by Bas Kers
Creating a Garden Budget
A garden budget is just another component of a garden journal and is a very important tool for those gardeners who overspend. The reason for a budget goes beyond saving money but also allows the gardener to see what they have, see what they need, and create ways of acquiring needed or wanted materials.
To begin the budget process, requires the gardener to create a chart that is divided into needs verses wants. The needs category can include required flowers, vegetables or herbs. The wants category includes plants that one would like to grow, special containers and/or tools.
Once you know what you need and what you want, the next step is to see what one may have in the garden shed. Many times gardeners forget what they actually have as far as tools, fertilizer, soil and such. Once you discover what you have, inspect the quality. Do the shovel handles need to be replaced or do I need more fertilizer? These are just a few of the questions that need to be asked.
Next, look through your seed stash. Many gardeners will save seeds or buy up last year’s seed for the following year. This technique works if the seed has been stored properly. Before marking off the corresponding plants, check the seed quality. This is done by opening the package and looking for any mold, moisture or seeds sticking together.
Once you have looked into your supplies, you can now adjust your needs and wants list. After this is done, it is time to create a budget. This budget should include the cost of seeds, soil, fertilizer, tools, containers, and accessories such as trellises or cages.
Now you are ready for the sea of seed catalogues that will be arriving in your mailbox but keep in mind that a budget only works if you stick to it. To extend ones budget, there are a few techniques to try beyond seed saving. These include talking to people at garden clubs or plant organizations. Explore community gardens for help or join a garden co-op. Many times people in these organizations will share seeds and/or tools to make gardening a more budget friendly activity, especially for those in non-traditional garden areas.
Do not discard your budget plan from one year to the next nor your list of contacts. This can be an invaluable source of information and fits right into the garden journal. Also, keep in mind of those who help you. A kind word or gardening advice is always welcomed as thank you from one gardener to the next.
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