There’s nothing like spring and the promise of warmer summer days right around the corner to awaken one’s inner gardener.
Whether you’re an experienced gardener or a beginner, given these inflationary times, you may need more time to fork out money on gardening supplies and tools. Well, take heart! There are a number of places where you may be able to pick up gardening supplies for free.
LOCAL GARDENING GROUPS
Looking for gardening groups in your local area is a great idea. More than likely, you’ll meet experienced gardeners who are eager to help beginners get started. Any who have recently upgraded their gardening equipment, have extra soil or mulch, or even plant cuttings available for propagation, may be willing to donate them to help spread the joy and encourage newbies to the gardening scene.
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LOCAL CITY OR COUNTY GOVERNMENT
The availability of free gardening supplies from your local government or park service may vary based on your location. Chances are good that local county programs provide residents with seeds, mulch or other supplies. Another resource — your city like mine (Denver, Colorado) — may collect compost that you can acquire for free to use as fertilizer in your garden. The city may be overburdened with mountains of mulch. Do yourself a favor. Make the call to find out.
LOCAL BUY NOTHING GROUP
If you haven’t joined your local Buy Nothing group on Facebook, consider doing that. It’s a fascinating concept and a much-needed program on so many levels. Members will offer items they no longer need, which they are willing to donate to someone in the community who can use them. Keep an eye out for any gardening supplies or plants that may be available. Or you can create a post to request specific items, such as seed packets, mulch, pots or gardening tools. Your request might reach individuals with gardening supplies sitting idle in their garage or shed.
TREE SERVICE COMPANIES
Arborists and general tree-cutting companies tirelessly cut down trees and branches, processing them through a wood chipper, producing an abundance of wood chips that can serve as mulch for your garden. Additionally, these wood chips could assist you in creating the low-maintenance lawn that you’ve been dreaming of.
If you have connections with individuals who work for a tree service company, or are open to making new connections, they could help you obtain free mulch.
Not the first thing that comes to your mind when you consider free garden supplies, Starbucks can actually be a great source. The popular coffeehouse chain offers free spent coffee grounds, a fantastic fertilizer for your garden. Coffee grounds are rich in essential minerals like nitrogen, iron, calcium and magnesium, all promoting healthy plant growth. Even better, perhaps, coffee grounds can help attract more worms to your garden and even absorb heavy metals from the soil.
LOCAL PUBLIC LIBRARY
Your local public library may be an excellent source for obtaining free seeds. Take a look at the library’s calendar to see if there are any upcoming gardening events. Such events may offer free seeds or other gardening supplies to participants. It’s worth checking with your nearby libraries to see if they’re involved in any similar initiatives.
If you’re searching for free gardening supplies, consider checking out online marketplaces such as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Many people use these platforms to give away items they no longer need, and you can find valuable gardening supplies for free. By watching for these listings, you can save money while still obtaining the items you need to tend to your garden.
FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS
Before you go out and load up on gardening supplies, check with friends and neighbors to discover if they have any plants they’d be willing to give you a few cuttings from to grow in your own garden. You may get an enthusiastic response. Just make sure to reciprocate at harvest time!
Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at “Ask Mary.” This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.”
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