My family and I started our own garden "Back to Eden Gardens" in Southwest Florida about a year ago.
To be quite frank, I never thought our garden would be as versatile as it is today, in fact, I never even thought we would ever have an edible garden.
We, or should I say, I started with two dying flowers that I happened to find in the clearance isle of Home depot and the goal was to bring them back to life. The word got out about me "resuscitating" the plants and all of the sudden I had friends giving me dying plants to take care of.
Things got even more serious when my husband grew an interest for gardening too. He is the type of person who gets really involved when he is passionate about something so I am so glad he is on board.
And that's a great tip there, if you are in a relationship or are married, try to get your partner involved in some way, try to make gardening exciting for them as it is for you. After all, this is a life style and it will require commitment and perseverance.
Now, let's get down to the nitty gritty and go straight to the point on how we started and how you can too, start your own edible garden with no money.
How you can start an edible garden with no money
1 - Regrow food
Aim to buy foods you can regrow and repurpose fruits and vegetables.
Here are foods you can regrow:
2 - Save the seeds
We started growing mangoes, papaya, eggplants and so many other plants simply by harvesting the seeds of the foods ate.
There are so many seeds available right at the supermarket, here are some foods you can buy to harvest the seed:
Peaches and nectarines
3 - Be on the look out for free plants
If you search, you will find people giving away plants and a lot of times they are edible plants. We use Craigslist and facebook market place.
We were able to get our cranberry hibiscus for free from someone that was giving it away on facebook marketplace and just wanted it gone from their backyard.
Also, many local and state parks possess an array of different species of plants and sometimes there are fruits on the ground that you can take the seed and plant it or you may be able to take a cutting out of it, just be on the look out for them and you will start seeing edible plants everywhere.
4 - Propagate/ Cuttings
Propagating cuttings is super easy and many plants can be grown that way.
If you know someone with a particular plant you want but they don't have any seeds to share, ask them for a cutting so you can propagate it in water first and then plant them once there are roots.
We use this method to multiply our plants and it works very well.
Here are some plants that will propagate well:
5 - DIY Items for your garden
If you are on a mission to really build an edible garden with little to no money then DIY-ing will definitely be one of your best friends.
For example, I really wanted a cute bird feeder for the garden, first because I love watching birds, they bring so much peace and joy and then they are also great for the garden. They take and bring seeds and their manure is fertilizer for the soil.
A friend of mine had given me a tea cup art piece and we had a piece of tree trunk left over from another project so I figured if I bonded those two together I could have a super cute bird feeder for $0 dollars.
Here's the final result.
6 - Free gardening items
Once you realize that anything and everything can turn into a gardening tool, you will literally start collecting so many things you used to throw it in the trash.
Think of tomato sauce glass jars or the like that can be used to propagate cuttings or the yogurt big tubs that can be turned into a plant pot.
Also, don't forget to always look around wherever you go and be alert for anything that is being thrown out that can be used in your garden.
When we go to Home Depot or Lowes, we always check the garden area and look for black plastic planters that people bring back. They usually just end up in the trash as Home Depot or Lowes really have no use for them, as I was told by one of the employees. You can always ask them, " Hey do you guys have some free pot ?" Just kidding on the script but you can certainly ask them if they do have the planting plastic pots people have brought back to recycle and if you can have them.
7 - Free Mulch/Compost
Check with your county or city if they provide free mulch and where you can obtain it. As trees get trimmed and/or cut throughout the cities and towns, they are mulched and dumped in specific areas.
In my county, there are five different locations where you can obtain mulch for for totally free.
Mulch and/or compost is great for the soil and it attracts many beneficial insects to the garden making the soil very fertile.
If your city/county doesn't offer free mulch then contact local nurseries, farmers, and mulch companies and ask them if they ever have an overage of mulch/compost that they would like to get rid of to contact you. Just be sure you are capable of picking it up when they contact you.
8 - Free fertilizer
There are many ways you can fertilize your soil for almost no cost!
Of course, the type of soil you have will depend on where in the world you are located as well as the bugs and insects will also differ. Take Southwest Florida where our family lives, this is the home of the millipedes, they look like worms but in my opinion they are much prettier and easier to handle.
Millipedes, just like worms, create castings that are a great fertilizer for the soil and they are super easy to attract too.
You can also use animal manure, rabbit being the best one, however, you can also use your dog or cat manure considering you feed them a clean diet, although they aren't as powerful as other animal's.
Another way you can fertilize your soil for free is by using food scraps. From vegetables and fruits peels to egg shells, you can bury them in your garden and let it decompose or you can also invest in a compost bin such as this one.
9 - Barter
Bartering is a great way to grow your garden for free! Look for other gardeners in your area and offer some of your plants or seed for one of theirs.
This can be a great way to make new friends while adding more edibles to your garden.
10 - Pinterest is your bestie!
If you need ideas definitely head over to Pinterest for inspirations and ideas on gardens. So many ideas in my garden were only possible because I am a Pinterest head, there I said it, I am addicted!
There is just so much inspiration, diy's and on budget friendly articles to explore so take advantage of it!
Although you may not have all the tools to complete the projects right away, you can pin the article so when you do have all the materials you can just go right back to it and get it done.
That's exactly what happened when I saw a fence made out of bamboos. I knew the chances of finding bamboo for free or someone giving it away was more likely to happen than a cute all white picket fence so I saved tons of pins on Pinterest and when we finally found someone giving away bamboo on craigslist I went right back to my garden Pinterest board.
Follow me on Pinterest to keep up with all the pins that have inspired me.
Growing an edible garden is very rewarding but just like growing living things it requires dedication and regular maintenance, I often associate a garden to a house pet like a dog or a cat because it also requires love and attention.
If you take care of your edible garden today, it will take care of you tomorrow so strive to always buy organic, non-GMO and free of any pesticides, whether it is seeds or actual foods.
Have any questions? Send me a DM on Instagram.