If you're like me, you do your best to keep costs down and try to be frugal as much as possible. I think most of us are that way. It's no different in my garden. It may not be the most impressive or lovely place, but much of our equipment cost nothing or very little!
My husband built our trellises, one this size would cost around $90 in the store, but hubby was able to build it for about $30. I have a tutorial I'm working on to show you how!
Also, if you check with your local feed store, they are usually willing to let you come clean up the hay that spills out around their storage area. If you clean it up, you can have it. Free hay.
The large, black plastic pots we use, were purchased at our local nursery for 79 cents each. They're starter pots for trees, but they work perfectly for tomatoes and peppers and herbs.
In the past I have always used cages for my tomatoes, but they always end up becoming cumbersome, and are difficult to harvest tomatoes or work with the plants if there is a bug problem. There's just not enough space in between the wires. So, this year, I staked all of my tomatoes with long tree branches that my boys cut down out of the woods. Perfect. I tie the tomato plants to the stakes with twine or garden tape and they have been so much easier to maintain. Easy, and no cost to me!
And my boys got to use the saw. :)
The purple pots you see, that we have our fruit trees planted in, came from Wal-mart. They were about $6 each, as opposed to $15 or $20 from the store. They're just large, plastic tubs, we drilled three holes in the bottom and three holes on the sides for drainage, and ended up with a good sized pot for our trees. Plus, the rope handles on the sides make it easy to move them if needed. I do wish they weren't purple, but it was all they had at the store, and I guess it could be worse. Orange, perhaps?
My husband had several pieces of scrap wood laying around, so the boys used my wood burning tool (another boy bonus), burned plant titles on them, and drove them into the ground in the appropriate area. Garden markers that didn't cost me anything, and I like their rustic look.
The gray buckets are actually bus boxes or utility boxes that came in a set of two from Sam's. They were $12 for the set, $6 each. We drilled about six holes in the bottom for drainage, and were able to plant 6 strawberry plants each. A movable strawberry patch.
For starter pots, we have used plastic disposable cups, Styrofoam cups (from Sonic runs), we save all of our starer pots from the past and reuse. I have also used egg cartons, and small cardboard boxes.
Try searching Craigslist in their free section. One night, when I was up with a baby, I got on Craigslist and found a lady in our area who was giving away 25 pots. I emailed her right away and went over to pick them up the next day. There were more like 35 pots in the collection, and all in usable shape! I consider it Providential timing.
Reuse and Recycle products if at all possible. My poor husband, he saves EVERYTHING, and I harassed the man for years to get rid of "junk". Eventually, I saw the wisdom in saving and reusing things. He can come up with the most creative ways to recycle. I'll have to tell you about the "strawberry collars" he made out of cardboard, in the future.
Of course our kittens, aka tomato stealing squirrel deterrents, were free. Who, in their right mind, would buy a cat, anyway?
Be creative, before you throw something away, consider how you could use it elsewhere.
Just don't be a pack rat, that can get ugly...