Get down and dirty in the garden
There is something immensely satisfying about growing your own vegetables. In fact, two good reasons immediately spring to mind.
1. What you grow yourself always seems to taste better.
2. It’s cheaper than buying it from a store.
Saving money is what so many of us are all about these days. Whether it’s taking advantage of discounts and offers on sites like SumoCoupon or growing your own organic vegetables, it all helps to keep cash in your pocket for a little longer.
Here are five dirt cheap ideas for reaping great savings by growing your own vegetables.
Photo by Fotolia
Plant Your Seeds
The price of seeds is creeping up due to the increasing popularity of growing your own produce, but the savings you make by growing vegetables from seed still beats buying them—by a big margin.
You don’t have to break the budget on fancy pots either. Egg cartons, yogurt cups and other small containers make good pots and you will be doing your bit for recycling at the same time by using what you already have around your home.
Clean the pots by soaking them in 1 part non-chlorine bleach to 10 parts water. Use a potting mix rather than soil to fill the containers. Seeds tend to do better in a soil-less mix and if you are a bit of a gardening novice, you will probably find it a bit easier to get started than if you use garden soil.
Make Your Own Compost
Plants and vegetables love compost, so use what is already available rather than spend money on products from the garden center that will do the same thing, but make your vegetables more expensive to grow.
Collect your yard and kitchen waste and before you know it, those dried leaves and half rotted items that become leaf mulch will attract worms and other insects that will do their job and give you decent compost within a growing season. Making your own compost is an absolute no-brainer.
Start with Easy-Growers
If you are just starting out, pick some produce varieties that are easier to grow than others.
A small packet of salad leaf seeds will be enough to produce the equivalent of about 24 bags of supermarket salad, and most varieties are easy to grow. Have a go at some growing zucchini or squash. A single plant will generally produce 30 fruits, which will amount to more big savings.
Tomatoes and potatoes are other easy-to-grow options and make regular appearances on the dinner plate, so you’re sure to get plenty of value out of each crop.
Photo by Fotolia
Don’t Forget the Herbs
If you don’t have a lot of room in your garden for rows of potatoes, carrots and other veggies, you can easily grow herbs in pots.
A pinch of fresh basil is easy to come by when you have a pot on the deck or growing in a sunny window. When you add up the cost of buying all the herbs you commonly use, you’ll soon discover that growing your own mini herb garden is a real money-saver.
Growing herbs in a container is also a good idea for engaging your children in your gardening exploits, and they love to see and taste the results of their efforts.
Maximize Your Return
There are a few simple things you can do to increase your crop yield and save even more money.
• Try using a trellis wherever you can as it greatly increases your yield per square foot. The sort of plants you can grow easily using a trellis include cantaloupe, cucumber, tomato and sweet peas.
• Aim to grow small leafy plants like arugula, leaf lettuce and spinach without walking aisles in-between as wide rows will give you more food per square foot.
• Consider using raised beds in your garden, as it will help to keep your garden organized and allows you to concentrate on the most productive items. The advantages of a raised bed are that it gives you the opportunity to almost-perfect soil, so your plants will be at their most productive.
• Another way of getting the best chance of a high yield is to start with transplants. Plants that are several weeks old when you put them into the ground will give you a head start. Although it is more expensive than starting with seeds, it’s still cheaper than buying your vegetables from the supermarket.
Growing your own vegetables can save you hundreds of dollars and will give you plenty of satisfaction when get to enjoy something you’ve grown yourself on the dinner plate.
Russell Matthews is a health enthusiast and personal finance consultant. He enjoys finding innovative way to save money while staying healthy. His articles mainly appear on wellness, health and lifestyle blogs. Keep up with the latest health discounts codes on Google+.