Home gardening is a hobby that can bring a great deal of satisfaction to your life and bring the entire family together. Besides being fun and therapeutic, it’s something you should consider to get some fresh air and save money at the same time. Home gardening has become more popular in recent years. In fact, many vegetable seed companies report sales increases from 30-50%, which is a clear indicator that more people are putting on their gardening gloves and getting to work.
Let’s look at the benefits of starting a home garden.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration estimates that for every $50 a family spends on seeds and fertilizer, they’ll reap $1,250 in produce. When deciding what to grow, a good rule of thumb is to look at the vegetables you’re currently buying at the store and focus on growing those.
Inexpensive Herbs and Spices
Herbs are quite expensive to buy in the grocery store. Growing garlic, basil, oregano, and other herbs and spices in your garden is a great way to save money and add variety to your harvest.
Green and Sustainable
Organic food can be cost prohibitive. Growing your own fruits and vegetables is as organic you can get. You’ll be helping the environment and saving money at the same time.
You can save money and help your garden be more organic by creating your own compost at home. Store bought liquid fertilizer and compost can be expensive. Composting ensures these garden essentials are 100% reclaimed while lessening the impact on the environment.
Additional Saving Tips:
- Start with seeds, rather than buying established plants from a store. Although it requires more work, you’ll save a good deal of money this way.
- Don’t waste money buying seed starting kits. Check with your local nursery; they likely will have extra black plastic pots and plant trays they’d be happy to give you. You can also use egg cartons and plastic cups to start seeds in.
- Visit your local farmers’ market to look for fruit and vegetable plants. You’ll not only support families instead of a big corporate store, but you’ll also save a great deal of money.
- Succession planting saves space and time: In early to mid-spring, try planting seeds of radishes with beets. The radishes will be ready to harvest in about 25 days, and once you pull them, the beets will take over the space and will be ready to harvest about 50 days after planting. Or, plant lettuce every few weeks to enjoy salads all summer long.
- Think perennial vs. annual and factor that into the price. Perennial plants are usually pricier, but they will keep coming back year after year. Better yet, ask neighbors and friends for cuttings of their established plants, or offer to swap. There are plenty of perennial plants that you can propagate; they will grow to full-size plants from just one small cutting, a little TLC, and a few Google searches for step-by-step instructions. We started with one thornless, self-fertile blackberry plant (Prime Ark Freedom) and propagated cuttings the following years. Now we have several plants for the price of one!
- Save your own seeds! Whether it was an easy-to-grow plant that produced a bounty of delicious vegetables, or a beautiful flowering plant that you want to grow again, save the seeds and enjoy a FREE garden of your favorites the following year.
- Worried about groundhogs enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor? We plant a “decoy garden” at the edge of the yard for our little groundhog friend, so he leaves the plants in the main garden alone. Those who do not enjoy any visits from groundhogs or rabbits will fare better following these great tips from the HSUS available here.
Still not sure a garden is right for you? Start out by growing a few plants in containers. You’ll be hooked in no time!