Ultimate Guide to Garden $avings

Gardening on a right-sized budget.
  • Saving Money on Gardening Costs
  • 10 Ideas for Less Expensive Gardening
  • Frugal Gardeners can Create their Dream Gardens

Gardening is a hobby, and like all hobbies, it's easy to get carried away beyond hobby-budgeted funds. Even after you have the necessary tools and supplies, there always are new plants, hats, gloves, and new gadgets to try! But that doesn't mean your garden has to drain your wallet.  Some of the best garden tips don't cost a dime, while some save you money for many seasons.  Here are my no-pain-always-gain ways to save money while gardening and still have the garden of your dreams.

<pMake Compost Happen

It's so obvious that our current gardens are free compost goldmines.  But, incredibly, many gardeners let this mother lode go to waste. Stop bagging those needles and leaves and dragging them to the curb in the fall!  Dried leaves make an excellent compost in as little as one season. Half-rotted leaves are called “leaf mulch,” and there is nothing like a layer of leaf mulch on your garden to attract earthworms and all kinds of beneficial insects and organisms. That’s what happens naturally in the forest, and it’s much cheaper than buying bags of shredded cedar bark. 

Start Your Plants from Seed

Seeds are still the best deal in town.  You can grow dozens of annual plants for a fraction of what you would pay for a 6-pack of the same flowers. Begin with annual flower and vegetable seeds, or start a patch of wildflowers.  The savings from growing vegetables from seed can pay for the rest of your garden supplies! 

Install a Drip Irrigation System

This is a dramatic money saver even if you only pay for electricity to pump from a well. Irrigation systems are composed of a lot of little pieces, making them seem very complicated and expensive, when they really are neither. All those pieces simply snap together as you lay out your system in the garden/landscape. Even drip irrigation that is programmed to go on several times a day will use less water and money than a good soaking with a hose.  That's because less water is lost to evaporation, and less water is consumed because what is used is going straight to the roots.  You save money, and your plants are happily hydrated. 

Collect Seed, Take Cuttings, Divide, Spread

Take seed-starting a step farther and become a seed saver. Open-pollinated plants grow true from their seed. Heirlooms and old-fashioned flowers are good candidates. You also can  multiply your plants by rooting cuttings and by dividing perennials from friends' and/or your own landscapes.

Yard Sales

Some of your neighbors stopped gardening years ago, and when they finally clean out their garages you can find some deals. Many of the older tools, buckets, netting, pots, and gloves are better quality than the imported stuff offered at today's big-box stores.  Once all this used garden equipment has been found and set up in the driveway, no one wants to drag it back into the garage to store it until the next sale, so prices are usually pretty reasonable, even negotiable.  But , hold on! Maybe YOU should be the one having a yard sale.  I mean, really, how many pruners do you need, anyway? Have a yard sale and designate the proceeds to your garden fund.

Collect and Re-Direct Rain

Water is one of those garden expenses we don’t really notice until the bill arrives at the end of the month. Yet a garden can go without water for a long time. A rain barrel has got to be one of the most natural garden tools to use. You insert your drainpipe into the hole in the barrel and wait for rain. They’re making it even more tempting these days with some beautiful rain barrels designed to complement the different materials of different house styles.

Plant Sales Between Seasons

You can save a lot of money at garden centers during the transition from the summer to autumn planting season.  Fall's colored trees, big bold evergreens, and autumn-blooming shrubs arrive as specimen plants, and they take up a lot of space at a nursery.  Just imagine a 15' by 8' wide Colorado spruce and you get the picture.  Well, we had an entire truckload of trees show up, filled with just such trees!  To make room for fall shipments garden centers host clearance sales of their spring and summer plants.  This is a great time to snag bargains at half price or less.  At my garden center we call this our Monster Monsoon Sale, but can also be called a Fabulous Fall sale, end of season bargains and more.  This transition has already begun and continues through Labor Day.  Snap up these bargains fast because they don't last long!  It's a good time to take home that piece of pottery, garden art, or plants for that privacy hedge you otherwise just couldn't afford! 

Until next week, I'll be here at Watters Garden Center helping locals snag big garden savings.

Ken Lain can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through his website at WattersGardenCenter.com or  FB.com/WattersGardenCenter


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Garden Classes


August 24 @ 9:30 am - Herb Garden Designs from Beginner to Pro – Summer is the ideal time to add herbs to the garden.  More than just culinary, herbs are a staple plant for the mountain landscape.  Learn which herbs are best in the kitchen, reseed by themselves, are ignored by javelina, evergreen and more.  You will be an herbal pro after this class.  Free to gardeners of all ages. FREE 


August 31 @ 9:30 am - Edible Landscape with Trees & Berries (Labor Day Weekend) Have your landscape and eat it, too!  We’ll share the tips, tricks, and recipes that make for a better, healthier and tastier landscape.  Plant experts will be on hand after the class that specializes in fruiting designs that can be eaten after planting. FREE




September 7 @ 9:30 am – Wildlife & Bug Prevention - Late summer is not only the peak of bug season, but there's also intense pressure from furry visitors in our yards.  Students start with best practices to keep javelina and pack rats away, then quickly move to solutions for grasshoppers and tomato worms.  You can have a nice yard with these easy-to-use tips and a few key plant choices.  Frustrated gardeners will have all the tools they need to keep the garden pest-free! FREE

Ken Lain

September 14 @ 9:30 am – Succulents Succulents are all the rage right now, and a great choice for container growing! Most are tough, drought-tolerant, and will grow like gangbusters in a tight space with very little after-care. Students will learn how to create a container that brings warm color and texture to their homes even at the coldest time of the year. The class is free to onlookers, but the first 12 students to sign up can create their own design with professional guidance for a $25 fee (pots provided).  Call 928-445-4159 to sign up.



September 21 @ 9:30 am - Top 10 Evergreens for Mountain Landscapes – Evergreens can be the anchor of any landscape, providing color and privacy year-round.  We'll dispel the myth that the only evergreens are pine trees, when in fact they can be a multitude of different shapes, colors, and sizes—there are even evergreens that aren't green! FREE

September 28 @ 9:30 am – Planting for Success in our Mountain Soil – We've planted thousands of plants throughout northern Arizona, and now we're going to share our secrets with YOU. Watters' Ella Amos, gets her hands dirty every day planting new landscapes for our wonderful customers. Years of planting success and the knowledge she's gained through her experience make Ella the perfect Guest Instructor for this class. She'll share the techniques and trade secrets she's learned to help you be a smarter, savvier, more successful gardener. FREE



October 5 @ 9:30 am - Gardening for Newcomers  Learn all the mountain secrets to local garden success.  This is an information-packed class guaranteed to increase garden blooms and fruit this year.  Learn about growing zones, frost dates, soils and more; you'll know exactly what to do in the gardens after this class. FREE

Michele and Doug


October 12 @ 9:30 am - Autumn Colors Best Enjoyed at Home - Landscapes in autumn can be stunning, but only with proper planning.  This easy-care advice will bring the silver and blues out of the evergreens, showcasing brilliant bright foliage and crazy colored flowers.  Make this the brightest fall of all!  FREE


October 19 @ 9:30 am - Top 10 Trees and How to Plant them -  Privacy, shade, color, evergreen, and blooms. We cover trees from every angle. With so many choices, picking the perfect tree can seem overwhelming, but not after this class.  Our horticultural team will be on-hand after the class to help with individual tree situations.  Free tree planting guide to all attendees.  FREE


October 25 @ 9:30 pm - Fall ‘To-do‘ list for a Healthy Yard - Get the most out of your landscape with this easy to use checklist of fall care.  Bring the color out of your fall gardens, reduce bugs next spring, or simply put your landscape to bed with these easy to use ideas.  FREE

Ken Lain


Ken Lain, the Mountain Gardener

Ken Lain is attracted to sunshine, beauty, happiness, success and health through gardening, and wishes to point the way to others. Throughout the week Ken can be found at Watters Garden Center located at 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd, Prescott, or contacted through his web site at www.wattersgardencenter.com

Website: www.wattersgardencenter.com