How to Start a Garden for Under $30

How to start a garden for under $30.

I’ve always wanted to start a garden but I constantly made excuses for why not.

“I live in an apartment.”

“I don’t have the money.”

“I don’t have the time.”

The list goes on and on.

I finally stopped making excuses when my baby started eating solid food. I realized it would be so much healthier for him to eat homemade baby food made from garden vegetables than any store-bought canned options. For whatever reason, that’s all it took for me to get on the garden bandwagon.

If you also decided you want to start your first garden on a budget, read on!

Research and Shopping

After doing much research online I learned what veggies would be okay to start planting in July. If you want to plant a different month, do a bit of research to see which vegetables thrive during which months. This can keep you from the heartache of putting your time and dedication into a vegetable that either gets fried up or never blooms.

From there, I then had to narrow down to the veggies that have shallow roots. Since we rent our current place, we knew we’d have to make a container garden in a planter, so shallow rooted plants were our only option.

That night, my husband and I ran to Menards and picked up the essentials:

2 – 30 pound bags of fertilizer (We got fertilizer with added moisture because our planter box won’t be getting moisture from the ground)
1 – 1/2 cubic foot bag of rock
4 – seed packets (2 carrot, 1 cucumber, 1 summer squash)
2 – tomato plant seedlings
1 pair of gardening gloves

Building and Prepping the Planter Box

I have an incredibly handy husband that made a planter box out of scrap wood we had in the garage. I understand this isn’t the case for everyone but it worked for us to save a few dollars on lumber and labor.

If you aren’t handy or are short on time, 5-gallon buckets are a great option, too. Many people already have these laying around, but if you don’t, Kraft Tool has an inexpensive bucket option. A few of these will put you above the $30 but can be used year after year for numerous projects.

If you are using a bucket, make sure you drill holes in the bottom to allow water to drain through (just a couple of holes is perfectly fine).

Next, we started actually using the materials we bought.

We laid down a layer of rock on the bottom to allow the soil to compact. We chose a couple of larger rocks from the landscaping at our apartment complex to cover the drain holes my husband drilled. Shhh…don’t tell!

(Sidenote: At this point, a neighbor kid wanted to join in on the fun. We can attest that this is something fun you could do with your kids!)

From there, we spread the bags of soil on top of the rock layer about 10″ deep. We made sure to even it as best as we could.

Finally – The planting!

Since we are beginners at gardening, we read the back of each seed packet and learned exactly how to plant each seedling. No other information was really required to get them planted – It really is that easy!

We actually didn’t end up planting the squash since we ran out of space, but we vowed to plant that first next time! We’ll post updates of the container garden as we start to see sprouts in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned!

Crunching the Numbers


2 – 30-pound bags of fertilizer

$8.99 per bag X 2

$17.98 total



1 – 1/2 cubic foot bag of rock

$3.49 total



4 – seed packets (2 carrot, 1 cucumber, 1 summer squash)

Carrots: $1.37 X 2

Cucumber: $1.49

Squash: $1.67

$4.53 total


Tomato plants

2 – tomato plant sprouts

$0.25 each X 2 (SUPER on sale for the end of the season!)

$0.50 total



1 pair of gardening gloves

$0.49 total


GRAND TOTAL: $26.99 before tax 


A quick note about expenses: We bought a $10 hose to attach to our drainage spout outside but there were much cheaper options, including watering pails. I personally would have purchased the $4 watering pail (like this Plastic 1.8L Watering Can from Amazon) that would have kept our total around $30, but my hubby is picky about hoses. Either way, it’s still a cheap way to start a container garden!

When you start your container garden, what veggies are you going to plant? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Get the Best Career, Family, and Faith Content in your Inbox


How to start a garden with under $30.

Kaila is a working mom, blogger, and self-help enthusiast. In her free time, you will find her crafting or playing board games with friends. She loves spending time with her hubby, Matt, and baby boy, Cooper.
Kaila on Linkedin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *