If you’re someone who started a garden as a way to cut down on grocery spending, we have some tips that can help. Experienced gardeners use many of these tips already and get great results from them.
#1: Prepare Your Soil
We eat vegetables and they give us energy — but what do vegetables eat?
Nutrients, from your soil.
You can feed the soil by adding compost, manure, peat moss, bone meal, blood meal, and more. The key is to find out what your soil needs.
Now, this tends to be a bit costly. It’s often the largest expense of growing a garden, but we need to consider the cost as an investment for several years. You won’t need to add them again the next year.
The best time to add these amendments is when you’re starting a new garden, and then keep track of how your plants are growing. Once you start to notice problems, it’s time to reevaluate your soil and add amendments again.
Having said this, if you’ve had a garden for years, your soil is likely depleted of many nutrients. It’s worth finding out what your soil needs now and watching how your plants respond.
In the long run, this saves you money because your vegetables will grow larger and you’ll get more of them, if done properly.
#2: Grow What You Love To Eat
If you hate Brussels sprouts, don’t grow Brussels sprouts. If you eat a lot of kale, grow some; but if it just sits in your fridge getting soft, maybe don’t plant it.
Think about the staples in your diet, and plant those. This way you’ll be excited about everything that grows and nothing will be wasted.
Having said this, you also need to know what grows well in your area. Take advantage of local knowledge! If your neighbour grows amazing tomatoes, plant the same type of tomato they have success with.
#3: Map Your Garden
We’re not all lucky enough to have full sun coverage in all parts of our garden. But you know what? That’s a good thing. Some vegetables like shade.
A very valuable resource that you can make in one day is a sun map of your garden. You draw the shape of your property on a piece of paper and colour in the spaces that are in shade. This will obviously change throughout the day, so come back four or more times to draw new pictures.
Use the maps to find out where you should put shade-loving plants, and ones that need full sun. This way, you’re improving your chances of a successful crop and getting your money’s worth from your garden.
#4: Use Free Resources
Rainwater is free, and we can collect it in barrels. Use it to water your plants and save money on your bills.
Compost is an amazing addition to gardens, and we can each make our own with kitchen scraps. That’s one less thing you need to buy.
We mentioned local knowledge before, but there are so many skilled gardeners out there who would love to share their tips over coffee. The more skills you acquire over the years, the more money you’ll save.
#5: Make A Plan To Can
Grow vegetables that you can store and use in the fall and winter months, so you’re cutting back on grocery spending then, too. One way to store them is canning.
Canning your own vegetables is very rewarding. Think beets, beans, pickles; you can even make a salsa.
Or grow vegetables that last well on their own, like squash or potatoes.
Growing your own vegetables is very rewarding, whether you save money or you don’t. It’s a great way to get some exercise and connect with nature. Saving money is an extra benefit, but it sure helps!