Garden Supplies On The Cheap: Thrift & Dollar Store Edition

comments (5) March 9th, 2010

Pin It

yourownvictorygarden Greg Holdsworth, contributor
thumbs up 7 users recommend


As a sequel to my first "...On The Cheap" article (Your Home Edition), I've now gotten out of the house in search of other opportunities to save us some dough on garden stuff. I thought I'd take a visit to one of my local dollar stores and thrift stores to find any great deals my dirty-nailed comrades would benefit from. So again, here it goes, my list of inexpensively-gotten gems, and what they could be useful for.

The Dollar Store
• Popsicle sticks - essential for identifying your transplants, seed flats, or in-garden bed plantings
• Pens - to label those popsicle sticks
• Putty knife - an awesome and deadly weeding tool (as I've mentioned in an earlier post)
• Garden gloves - a no-brainer essential for gardeners
• Colander - for washing your freshly-harvested veggies prior to bringing them inside
• Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) - a naturally occurring remedy for your garden that helps deter many garden pests and helps your plants flourish and grow. I use it as part of my soilless recipe for seed starting, as well as a soil amendment
• Plastic Tupperware-style containers - store seeds, plant food, bulbs, tools, soil, etc.
• Spray bottle - to water delicate seedlings or to clean stuff with
• Toy squirt gun - great for waging war on garden pests. Dirty Harry anyone?
• Towels - for wet cleanup or to protect your carpet from the mess you made doing your transplants
• Hobby/utility knife - cutting string, fabric, bags, plastic mulch, etc.
• Socks - why pay full price for them when you're gonna get 'em real dirty anyway?
• Cooking knives - for removing or chopping up plant matter bound for the compost pile
• Aluminum baking/pie containers - an alternative seed starting tray
• Plastic baggies/paper lunch bags - holds packets of seeds, collecting soil to be tested, and of course; for distributing your harvest to friends, neighbors and food banks
• Styrofoam coffee cups - yes, I know, it isn't a CowPot or Jiffy Pot, but it's there if you have nothing else
• Bottled water - to keep you hydrated as you work, but also to water transplants and potted plants
• Toothbrushes - not for your teeth, but for cleaning your lawn and garden equipment
• Plastic or metal cleaning/grill brushes - for cleaning your tools

The Thrift Store
• Blankets or sheets - great for frost protection or for shade-loving veggies
• Shirts, jeans, socks, sweat tops - as I said, they're gonna get dirty. Just wash 'em first before wearing
• Garden cultivator - WOW, an actual garden tool in here! I already own one, so I'll donate it to the community garden I volunteer for
• Towels - see Dollar Store above
• Plastic Tupperware-style containers - ditto
• Metal serving spoon - good for digging holes for transplants and bulbs
• Five-gallon paint bucket - for collecting yard trash, weeds, plant matter, etc.
• Plastic beer mug - use this to scoop fertilizer or other soil amendments out of the bag
• Large plastic Godzilla action figure - not essential, but a COOL decoration I put next to my spinach!

So, if you happen to live near one of these establishments, swing by sometime. An undiscovered low-cost treasure awaits. Be sure and post it


After you try it, show it off to other members in the
gardener's gallery.
Post your photos


posted in: tools, tips, supplies

Comments (5)

MissingHenryMitchell writes: I love the kitchen supply aisle of my dollar store. I've bought a spatter screen to use for straining worm compost tea. The fine mesh saves any worms that might be hiding in the moist compost, and I can dump them back into the bin.


Posted: 10:57 am on February 10th
pepperjank writes: Awesome with Godzilla!
Posted: 3:28 pm on June 11th
Danielle42 writes: I'm a thrift-store junkie so I appreciate your garden-shopping sense. I've been really happy to find trowels in the store - can't have enough of them - often 'shelved' with the kitchenware! Never thought of the sering spoon but I'll be sure to pick one up next time. Also a great place for plastic bins - the kind you use to store clothing - which are great for storing mulch, and other soil amendments once you slit open the bag. Also - and this is my FAVORITE use of bins - they make GREAT mini greenhouses! (See my comment on your plant protection post today).
Posted: 7:50 pm on April 27th
mainegardener writes: I just bought a bunch of citron green laundry baskets at the Dollar store to use for container gardens. I put Smart Pots (made of black fabric) or nursery pots in them, to dress them up. I also haunt the local Salvation Army for big cheap baskets to use as planters.
Posted: 9:23 pm on March 9th
Ruth writes: Greg, you and I ought to join Scroungers Anonymous. I'm always looking for ways to use simple stuff. I do draw the line at Godzilla action figures, though...
Posted: 10:04 am on March 9th
You must be logged in to post comments. Log in.