Spring is just around the corner, and so is gardening season! Growing your own food is a great way to save money, in more ways than one. Taking up this self-sufficient hobby can help you to slash that pricey grocery bill, and it can also lead to a drastic decrease in the amount of money you spend going out to eat. But there are a few speed bumps on the way to creating a garden that will thrive. Continue reading to learn four great tips to help you garden on a budget!
Stick to the basics. Especially if this is only your first or second time attempting a garden…it’s in your best interest to refrain from ‘experimentation.’ You should opt for the simple garden staples like tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, lettuce, turnips, onions and squash – these are known to be cost-effective and low maintenance. Be sure to monitor the local prices of store-bought crops to make sure you’re growing plants that will save you money over going to the store to purchase them instead!
Don’t forget: time is money. In order to maximize on the time spent planting and maintaining the garden, you should aim to plant crops that can be harvested quickly. Garden plants which are categorized as extremely productive, including strawberries, eggplant, kale and most herbs. When you purchase seedling packets at the store, make sure to look on the back to help you understand the growth period of that specific crop. This will give you a better idea of what you should plant if you’re crunched for time.
Get in touch with your green thumb. Not too many people realize this – but some plants grow very well next to each other. The symbiotic relationship that some plants share can also work to your benefit! Referred to as “Companion Planting,” crops like tomato and basil, for example, “help each other out,” thus requiring less input from the farmer. Here are some companion plants, courtesy of lovetoknow:
- Asparagus & Tomatoes
- Beans & Celery
- Beets & Cabbage
- Carrots & Beans
- Corn & Pumpkin
- Onions & Peppers
- Squash & Melons
Use as much space as you possibly can. If you live in a tight-knit neighborhood with not a lot of yard access, you might not have enough square footage to build a traditional garden. In that case, you can always utilize windowsills as a growing space for leafy greens or herbs. Another alternative to traditional gardening is container gardening. This method, using oversized pots, is a great way to maintain a small, cost-effective garden. (Tip: clay pots may seem more attractive, but plastic pots retain moisture better and won’t dry out as fast – and they’re cheaper!)