5 Frugal Things – Raised-Bed Gardening Edition

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

Spring is on the way, y’all! And I’m sure I’m not the only one getting antsy to get in the garden, am I?? LOL.

But as you know, much must still be done before that time comes. There are still lots of preparations to be made first. So this week’s 5 Frugal Things is aaaaaall about saving money with the garden. Come see 5 things I’ve done this week to save some cold, hard cash!

5 Frugal Things - GARDENING EDITION! Come see what I did this week to save money. This week I'm talking all about saving money on gardening. Come see! #TexasHomesteader

This year I’m once again changing things up in the garden. Although I’m not changing everything at once, right now I’m setting up a small section of my veggie garden into raised beds. I’m hoping raised-bed gardening simplifies chores & harvests. I’m not getting any younger, ya know!

But raised bed kits can be pricey. Plus, most of the raised beds are about 1-ft tall. But I want my raised beds to be taller!

  1. FREE Raised Bed Containers

Since I needed several raised beds I decided to utilize a supply of huge 30-gallon tubs that once held the cattle protein supplement we buy for our herd. Oh yeah, repurposing bebe!

Large tubs for raised-bed gardens 5 Frugal Things I did this week to save money on my raised beds. This week I'm talking all about saving money on gardening. Come see! #TexasHomesteader

RancherMan will drill holes in the bottom of each of them. Then I’ll set the tubs side-by-side in the garden. I’ve decided to plant them square-foot garden style too. That way I’ll get lots of produce while utilizing a smaller planting space.

If I don’t like the look of the black tubs in the garden I’ll research ways to disguise them. But in the meantime, these raised-bed containers are all FREE!

  1. FREE EcoBricks For Drainage

But I needed drainage at the bottom of these huge tubs. With a regular planting pot you can use rocks, but what about these huge tubs? No worries, it’s EcoBricks to the rescue!

In filling large raised-beds I needed drainage. So I made up several EcoBricks. 5 Frugal Things I did this week to save money on my raised beds. This week I'm talking all about saving money on gardening. Come see! #TexasHomesteader

In preparation for making these raised beds I’d been filling EcoBricks for months. But DANG, we just don’t produce much non-recyclable trash, and Ecobricks hold a surprising amount. So it took me a long time to fill each one. When setting up my tubs I still needed more EcoBricks. So I finished by using empty Coffee Canisters for the remaining ones.

To make my coffee-canister EcoBricks, I packed the canisters tightly with the hay net wrap that we always have such a problem disposing of and snapped the lid back on. Win/Win and once again – FREE! I think I’m seeing a #UseWhatchaGot theme here. 😀

  1. Cheap Topsoil

I’ve got the raised-bed containers, I’ve got them set up with drainage. But now I need to fill those future raised beds with dirt. Ugh, have you priced topsoil lately? Plus, if I bought it – then there’d be yet MORE plastic coming home. Y’all know how I hate that!

So RancherMan contacted a local dirt & gravel hauler and asked if we could come by with our pickup truck and get a truck bed full of top dirt for CHEAP. Plus, we lined the bed of the pickup with a few of those huge tubs too for ease of moving the dirt to the garden.

Sandy topsoil purchased in bulk without plastic for CHEAP! 5 Frugal Things I did this week to save money on my raised beds. This week I'm talking all about saving money on gardening. Come see! #TexasHomesteader

The gentleman simply used his front-end loader bucket to dump the soil into the truck. That dirt was for the most part contained within those large buckets.

Of course we can’t just pick up & move those filled buckets from the truck – they’re too heavy. BUT when we unload the dirt we simply tip the buckets and spill the soil from the tubs into a wheelbarrow to haul it to the garden. SCORE! (and no plastic bags – YEA!) It’s an environmental as well as financial win.

  1. Leaves To Break Up Soil

In amending the topsoil I needed to mix something into my planting soil to kinda break everything up. But I didn’t want to buy commercial soil amendments. So it was ordinary fallen leaves to the rescue! I took a large bucket and raked the dried leaves into it. Then I compacted it to crush them up and added more leaves. I continued until I had enough leaves to mix into the planting soil to give it a little more water retentionability. (Is that a word? HA!)

What’s that? Oh yeah, once again, FREE!

  1. Cheap Veggie Plants

Of course when planting time comes, I’ll want to put plants into those new raised beds. Oh sure I’ll be planting some seeds directly into the soil such as my green beans and okra. But what about peppers? Tomatoes? My luffas? I’d really love to have actual plants to place in the garden for those.

Easy solution – my ‘Indoor Greenhouse‘.

Indoor greenhouse using a clear lidded tub. 5 Frugal Things I did this week to save money. This week I'm talking all about saving money on gardening. Come see! #TexasHomesteader

My indoor greenhouse is a setup I’ve devised to plant heirloom seeds in late winter so as to have actual seedlings to put into the garden come spring. It’s comprised of a large clear lidded tote and several seed-starting pots. (ie: small repurposed yogurt tubs and Cardboard Tube Planters)

The ‘greenhouse’ with all the planted seed pots is then set in front of a sunny south-facing window where the seeds sprout quickly. This method has worked well for me all these years. And c’mon – a packet of seeds is a FRACTION of the price of an actual heirloom plant. (if you can find them – it’s slim pickin’s in my neck of the woods.)

When my seedlings are big enough to be hardened off I’ll transfer the whole indoor greenhouse to my Straw Bale Cold Frame. There my seedlings will become accustomed to sunshine and spring breezes. But if the temperatures are going to dip I can put the top back on to hold in the warmth. This is my first year to use a cold frame so we’ll see well how it works!

Frugality Every Day

Of course the above list is only the garden-related things we did to save money this week. We also enjoyed meals mostly cooked from scratch. And I made a couple of loaves of Honey/Oat Sandwich Bread for RancherMan (oh how he loves it!). Of course I also made Yogurt In My InstantPot. Homemade is best!

We utilized our open floorplan and Passive Solar Energy to light our home during the day – no lamps are even needed until nightfall! In the morning we open those blinds to let the sunshine stream in. At night we close the blinds for privacy. But unless it’s super cloudy & raining, there’s typically plenty of light during the day by doing this.

5 Frugal Things I did this week to save money. This week I'm talking all about saving money on gardening. Come see! #TexasHomesteader

I’ve found if you just pay attention, there’s always ways to incorporate frugality into your normal day-to-day life. Have you found it to be true as well? How have YOU saved some money this week?

~TxH~

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