Cost Of Starting The Garden. Is It Worth It?

If you’re thinking of starting your own garden, you may be wondering what the cost of getting it started is. There are lots of things to consider with gardening, particularly if you are new to this. This article aims to give you a complete look at the true cost of starting a garden for the average American home.

The total cost to start a 10-foot by 10-foot garden is around $300, including soil, seeds, and tools. The tools will cost around $100, the soil approximately $35 per cubic yard, and seeds as little as $1.50 per pack.

What you want your garden to do for you can vary, so keep reading this article to get a good look at all of the costs involved. You may want your garden to be a nice area to relax in and read a book, or perhaps you want the space to save you money by growing your own food. With lots to consider, you’ll find everything you need to know about starting your garden.

What Costs Are There For Starting A Garden?

What you want to grow in your garden will change the costs involved. Certain plants and seeds are more expensive than others, and there are occasional specialist tools needed. The bigger the garden, the more costly it will be to maintain, and the length of the growing season in your region can add or reduce the total cost as well.

Here’s a closer look at some of the most common elements of a garden and how much it should cost the average American family:

Cost of Plants and Seeds For a Garden

You can pick up plants that can be planted directly into your garden, or you can opt for seeds and raise the plants yourself. Seeds are cheaper than plants, but they will take more care and attention in order to thrive. The price of seeds varies with herbs and flowers starting from as little as $1.50. Seeds for fruits and vegetables are more expensive, starting from around $2-3. 

Plants, on the other hand, will already have flowered and can be planted straight away. They will require a specific care routine, but it will be simpler to follow than with seeds. The cost of plants can vary widely depending on what you buy. You can expect to pay around $5 for small plants and $30+ for bigger plants.

Cost of Gardening Tools and Accessories

A gardener is only as good as his tools. Tools are one of the more expensive parts of starting and maintaining a garden. However, good, well-made products will last a very long time. At a minimum, you are going to need to buy a spade ($30), a hoe ($30), and a trowel ($10). This will get you started, but you may wish to invest in additional tools down the line.

Some plants have thorns and other defense mechanisms that make them hard to handle. A good pair of gardening gloves will set you back around $10. As you get more proficient at gardening, you may wish to invest in other tools such as a rake ($15), aerators ($30), and pruning sheers ($15). It depends on what you are growing as to what additional tools you are going to need.

Cost of Soil For a Garden

The soil that’s already in your garden may not be suitable for homing plants in. That’s because the soil may be depleted of its nutrients which are vital to plants’ growth and survival. You can pick up a kit to test the fertility of the soil for around $15, which will tell you if the soil has enough nutrients for your plants.

The reality is that your soil will likely need to be topped up with some nutrient-rich soil from a gardening center. How much you need will entirely depend on the size of your garden. You can pick up a 0.75 cubic feet bag for less than $5. The soil for a 10-foot by 10-foot garden will cost around $200. It’s recommended that the soil be 3 inches on top of your soil at home.

Cost of Watering Equipment For a Garden

One of the recurring costs associated with gardening is the water bill. Plants need to be watered regularly, although how often depends on the type of plant. You may need to buy additional tools for this, such as a watering can ($10), a hose ($15), or a sprinkler ($8). You must maintain a regular schedule according to your plant’s needs. You can’t rely on the rain, especially in warm regions with little rain.

How You Can Save Money When You Start A Garden

You can save money on the cost of starting a garden if you don’t have a big budget. It doesn’t have the be a massive upfront cost, and you can spread the cost over several months. By developing your garden in stages, you can reduce how much you need to start with. Here are some other great money-saving tips for your garden:

Try Square Foot Gardening To Minimise Costs

The trick here is to not utilize your entire garden. Instead, take a smaller selection, 4 foot by 4 foot or more, and focus on that area. This can drastically reduce your costs, especially for soil. Square foot gardening is a common and popular technique that saves space, time, and money.

The benefits of square foot gardening also include higher yields. You can expect to grow a lot in a small space that can help to stock your food pantry. You’ll also spend less time maintaining this kind of garden. Initially, there will be no weeding that needs to be done, although, over time, unwanted seeds may find their way in. The maintenance for a square foot garden will be a big time saver as well, as you only need to care for this section instead of the whole garden.

Make Your Own Compost

Compost can help to revitalize your soil and provide a variety of nutrients that your plants will love. This is particularly useful for areas with sandy soil which doesn’t retain nutrients or water as well. Compost can be made at home using your own kitchen waste. Among the things that you can add to your own compost are tea leaves, hay, sawdust, newspaper, leaves, wood chips, table scraps, eggshells, flowers, coffee grounds, and manure.

Start Growing Seeds Indoors

Seeds are certainly going to be cheaper than buying grown plants. To ensure you’re only planting the strongest, healthiest plants outside, you can start your seeds inside. You can monitor the growth of the plant and enjoy the benefits that come from having indoor plants. Once the plant has grown big enough, it can be transplanted into the flowerbed outside. 

Some plants will need to be hardened off before they are moved outside permanently. This is an easy process where you will take the plant outside for a few hours, increasing that a little longer every day until the plant is outside for 24 hours a day. It will then be ready to be planted outside.

Grow Fruit and Vegetables

You can really maximize the returns on your investment by growing the fruit and vegetables that you want to eat. You don’t need to grow an abundance of plants because that will drive up your costs. Instead, choose the kind of foods you like to eat and grow enough for your household. 

Try not to plant too much as this can lead to food waste which is a big problem for beginner gardeners. Also, consider only planting the things that your family eats as cheaper seeds that no one will eat will contribute to waste.

Cost To Rent a Garden

If you don’t have space at home to start your own garden, you may consider renting one. There are community gardens all across America that you can apply for a plot in. Waitlists can be quite lengthy as plots are in high demand. The good news is that the annual cost for a plot in a community garden is very reasonable. Here are some average prices for cities across America:

  • Ann Arbor, Michigan – $130 per year for a full plot. $80 per year for a half plot.
  • Ventura, California – $85 per 6 month lease. The average plot size 18ft x 20ft.
  • Missoula, Montana – $40 – $70 for a full plot depending on household income.
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico – $25 per year. The average plot size is 10ft x 16ft.
  • Vancouver, Washington – $38 – $54 for a full plot and $20 – $28 for a half plot. Discounts available for residents and senior citizens.

You should be able to find more information about community gardens in your area online. If there aren’t any in your local area, there will likely be space available in the major cities in your state. 

Is It Worth It To Start A Garden?

The biggest factor for if your garden will be worth it financially is down to what you use it for. If you grow fruit and vegetables, which save you money on your food shop, then over time, your garden will be worth it. However, if you want your garden to house plants and trees with a focus on aesthetics, then it is a bigger drain on your finances. Ultimately it is up to you whether you perceive the investment as being worth it.

A garden that produces fresh fruit and vegetables can decrease your outgoings each week on groceries. The biggest investment here is the time it takes to care for your plants. Gardening can have a positive impact on your physical health as it can prove to be quite the workout. People also note the positive impact gardening has on their mental health as well.

To really figure out how much you can save by growing fruit and vegetable, you should work out how much you spend on groceries. You can then compare that number to the cost involved with getting your garden up and running. The thing to remember is that your garden can last a lifetime, so the real savings occur over time.

Tips For Starting A Garden At Home

If you’re new to gardening, then it can seem like a daunting idea, but it is a great thing to try. There are physical, mental, and financial benefits, and you get to be creative with it. Designing your garden is part of the fun. To give you the best start with your new garden, here are some tips that will help you out:

Watch How Sunlight Hits Your Garden

Most plants need the sun to thrive, for many of the fruits and vegetables you’ll plant, they like at least 6 hours. Before you start planting, be sure to take note of how the sun hits your garden. Try to start your garden in a location that gets plenty of suns.

Your Water Source

Water is another essential thing that your plants will need to grow strong and healthy. Make sure that your garden has easily accessible water. This may mean planting nearer the house or getting a long enough hose otherwise, you’ll need to fill up a watering can and make several trips.

When Is Growing Season?

America is a big country, so what works in Washington will not work in Florida. The growing season will vary, so be sure to make check for your area. You should also check for when the last spring frost dates are in your area. Planting too early will kill your plants before they have a chance to grow.

Check Your Progress

Gardening is a really involved process that you spend a lot of time and care perfecting. Be sure to regularly check the progress of your garden. Look out for things like how well-watered are the plants, how healthy do they look, and if they are getting enough sun. You should also take some time to enjoy your garden and the hard work you put into it!

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