Starting a backyard garden can help you save on organic produce without sacrificing health.
Many of us would prefer to eat organic produce but can’t afford the high prices charged by grocery stores. Starting your own vegetable garden is an excellent way to minimize the cost of food while still enjoying high-quality, pesticide-free produce.
While flowers may look nice on a balcony or in a backyard, if you’re a frugal person with a knack for gardening, then why not grow your own produce instead? It’s much more practical and can help you shave quite a bit of money off your grocery bills each month, especially with fresh produce prices as high as they currently are.
If you’ve been thinking about starting your own backyard garden, but you’re not sure how to get started or are concerned about a lack of space, then continue reading to discover how you can grow your own produce with limited space and limited funds.
The Basics: Affordable Gardening Supplies
With more than 350,000 products in its gardening and lawn care section, Amazon is a great place to look for gardening supplies. To start your own backyard garden, you’ll need a couple pots or planters, some seeds, a watering can, a small shovel and rake, and some soil to provide the essential nutrients to encourage healthy plant growth.
Local gardening and home supply stores also sell basic gardening tools and seeds, but do a cost comparison with Amazon first because online prices are generally cheaper. Plus, you can get free shipping on qualified orders over $35.
Start With Low-Maintenance Plants
If you’re new to gardening and don’t have much of a green thumb yet, then starting off with low-maintenance plants is a must. Horticulture magazine has a few recommendations for low-maintenance plants, including carrots, onions, tomatoes and squash. These plants aren’t too finicky and are in season for a majority of the year. Best of all, these low-maintenance vegetables go well with almost any recipe, whether you’re making homemade soup, pizza or salad.
Grow Produce That’s in Season
Our moms always told us to eat our broccoli, but if this nutritious vegetable is grown out of season it likely won’t taste as good as compared to if you grew it in spring or autumn — the two seasons it’s most ripe. To add variety to your garden and grow the best produce possible, it’s important to check when each vegetable is in season.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has an excellent seasonal produce guide to help you determine which veggies you should grow during the various seasons of the year for maximum flavor. This guide also includes different recipes for each fruit and vegetable listed.
You’ll be able to save money on your grocery bill by growing produce when it’s in season because prices for in-season vegetables tend to spike when they’re in high demand with you and your fellow shoppers. Once you have your basic gardening supplies, growing produce will cost a fraction of what store-bought produce costs!
Even if you live in an apartment with a small balcony or in an urban area with a small backyard, growing your own produce is still an option. It just requires a little creativity, such as using vertical gardening methods, to increase output in limited space.
Vertical gardening requires trellises, which allow the plants to grow upward rather than outward. This saves quite a bit of space and helps you make room for other potted plants in your little backyard garden. Check out these vertical gardening tips on Pinterest to get an idea of how this unique method works.
Mix & Match
For higher maintenance plants, it might be worth it to buy those veggies in stores and mix and match your store-bought produce with the produce you grow at home. Saving time is just as important as saving money, so do some light research before deciding which plants to grow to find out which ones you may be better off avoiding.
One of the biggest advantages of homegrown produce is that you get to avoid any pesticide content from conventionally grown produce in stores (and, of course, avoid their jaw-droppingly high prices). You may not have enough room in your garden to replace store-bought produce entirely, but every little bit counts!
Once you’ve started up your own garden at home, your next task is to keep it going year after year to continue your savings! You can easily do this by saving some seeds from each crop, preserving them and later replanting them. Once you reach this point, your only expenses will be some water, fertilizer and occasional new gardening tools.
That’s it! If you have a bit of time to spare (and the effort required will become less with each season), you can eat healthier while saving money at the same time. So try it, because home gardening will pay you back in spades!