Gardening to save money is a great concept for people like us! Produce is one of those things that doesn't get a whole lotta coupon love. What's a coupon user and budget shopper to do? It's easy to blow half or more of your grocery budget on produce! While it is wonderful to eat tons of fresh fruits and veggies, it can get expensive! One solution to this problem is to grow your own produce.
We have had a garden the last couple of years and have one started this year to try and cut into our produce cost. Check it out!
That's our garden! Complete with 4 different tomato plants, 2 bell pepper plants (red and yellow), 1 yellow squash and 1 French zucchini and a dozen green bean seeds (on the right side)
It's not a whole lot, but once it starts producing, it sure will seem like a lot! Plus, here's how I see our garden:
Considering that seeds for these plants would cost around $5 total, or buy small plants for $2-$3 each, we'll see a return on investment after picking just a couple of veggies off of each plant!
Here's something to thing about - Would you plant nickels and dimes if they grew to be dollar bills? Well that is basically what you are doing when you are planting food!
I used to say, "But gardening is not for me, I can't grow anything except an afro and a goatee". I learned a few things and am on my way to being a decent produce grower! Here are some tips for starting a garden if you are new at it:
- Start small! Don't think you are going to grow enough produce to stock your local grocery store! Also, start with plants, not seeds. Get something like 2 tomato plants and a squash.
- Research which plants grow best in your area, then pick from that list what you like the best.
- Keep a close eye on your plants at first. When they are the size you bought them, they will still be small and fragile. Keep them safe from extreme weather conditions by creating a border around the plants for wind or covering them with plastic for rain. YOU want to control how much water they get.
- Water when the leaves start sagging. On a hot streak, this might be once a day. During a mild week, this might be every few days. Just keep an eye on them, don't neglect your precious garden! :D
- You can even grow plants right in pots. This will make it easier to protect your plants from weather since you could just move the pots around (or even inside) to avoid harm. Just make sure your pots are big enough for the plant to grow.
- Know when your fruits or veggies are ripe. While it is tempting to pick at the first sight of anything edible, make sure they are ripe. Do a little research about what specifically, you are growing to see when to plant and when to pick.
- Have fun! You might fail once or twice, but learn from it and keep trying. Trust me, it is one of the more satisfying things to make a meal using ingredients that you grew in your own yard!
Here are our projections for our small garden this season:
Tomatoes - 4lb. per plant = 16 lb. total which at $2 per pound is $32
Bell Peppers - 8 peppers per plant = 16 peppers which at $1 each is $16
Squash - 5 lb. per plant = 10 lb. total which at $1 per pound is $10
So we are projecting that our small garden will grow $58 worth of sale priced produce! That's definitely worth it to me! Isn't it time you started growing your own produce!?
Do you have any gardening tips of your own?