How to start a cheap home garden in Florida?

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  • #92223 Reply

      We are interested in starting a home garden with our small children. We wanted to do a couple raised beds, but to build them, fill with dirt and plants, it gets pretty expensive. We are in Florida so it’s already time to start. Any suggestions on how to get started inexpensively?

      We changed our minds and will try starting from seeds instead of buying plants. What else can we do to save money but still have a big nice garden?


      #92224 Reply

        I bought totes (big ones) from an auction! Going to drill drain holes in the bottom and add clean rocks leaves, clean dirt and potting soil to them.

        #92225 Reply

          Check out straw bale gardening. I did that for several seasons in addition to raised beds, and they worked great. You have to prepare the straw bales with fertilizer for a couple of weeks to get the composting process started, and if you are growing from seed you will need a small amount of soil to plant the seeds in, but not even close to what is required to fill raised bed.

          There are no weeds to contend with, few pests, and no bending required to tend to the garden.

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          #92226 Reply

            Barrel garden. Food grade barrels from FBmkt, holes for drainage, paint white so won’t overheat, fill half with branches and twigs, top with good soil. Critter proof.


            #92227 Reply

              Pallets are free. Do make sure they are not sprayed with something. No, I don’t know. Google it. Old fence pickets. Stay away from tires.

              #92228 Reply

                I’ve built raised beds with cedar pickets and the cement raised bed corners. You can make a 6×6 bed for about $30. Then join some gardening or horse groups and ask to pick up aged manure.

                I have horses and just use my old manure to fill my beds. Then, I top them with some potting soil.

                My plants loved it last year! Also learn to seed save to keep your seed purchases down from year to year. I’ve currently gone up 2-3 layers, but I started out by just doing just 1 picket high.

                I’ve also gotten free wood chips from the city to use as a mulch top and that has worked well.


                #92229 Reply

                  Buckets, or just stir up a small area add compost . Get a rain barrel to collect rain water.

                  #92230 Reply

                    You can Repurpose all kinds of things. My husband came across 4 bathtubs that were being taken to the dump. They are now in our back yard and we are working on filling them. Check FB marketplace for free or cheap fill dirt. The only thing I would recommend shelling out the money for is good quality compost.

                    If you have a Habitat for Humanity ReStore in your area, you can find some wonderful options to repurpose.

                    We even found some seed starting trays with the peat pellets and everything.

                    #92231 Reply

                      Due to the expense, we have started with large containers.  we liked the look of the plastic half whiskey barrels at Lowe’s. Each year we get two or three more, and enough potting soil to fill them. Not garden soil, not topsoil, has to be potting soil because it is now a potted plant. Learned that the hard way. The very first year, we used buckets, but those aren’t UV protected and broke down pretty quick. Our biggest other expense has been water.

                      We noticed our water bill going up $20-$30 a month. Which is too much. We have now invested in a rain barrel for this season and I’m hoping that will offset using water from the house. The rain barrel was on sale at Sam’s Club, and it cost about the same as one season of watering our planter garden.

                      I often set a trellis directly behind planters that have Vining plants.  this year I bought my seeds at the dollar tree which were $.25 per packet. There’s not many seeds in there and it would not be good for a large garden, but perfect for small planters. Even if only half the seeds germinate. In the future, I will start harvesting, drying and saving seeds for next year.

                      #92232 Reply

                        I’ve taken the end of romaine lettuce & planted it, also with celery. I take the tops off of peppers & plant those. I also take the ends of zucchini & yellow squash.

                        #92233 Reply

                          Once you build the walls to the raised beds can use stakes and weave sturdy bendable limbs in them. Or larger rocks …or anything will hold the soil from washing away. Layer any smaller limbs and leaf material you can find then soil…some places have buy one get one bag free gardening soil in the spring . Get 1 bag of compost manure to 3 bags of soil . The leafs will be weighed down by the soil and while they decompose they’ll feed the roots. Fill up and make sure you put the compost manure as you add just mix a bit .

                          Don’t forget some type of supports for plants like pole beans and tomatoes cucumbers to climb on . Larger seeds grown fast like beans squash and cucumbers can over shadow smaller slower plants like tomatoes and pepper plants

                          For the kids the beans might get their attention since the come up quickly like 2 or 3 days when it warm weather…so make sure you take them daily to look…lol.

                          Water Mellon grow slower but will travel sometime 10 feet from starting place…but kids love them too.

                          Tomatoes need plenty of root room…cherry and grape tomatoes if kids like them will be something they can pick earlier and eat.

                          If plants like watermelon and squash look sad suddenly try covering the root base thru the summer any where they loose leafs…the vine has root systems that attach to the ground as they grow and draw up from them …older part can be covered as needed …but don’t try and move the vines as they already attached..

                          Mostly don’t over do on plants….just have fun

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