Instructables

Garden With Free Supplies

Picture of Garden With Free Supplies
Do you want a garden? Are you broke? This is a list of ways to get all of your garden supplies for free! All you have to do is buy plants. I use all of these methods in my garden at my apartment (my landlady doesn't care if I dig up her yard).


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Step 1: Free Compost From The Landfill

Picture of Free Compost From The Landfill
If you live in a large city or surburban area, getting free compost may be as easy as calling your local landfill!

Many cities dispose of yard wast by composting it and then giving it away for free. So call up your local waste athorities and see what you can get.

One thing.... Sometimes the compost you get from the landfill is not completely broken down and will burn your plants. To solve this just plant your plants in a pocket of potting soil.

Oh, and another thing..... Occationally landfill compost is made with sludge from the water management department. It's sterile and non-toxic, but some people believe that it contains medication that has been flushed. I plant flowers so I couldn't care less if they contain viagra, however, if you plant veggies you may wish to proceed to step 2.

C18H21NO44 years ago
I was told by a man who used to build ponds professionally that you must have a waterfall, or some way to keep the water moving. Maybe a small, 12v pump with a wall plug adapter? Also, I would use a food-grade container, not just a plastic bin, to prevent toxins from getting in the water.
Very cool idea though, and thanks for the Instructable - You've helped inspire me to start gardening again.
asteidl C18H21NO410 months ago
Good idea. I've got a friend who has uses a cattle waterer as a buried pool, along with a waterfall. It's 150 gallon, I think. I help him care for it. We don't put any plants in it, as it has become a cool-down pool for his black lab. While the dog isn't jumping into it and splashing about, it sounds great and is relaxing. It also has a lot of plants around it, which seem to love it, despite not being in the water.
asteidl10 months ago
Howdy fellow Floridian! Greetings from the 863! Loving the idea of composting, as it's organic, cheap or free, and fun. Gardening is therapeutic for me and my mental issues.
rickharris1 year ago
The biggest problem with land fill compost is they are composting all those things no one will put in their compost bin at home - roots, hardy weeds, possible sick plants if these are not composted properly they will cause you problems.
Other than that even plants can be obtained for free - Many veg and flowers contain seeds we can successfully plant.
Another good source for tools, plants & garden supplies in general is you local Freecycle or Freegle group.
Over the last eight or so years I have picked up two330 litre compost bins, a 550 litre water butt with stand, two electric lawn mowers, a really nice shredder, cordless hedge trimmers, garden furniture, a rigid pond liner complete with pump & filter, planters, pots & countless packs of seeds & seedlings.
I have also found new homes for an unwanted petrol mower, a small compost bin, a garden bench, a kettle barbecue & countless seeds & seedlings. gardeners always seem to have more seedlings than they need so several of the members of my local freegle group have set up a little group of their own to swap & share their extra seedlings.
I have seen topsoil, sheds, greenhouses & even complete conservatories offered along with pretty much everything else you could ever want for your garden or anywhere else around the home for that matter.
Another thing worth thinking about is if you have chickens or have any neighbours that dos the waste from cleaning them out daily is great to add to your compost bin.
SIRJAMES092 years ago
The reason why you want to keep the water moving is 2 fold.

1) mosquitos can not breed in moving water

2) moving water = oxygenated water. in English, that means that anything that breaks the water's surface & keeps the water moving, puts oxygen in the water which makes it possible to have fish in there...

3) I forgot about this one...
moving water can not & will not stagnate; get nasty stinking look yucky, etc
rst_ack2 years ago
Newspaper->Hay->Compost->RoughMulch->Water + 1 season = Healthy soil.
Hope to see more new items added to your list.
You forgot to add free seed from Wintersown.org and CNYPlantcycle@yahoogroups.com You just send a SASE and they give you free seeds.
Jim L.3 years ago
Another thing (not free, but cheap) you'll want to put some gold fish (sold as "feeder fish" for about $0.25 a piece and maybe some fresh water shrimp) to keep the algae and mosquito population at bay.
Candor4 years ago
For free raised beds, go to your local RV dealer. They get almost all of their shipments in wooden boxes that need almost no alteration to make into a bed. For other colorful planter ideas, use tractor tires (most farmers will give them to you if you haul them away.) Used tires you have to pay to get rid of, why not ask, and get them for free? It isn't free, but 2.50 cents is damned cheap, I use dixie cups to start all my seeds, and it's a heck of a lot cheaper than those green houses they sell you. For a second potting, I use cut off soda cans. Pallets can be procured (for vertical planters) from RV centers as well. As far as borrowing tools, I don't have the luxury, but the dollar store actually has a demmed good selection if you go in the early spring. They also have solar lights. For a buck. I can't get over that. The best idea for free gardening, is the idea it doesn't hurt to ask. Notice someone isn't using something? Ask if you can have it. The worst they can say is 'no.'
cathrynm4 years ago
"Clean" hay is a just say no item, but when I first began treating the hardpan clay in my yard, I went to the local racetrack and asked if I could take the used hay cleaned out of the horse stalls.  Wear old clothes and gloves for this!  The up side is that the urine and horse dung mixed into this used hay will break down quickly and make hardpan clay into soft, friable topsoil within one season and it is FREE!  I never had trouble with seeds in this used hay sprouting and crowding my plants out.
l8nite4 years ago
Another way to make an inexpensive pond is to dig a hole, laydown 4-5 layers of newspaper and cover with a cheap plastic tarp, blue works fine but camo or brown will look more natural. fill with water. Thats it, if you want you can cover the outter edge of the plastic with dirt/plants or rocks
AubreeMarie4 years ago
Sign up for the yahoo group freecycle and get almost anything free. I have used my local freecycle group to get rid of the left over divisions from my once over grown plants. Every two - three years I divide my huge perrenials and all the plants that no longer have a place in my yard go into countless other peoples yards. Plants find a new home and stay alive and happy, and my own garden stays nice and orderly, and other people get new and varied plants for free. I have also gotten several divisions of new and varied plants for my own yard from other freecyclers.
loximuthal4 years ago
You can even get free plants. Just make friends with other gardeners. Most are happy to give you some from their garden (dividing some kinds of plants, getting rid of volunteers of others, etc.) You can also get free mulch from the guys who trim trees on roadways and/or power line rights-of-way. They chip them on site and then have to dump them somewhere. Just give your local government or power company a call to find out when the trucks will be in your area. They even deliver! Of course, you may have to take a whole truck load :-)
bruc33ef4 years ago
Great job! This is so much more economical and practical than the Martha Stewart/Better Homes&Gardens/House Beautiful/Home Depot Customer of the Month-type Instructables out there. This is something that anyone can do from richest to poorest, first world to third world, and could really make a difference.
elfiemi (author)  bruc33ef4 years ago
Thank you
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