The idea behind growing your own vegetables is to be able to keep a little money in your pocket and be able to live off the land like our hearty ancestors did.
But if you have been to any of the big DIY stores you can see that you can end up spending a fortune on gardening equipment and it makes the prospect of fending for yourself and living off the land a little less appealing. It doesn't have to be that way, though, if you know how to cut corners.
Location is everything. The sun is your number one concern so in the months before you plant or at least in the days leading up to it, case your yard for where the sun is optimal for growing and at what time of day it will be peering down on your little fruits of your labor. If your garden fails and your plants die or get dried up, it will take more time and money to relocate to a new site in your yard. Scout out trees that might not be blooming now but will create shade later.
Plant a seed. Start with seeds, because buying plants is more expensive. If you want, start them inside before you plant the full garden outside. Research what you plant if you are going to plant them inside because some plants aren't as adaptable and won't do well in a replanting situation from home to garden.
Thin is in. When you plant from seedlings especially inside, you'll reach the step where you “thin” them. This involves cutting down the weaker plants so that they die and the strongest survive and continue to grow before you introduce them to your new lush garden outside.
Recycle your seeds. Starting from seeds is always cheaper but if you have a large garden, that can be a lot of seeds to sow and buy. One solution to this is to opt for heirloom seeds. They are reusable.
Take a stake in your garden but don't buy one. You will need a stake eventually in your garden but they can start adding up if you are planting rows and rows of a certain crop. At a hardware or garden store, you will probably find stakes to be priced around $3, and tomato cages can cost you even more. So look for something around your house that can be used as a stake. Branches or old fence posts can work fine.
Raised beds look great. But they are expensive no matter how you put them together. Stores have kits that end up costing over $100 just for 30 square feet or so. Making them yourself can cost as much or even more. So stay grounded -- it will be cheaper.
Grow something you want to eat that would cost more at the store. Get plants that have high yields.
Buy at garage sales, keep an eye out for pots (or other plant containers) and tools. You’ll be amazed at the markdowns you find on these two items specifically, as compared to their retail prices.