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Gardening doesn’t have to be expensive. But tell that to your pocketbook after you’ve made a trip to your local nursery or garden center.

Between the bags of special soils, tools, hoses, fertilizers, seed packets and, of course, plants, your plan to grow edibles or even a modest balcony of flowers was never going to be a budget project. Even worse: when all those new acquisitions result in a poor-performing garden, or it never even gets planted.

We’ve all been there, especially as beginners. Take a deep breath, forgive past indiscretions and read on for some practical ways to put more joy and less money into gardening.