Gardening on a Budget: Raised Garden Beds

This post is the first in a series about gardening on a budget. We will be sharing options for students and other thrifty residents to get more out (of the garden) than they put in.

Besides money, other limiting factors in many people’s gardens are space and time, and by the way money is not such a strong factor now, since you can get easy acceptance loans from unsecuredloans4u.co.uk. Here are a few ideas on how to get that dream garden without having to spend a whole day on a building project!

Raised Bed from Pallet © Ellin Beltz
Raised Bed from Pallet © Ellin Beltz

For non-edible plants, use an old pallet.

Lean it up against a wall and start a vertical garden to conserve space, or lay it down if you have the room. Choose one that does not have slats missing or falling apart. Staple a piece of burlap or plastic to the back of the pallet to ensure that you don’t lose your soil. If you find that you only have flimsy pieces of burlap try and find some chicken wire to put behind it to give it some more support. Make sure to remove any sticking out nails or staples before filling up the slats! While reclaimed pallets are a great material for raised beds, Benton SWCD does not recommend planting fruits or vegetables in pallets. Pallets may have been chemically treated or exposed to undesirable fungus or rodents.

bookshelf garden © A. Pennino
bookshelf garden © A. Pennino

Use an old bookshelf.

One person’s trash is another’s treasure. The next time you are driving around town and see an old bookshelf at someone’s curb or garage sale, grab it! Another great idea for garden beds without having to pull out your hammer and nails! Goodwill is also a great place to check. UPCYCLE! (Tip: Drill a few holes in the bottom for the best drainage.)

Garden tub at Epcot Center © Keri, Flickr
Garden tub at Epcot Center © Keri, Flickr

Use a vintage bathtub.

Add a little whimsical flair to your veggies. Use an old (or new!) bathtub to give some dimension to your garden. Ensure that the tub you choose has a drainage hole in it so that your plant roots do not rot. Works especially well with trailing plants to grow over. Strawberries do fantastically. Make sure you move the bathtub to where you would like it in the garden before filling it up!

canoe garden © Ariel Mieling
canoe garden © Ariel Mieling

Get creative.

The great thing about most raised beds is that, easy as they are to place, they can just as quickly be cleared out and moved away or around. Add some flair in your garden and try a bunch of different things, like an leaky canoe.

Growing your own food can be a fun and rewarding experiment that does not have to cost you an arm and a leg! If you are looking to build your own from scratch- check your local lumber store or Home Depot for leftover scrap wood first (always on discount!). Keep in mind, if growing organic, that you know if your wood it pre-treated or not. Make sure to keep your eye out as you travel around for interesting furniture your neighbors might be trying to get rid of; it could be the new home for growing your own!