In April, I launched a spring series called Frugal Gardening. You can watch for new posts in this series each Monday and Friday and an update on my own garden each Tuesday. In case you missed them, you can go back and read previous posts and updates on my Frugal Gardening page.
Garden Tools Need Not Be Expensive
It’s really, really easy to sink a lot of money into gardening. While I love a cute and pretty garden, I do have to pay close attention…a few containers here, a few new tools there…and it can add up before you know it.
For fun, I decided to pop into my local Dollar Tree to see what I could find throughout the store that might serve a purpose in my garden. For each item, I’m going to share my thoughts on ways to use it (if it’s not readily apparent!). And before we get started, let me remind you this is a dollar store. So yes, EVERYTHING pictured is just $1!
Ready to see what I found? Let’s do it!
#1: Kids buckets & shovels! Perfect for letting them “help” (or just play, as the case may be). I try to keep a few of the kids gardening toys out in the greenhouse for easy access.
#2: Kids’ aprons. This could be a fun way to keep their clothes looking nice while digging in the dirt and mud.
#3: Butterfly nets. This is another “just for fun” idea. I bought my daughter one, but sadly, she’s yet to catch a butterfly. It keeps her quite occupied though. (And my husband too – he claims he caught one and it flew out, but none of us actually saw this happen.) I also think these would make neat party favors!
#4: Small plates. This 8-pack of small plastic plates would make perfect saucers under your pots!
#5: Clear wrap. I used some wrap like this to insulate my tomato cages when I first planted them outside (you can see how it looks in this garden update from last week). This kind of is like an inexpensive, make-shift greenhouse to protect young plants from transplant shock or to extend the season.
#6: Gardening gloves. All kinds! I’ve learned it’s a good idea to keep several handy as I’m always losing them. (Get it…”handy?” Get it?! Never miss an opportunity for a bad pun!)
#7: Small gardening tools and accessories. I found hand trowels, rakes, small plant hangers, and the like.
#8 & 9: Watering cans and pots. For some reason, my picture of the many pots and containers I found didn’t take, but you can kind of see them surrounding this watering can. I swear I’ve seen ones that look like this for a LOT more than $1!
#10: Bubble wrap. You can use this similar to the cling wrap mentioned above to surround caged plants to protect against chilly nights. If you have a portable greenhouse similar to the one I have, you could also conceivably use some to insulate the inside and provide extra warmth as needed.
#11: Bundled utensils. These make very “Pinteresty” plant markers. (You can see my spoon marker tutorial or look into metal stamping for an alternate idea.)
#12: Splatter screen. I think these would be excellent for drying your own seeds! In fact, I liked this idea so much, I bought one myself for that very purpose. I am thinking you could also lay out herbs or flowers to dry on a screen like this.
#13: Baskets. I’m thinking these plastic baskets would be perfect for harvesting your veggies and bringing to the kitchen! They had a wide assortment of sizes and colors.
#14: Spray bottles. These are one of my favorite dollar store finds because there are SO many possibilities…. Fill with water to mist tender young seedlings. Prepare and fill with your own pest or weed solutions. Add organic fertilizer solution and spray the leaves of your plants. These are also fantastic for making your own cleaners. I found these on an end cap near the cleaning section, but also found some smaller varieties in the beauty/travel section.
#15: Big floppy hat. Perfect for keeping the sun out of your eyes! I also found bandannas and sunscreen.
#16: Wood clothespins. I picked some of these up and I honestly am not sure how I will use them exactly. Perhaps to clip things inside my greenhouse or to clip bird netting down. If all else fails, I will use some to organize my coupons while shopping! You could also use to clip seed packets together… or maybe garden gloves so they stay together! There were 36 in this pack.
#17: Small watering can. I found this on an aisle with cleaning supplies, not in gardening as you might suspect. A can this size would be perfect for children, or to keep near indoor seedlings or plants. (Incidentally, I’ve also found a neti pot works well for this purpose too!)
#18: Craft sticks. These would make excellent plant markers, and you really can’t beat 100 of them for $1. For fun, you could let the kiddos decorate them with markers or paint.
#19: Magnifying glass. The one pictured above is definitely a toy version we picked up a couple weeks ago, but I also spied a regular old magnifying glass down the stationery aisle. This would be a useful tool for keeping out in the shed or greenhouse when you’re dealing with tiny pest problems and need to inspect further.
I hope this post has got you thinking about less-expensive alternatives for your garden! Like most things in life, there are always opportunities to spend more than you need. But there are also opportunities of spending less if you are willing to seek them out!
What other dollar store items do you think may serve a use in a garden? Do any of the ones I shared above strike your fancy? I’d love to hear from you!