Frugal (Cheap) Soil Prep for Gardening

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My husband and I had two (20*20) gardens at our Water Plant last year. Ok, I had the gardens. I worked the gardens, he enjoyed the food!
This year, I realized there was no way I could drive 20 minutes to and from the garden. So, he joined in! We are working our garden together this year and he started preparing the soil well over a month ago!

Like our homes and our souls, our gardens need a good, firm foundation.  We prepared ours, the frugal (uh um, cheap) way! We started our own compost….

Want to know how?

Cheap Compost Bin
Want to know how? 
First, it begins in the kitchen,  I have a container. It lives under the sink and has a ‘lockable’ lid (the lid is very important due to the aroma).  What goes in it?  Coffee grounds, fruit peel, vegetables, egg shells….anything except bread, meat and paper products.

(side note:  since we began this and implemented our fruit/veggie box and meats delivered every six months, we only have 2 bags of trash every week).

diy compost bing
Next, the container is mixed in our little fenced in compost area with leaves and dirt. My husband loves doing this at night. He turns it and mixes it on the weekend.
Last, but not least, he mulches the compost and tills it into the garden!  Isn’t it beautiful!  We are ready to plant!  That will have to wait until the weekend!
How do you garden? Do you have any frugal (uh um,CHEAP) suggestions!? 


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  1. Dee - WishfulMe says:

    Love gardening!

    We pick leaf and Christmas tree compost from a nearby place to use with our dirt…. but also I square foot garden so it's a TON easier for me to keep up with.

    I would love to compost stuff from our kitchen. Have not gotten to that point just yet. I do start my plants from seeds and this year is a STELLAR year for them! My Tomato plants are around 6-8 inches tall already! Wooowho!

    Take care!

  2. I love your composting idea too. I miss my garden. The feel of the dirt, the sweat on my temple, and the ache in my lower back. Most of all the fresh vegetables on my table.

  3. LaughingLioness says:

    We compost all year long. Just planted seeds yesterday and can't wait to get out in the dirt!

  4. Wow – your garden space looks terrific! I wish ours was that close to being ready. This is only our second season at gardening (and last year wasn't too successful). I'll certainly try your idea of composting (container recommendation?). We need to rent a rototiller to prep the ground. We only recently had our garden area expanded (trees/vines cut down)..We live south of ATL so the soil isn't too great. We are determined to try again and I'm thinking of buying "All New Square Foot Gardening" for addl guidance.
    Thanks for your post!

  5. I have a vermicote bin in the garage that I made and placed worms in-our food scraps go in there. We just set up a larger bin area outside for yard waste. Small small baby steps here:)

  6. melismama says:

    sigh….I love it…miss our huge garden back in Syracuse. We have too many animals here to have a successful garden…so we do a deck garden, but not the same…

  7. Last Minute Mel says:

    I am hoping to start a garden this year…but not the size of your amazing one..thanks for the info :)

  8. Roger and LeAnn says:

    Enjoyed reading your thoughts on gardening. I do think we are like that garden and need to be worked over a bit as we change and do better with our life goals.
    Blessings to you! LeAnn
    Living Waters;

  9. MommyKuehner says:

    We are going to start our composte bins this week. Working on all of this for Earth Week:) VEry excited!!

    Really like your garden. I'm getting excited to get started. We already started buying seeds. Going to get those started in the house soon. It snowed here though two days ago…so still have to wait a few weeks to get planted.

  10. mama hall says:

    mmmmmmmmmmm fresh, homemade dirt. just the way God intended.

  11. Great ideas, Rebecca! Thanks for linking up with Mom Tested Family Approved EVERYTHING FRUGAL!

  12. Mike from Indiana says:

    Good work! We have a large garden, and the owner of our local tree service company has become a good friend. When our place is near his route, he will drop off a load of wood chips for us – for free. I use it to mulch the garden. If you use this idea, two things – don’t use walnut mulch (it makes a poison that inhibits plant growth) and don’t till the wood chips in (steals the nitrogen from the soil), but it makes a great mulch. And for our kitchen scraps, I use an old blender I got from a relative. Put in the scraps and a little water and pulverize. Instant compost! No need to wait 4 month. Put right in the garden.