Planting a Garden to Save Money on Groceries
Are you thinking about planting a garden this spring? Not only is this a great activity to help your whole family get active and enjoy the outdoors, it can also provide a financial benefit. Growing your own fruits and vegetables can help you save money, especially if you are grocery shopping on a budget.
How Planting a Garden Saves You Money
Some vegetables, like tomatoes, bell peppers and herbs, can cost a lot at the grocery store. But they're relatively easy to grow on your own, either in a backyard garden or in pots on your windowsill. In fact, you can start seeds in a container or pot indoors using artificial light to produce vegetables and fruits all year long. This could save you money when certain produce is out of season and the prices rise at the market due to scarcity.
Money reports how the average American household's 600-square-foot garden could generate 300 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables per year, worth about $600 and only costing an average of $70.
The Best Times to Plant
It's best to plant your fruits and vegetables during the right season. Plant your garden at the specific times suited for your region's gardening hardiness, which is a number based on outdoor temperature and hours of sunlight. Planting outdoors at specific times is important for your garden's success.
For example, according to The Old Farmer's Almanac, it's best to plant tomatoes after the last frost and in spots that get at least 6 hours of sunlight if you're in a northern region. You can also check the back of seed packages to find out the best time to plant seeds in your region. When your green thumb produces a bumper crop — an overly abundant harvest — you can preserve and freeze your produce to eat year-round.
How to Get Started
Do some research and planning before you start digging to increase your odds of planting a garden that will produce enough fresh fruits and vegetables to provide for you and your family. When you know your gardening hardiness zone, pick what you'd like to plant. Check the back of the seed packets to discover whether to start by planting seeds indoors first, or to sow them directly into your outdoor garden. Head to your local garden center or nursery for additional gardening supplies, such as:
- Trowel (a small handheld tool for gardening)
- Gardening gloves
- Pots or seed trays, plus potting soil if you plan to germinate seeds indoors
- Large containers if you plan to try container gardening for herbs, peppers or tomatoes
- Watering can or garden hose
Start small, and remember the basics — seeds, soil, water and sunlight. Be patient, keep it simple and soon you'll be rewarded with fresh produce that not only tastes great, but costs less than you'd spend on it at the store.