that you need to go out and buy snazzy new pots and containers. 

You can use a bucket, old containers from just about anything, an old wheelbarrow, even try old cooking pans. And don’t forget grow bags or even compost bags. Some of the best potatoes that you will grow will be grown in bags – so why not also grow other vegetables in bags? It’s just as easy and it makes your garden VERY portable. Just be sure to give yourself a few drainage holes otherwise you’ll end up with a very waterlogged situation!

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Grow vegetables from seed to save money

While buying vegetable plants will get you harvesting quicker, it’s a lot more expensive. Growing from seed will save you a lot of money. Pick seeds for vegetables that you eat regularly, and for varieties that are hardy, or designed for beginners and you’ll save the heartache of problem plants.   

You’ll also want to select the vegetables to grow that grow quickly, as there is nothing better to spur you on that quick success – so think about salad leaves and spinach which you can grow from seed in just 4 weeks. You don’t even need a big garden, it’s easy to grow peas, carrots, and spinach in pots quickly and easily.

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Swap seeds and your harvest

Most packets of seeds will be a lot more than you need for your first year.  We made a big mistake in our first year of growing by planting enough tomato seeds to net us 480 tomatoes, for a family of 2 that was a huge number of tomatoes.  So make friends with the neighbors, haunt the local allotments or ask friends and family what they’re growing and swap a few seeds.  It’s a great way to find other kitchen gardeners and also to expand the range of what you grow.  

Seeds will normally keep for 1-2 years if you keep them in a cool dry place.

If you end up with a glut of vegetables, then why not swap those too? Too many zucchinis can (we know by experience), make you never want to look at another zucchini ever, so build up your network of gardeners as you’re swapping seeds and swap your harvest as well!  It will not only increase your future seed banks, but you’ll also potentially get to try some different vegetables without having to grow them yourselves!

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Final Words on Starting a Vegetable Garden on a Budget

Starting a vegetable garden on a budget is actually pretty easy.  You just need a plan – what you want to grow and how you’re going to grow it.  It’s a rewarding way to save money, enjoy spending time outside, and if it works for you, getting the whole family involved.  

We recommend starting small, and expanding your vegetable garden – get a few good harvests of vegetables that you enjoy and then expand your gardening and growing expertise.

Sarah is an avid vegetable gardener and consumer of her own produce. She’s grown vegetables in bags, boxes, raised beds, hanging baskets and buckets as well as on windowsills. She writes about her adventures in edible gardening at Lets Grow Cook.

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