Growing Food for $0

What skills to learn, what tools to get
SouthernAlchemy
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2021 8:11 pm

Re: Growing Food for $0

Post by SouthernAlchemy »

My blueberry bushes began as suckers from bushes in a public park. A couple of figs are from cuttings from my mom's fig, a couple are a different variety taken as cuttings from a fig in a public space. Peach trees were volunteers in the compost pile. Pawpaw was grown from foraged seed. I have persimmon seedlings growing from foraged seeds, one will eventually find a space in the garden. I have plenty of other plants given to me by friends, family and neighbors. This is all to say, take advantage of nature's abundance. It is literally everywhere.

I mulch with wood chips from the pile at the public works yard. I make my own wood chips using a small chipper my brother gave me. I trellis my peas on the yearly crepe myrtle prunings. My blackberry trellis is a repurposed swing set. Raised beds are bordered with trees I cut down so the garden would get more light. I get fertilizer, mulch, and soil from the busted bag pile sitting behind the big box checkout. If they want me to pay a discounted price, I turn it down; sometimes the price then becomes free. Recycling containers and anything else useful, as well as composting everything, should go without saying.

Save seeds and divide perennials. In your own garden and anywhere else you can find them.

Establishing my garden has not been free or even cheap, but I only spend money where it has the most impact. For me, that now means good quality soil for starting seeds, seeds, both to maintain genetics and to find varieties that might work better in my particular garden, and the occasional plant or fungus that I can't procure by other means. I have given up trying to make economic sense out of gardening though. Nature does not play by human economic rules.

Community gardens are great. Permaculture is a good starting point for the necessary systems thinking, but all gardens and natural systems are local so being too dogmatic can be counterproductive.

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jennypenny
Posts: 6717
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:20 pm

Re: Growing Food for $0

Post by jennypenny »

There are two small businesses near me (that I know of) that will grow food for you in your own backyard. Seems like an interesting side hustle, especially for someone without a lot of land who wants to grow fresh veg. I'm not sure what the business model is, but I'm sure it can be structured so that costs are covered by homeowners but you still get a % of the produce. Maybe you can just have them pay for the setup and then you can use the money and surplus seeds and materials to build your own garden for free?

I'm continually amazed by what people will pay for ...

shaz
Posts: 150
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2021 7:05 pm
Location: Colorado, US

Re: Growing Food for $0

Post by shaz »

Our local library has a seed library. Patrons contribute seeds from plants that do well in their gardens. Anyone with a free library card can "check out" seeds for their own use.

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