I’m sorry it has been a while friends. I think those in our household are back among the living. We have spent the last week quarantined to our house and after a week of rain I feel like I need to share something that brings me a little happiness.
Since I got married I have wanted a patio garden. I have dreamed of going out to my patio and picking little herbs to use in my pasta, or a tomato to use in a dish. Its like how people dream of picket fences, I dream of gardens. Our last apartment was not suitable to grow anything, we were in a basement without sunlight. At this place we have a south facing patio. Perfect for my dreams of gardening and eating outside. So we decided to give it a shot this year.
We’ve just planted our little garden, and now is a good time to plant yours too! My family always planted our garden around Mothers Day to avoid the frost. So if you are interested in stating a little container garden or patio garden of your own, or just want to plant some herbs. Give it a shot. This is the perfect time to plant.
These cute little pots came from the dollar store! The perfect (cheap) way to start a patio garden.
Growing up my family always had a garden. It was large and full of goodness. We grew rows of strawberries, raspberries, grapes, tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, corn, onions, beans, peas, and more. I loved it. I admit as a kid I probably didn’t appreciate how cool that really was. I just despised weeding Saturday mornings. I’m glad my parents stuck with it though because I know have a love for gardening and can’t wait to have a yard of my own.
Select your spot:
Our little patio faces south and sits behind a giant tree. It doesn’t get a ton of direct sun light, but it gets just enough. You want to pick an area that gets lots of sunlight, and full sunlight. If you just want to grow some herbs, even a windowsill will work. We are 3 floors up so there isn’t really a chance of me using a flower bed or anything like that, so I had to do everything in containers.
Choose what to plant
Once you have selected a spot with sunlight for your little garden. Choose what types of things you want to eat, so you know what to grow. If you are new to gardening or don’t have much room, I’d suggest growing even a pot of basil. I absolutely love picking some basil and throwing it in my pasta! Your mouth will thank you.
When choosing what to plant, plant things you will actually eat. Seems silly I know but I like to get overly excited and was going to plant radishes. I don’t really even like radishes so why use up my precious space on something I don’t love?
Our spinach making a nice entry into the world in one of our dollar store pots. Just drill some holes in the bottom and you are good to go!
Here’s what we decided to plant:
- bush green beans (there are pole varieties and bush varieties, we went with the bush)
- tomato plant
Some plants will do better than others in containers. Corn for example would not be something I would plant on a patio. Some things require bigger pots than others, so just be sure to plan it out a little before you buy your pots. We planted our tomato in a 5 gallon bucket, and our zucchini in a large pot as well. I’ve been told you can grow a cucumber using a tomato cage and it will climb up and grow so we are giving that a shot this year. Bush beans don’t need huge pots, and neither do strawberries or spinach. If you read on the back of the package it generally tells you how big your plant will get.
These strawberry pots came from the dollar store. They just needed a hole drilled in the bottom and they were the perfect home for my strawberry plants.
Your list definitely doesn’t have to be that long or it can be longer. Now onto the exciting part of how I did it for less than $20. Because have your priced gardening!?! It isn’t cheap!
How to make your patio garden for less than $20:
The most expensive part of starting a patio garden, is actually starting one. Those pots are so much money when you add them up. Then there is buying soil, seeds, and plants. Gardening is really one initial investment at the beginning of the season and then just a little water after that. We spent less than $20 getting our garden set up. It took a bit of creativity but I think it paid off! The exciting news is next year we won’t have any cost, our pots and soil are purchased and we have extra seeds that we will save until next year.
These cute blue pots were plastic organization containers from the dollar store. Drill some holes in the bottom and they are perfect for a little patio garden. The 5 gallon bucket I found in our storage makes a perfect pot for our tomato plant and will be sturdy enough to hold a tomato cage.
To save money on those ridiculously overpriced pots I chose to buy some plastic containers from the dollar store. You read that right. From the dollar store. That was my biggest cost savings tool was to buy from the dollar store. Now I know that these pots aren’t going to last forever, but do I want them to? No, I don’t think we plan on living here that long. So I bought containers that are used for organizing and things like that, in addition to a few actual ‘gardening’ pots they sell.
For our herbs I actually bought plastic tumblers so I could get 3 for $1. I’m so cheep its ridiculous I know. Once we got them home we simply drilled a few holes in the bottom and were good to go! You can also get creative like we did and just use a 5 gallon bucket we found. Again we just drilled holes in the bottom. You can also ask around and see if people are getting rid of any pots or containers. It always pays to ask.
$10 in Dollar Store containers + $4 in soil + $2.50 tomato plant + $3.50 in seeds =
$20 Patio Garden
These white tumbler glasses came in a 3 pack from the dollar store and are the perfect little pots to start my herbs. Just drill a hole in the bottom and you are good to go. Looks like the Cilantro and Basil are off to a good start.
The next step is to get your soil.
Being that we live in an apartment we actually paid to buy dirt. If we had a house of our own I would’ve just dug it up from the yard. Anyway, we found $2 bags of gardening soil at Home Depot. We had two bags and were able to plant pretty much all of our pots. They sell all sorts of soil varieties but we went with the cheap stuff and have been pleased so far with it.
Our bush beans are starting to pop up. Beans are one of my favorite things from the garden!
Seeds are your friend
The last tip to saving money is to plant seeds. I know it may seem silly but part of the reason I love gardening is actually watching a seed, so small and tiny, sprout into something and grow. So we planted our herbs, spinach, cucumber, zucchini, and beans all from seeds. I did cave and buy our tomato plant, and my mom gave us the strawberry plants.
Generally planting seeds saves more than half the cost. A packet of seeds is usually around a dollar and a plant is at least twice that, sometimes more. Make sure you follow the directions on the packet, generally you’ll only plant a few seeds and not the whole packet. You can save the rest for next year, saving you more money to come!
I love looking out my kitchen window at the beautiful little plants on my windowsill
Hopefully this little project inspires you to try planting something this season and watching it grow. Don’t you want to look out the window and see a pot of flowers, or a pot of basil, maybe a tomato plant? I love going out every day and checking on my little plants and watching the sprouts come up. Gardening doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby and is something you can do regardless of the size of your yard (or lack of one). So whether you plant one pot, or a few like I did, give your green thumb a shot!