Gardening is a great way to reduce your grocery bill. You get locally grown, fresh produce at a fraction of the cost of the grocery store. If you have surplus, you can always freeze or can it to eat later in the fall or winter when fresh produce prices are at their highest.
However, if you’re not careful, you can spend a bundle on dirt that promises 3 times larger plants as well as fertilizers, weed killers, and the plants themselves. You can end up spending the amount you save by trying to grow the best garden.
If you plan to garden this year, take these steps to cut down on your costs and reap the greatest savings:
1. Grow your plants from seed.
A packet of seeds costs a couple bucks and will supply you with 20 plants or more. One starter plant from the nursery costs $3 to $6. If it’s too late in your growing season this year to plant from seed, make sure to do so next year. Depending on your growing area, start seeds indoors in February or March and save a bundle from the beginning.
2. Plant the most expensive vegetables you eat.
Carrots are always a cheap grocery store staple, so there really isn’t much point growing them if you’re limited on garden space. Save your garden space for the produce you love that is more expensive like red peppers and tomatoes.
3. Use natural remedies.
Rather than buying pesticides, try to find natural ways to deter pests. A garden border of onions and flowers helps deter many animals and bugs. Thanks to Pinterest, you can find low cost ways to kill other pests that are natural, cheap, and better for your health.
4. Use a bottle drip irrigation system.
You can waste a lot of water watering your garden. Instead of doing that, take used plastic bottles, puncture a few holes in the bottom of the plastic, and mostly bury the bottle in the ground next to your plants. Fill the bottle with water, and it will slowly release water as needed, saving you on your water bill.
5. Plant vegetables that continue to grow.
Some vegetables like lettuce and collard greens continue to grow after you cut off some of their leaves. These vegetables keep giving all season long and can give a tremendous yield from only one seed, which is a great way to save money.
6. Plant vegetables that are entirely edible.
Beets get a bad rap, but they are one of the most frugal vegetables to grow because you can eat all the parts. Of course, there is the beet itself, but you can also eat the greens in a salad or sauteed. When you’re thinning your beets early in the season, you can even eat the thinned vegetables!
7. Plant vegetables that are prolific producers.
Some plants are stingy with what they give. One broccoli plant produces one head. That’s it (though you may get a few smaller, side shoots). Contrast that to a zucchini plant that may give you 30 or more zucchini! Plant several of these and you and your neighbors and any else you can give zucchini to will have more than enough. A cherry tomato plant is also an abundant produce. We planted just one in our garden last year, and we got nearly 800 cherry tomatoes!
Growing a garden can help you save money on your grocery bill. If you strategize what you grow and how you tend the garden, you can stretch your savings even further.