You may have heard that planting a garden can save you money. Maybe you are wondering if it will save you money. Look no further because, in this article, we will explain how gardens save money when you grow one.
Gardens can save you money. They can save you $600 or more for a 600-square-foot garden, which is the average size for a four-person family. The more you can grow on your own, the less you will spend at the store or market.
How Much Money Can You Save?
Money Magazine reports that you can save up to $600 on food by growing your fruits and vegetables using a 600-square-foot garden. A garden of this size will cost anywhere from $50-$100 a year for planting and care.
The cost will generally be less with a more miniature garden, and the savings will be less. The price will be a little higher with a big garden, but the savings will also be higher.
A 600-square-foot garden can be made with the dimensions of 10 x 60 feet or 20 x 30 feet. If you have more space, consider a larger garden to have more room for more variety.
What to Consider When Planting Your Garden?
To optimize your savings with a garden, there are some key things to consider.
You need to know what you can grow and what you cannot grow. It is best to grow high-yield plants that grow well in your climate. Plants that do not grow well in your region will cost more to grow and produce less.
You need to decide if you will buy sprouts from a garden center or grow your plants from seeds. Garden sprouts and baby plants are more costly than growing from seed, but they are also easier to grow.
The last thing you need to consider is how much space you have and how much space you need. It would help if you also thought about where you would grow your plants.
What Vegetables Grow in Your Climate?
One important thing to consider when growing a garden is what vegetables you can grow. If you are growing vegetables outside, you will want to investigate what kinds grow well in your area.
If some vegetables you like are not easy to grow in your climate, you have two options.
- You can buy them at the store and grow other vegetables that you like in the garden.
- The other option is to build a greenhouse to grow plants that need a controlled environment.
You also need to consider your soil. In most cases, you will want to purchase soil from the store to grow your plants in raised beds or pots. For the best yields, check what levels of water, oxygen, nitrogen, and other soil minerals your plants will want.
What Fruits or Berries can You Grow in Your Climate?
Fruits are often even more expensive than vegetables. If you can grow fruit in your backyard, it is worth the effort. Fruit trees are the most cost-effective because they only need to be planted and raised. Once they are grown, they take only minor maintenance.
Trees take longer to grow, so if you are looking for something faster, try berries. Berries increase in many places. Strawberries are a reasonably easy berry to grow. Berries are also one of the more expensive fruits.
You can even grow small trees inside your house or in a greenhouse. If you like hot weather fruits like oranges, lemons, or avocados, you will want an indoor temperature-controlled space to grow them.
Melons are also a popular and easy fruit to grow, as are pumpkins and squash. The nice thing about these thick-skinned fruits is that pests are less of a problem than they are with other fruits.
What Fruits and Vegetables Do You Eat?
It is essential to consider what fruits and vegetables you are going to eat. Planting a garden full of fruits and vegetables is a great way to save money if you eat the fruits and vegetables you grow.
Make planting decisions based on which fruits and vegetables you eat and how much you eat of them. If you eat a lot of potatoes, then make sure to plant plenty of them. If you love lettuce, produce a lot of it.
Do not plant any fruits or vegetables you will not eat unless you know someone who will eat them. If you have the space, you can grow fruits and vegetables for your friends and turn the garden into a community garden.
Choose Easy Starter Plants
If this is your first garden, start with easy plants. The easier it is to grow the plants you choose, the better yield you will have. In turn, you will save more money by eating more homegrown food.
Some easy plants to grow:
- Bell Peppers
- Green Beans
- Blackberries *
- Raspberries *
- And more! **
* Blackberries and Raspberries need to be grown separately from others as they are invasive plants and will take over.
** Check with local garden centers to find out what proliferates in your area.
Start with Seeds
If you are a first-time gardener, you may want to purchase baby plants or seedlings. However, seedlings will cost more money than a packet of seeds. You will also get more out of a box of seeds.
You can start germinating your seeds in the house or greenhouse and plant them once they are growing. This will help prevent birds, squirrels, and other seed eaters from devouring your seeds.
Choose High Yield Plants
High-yield plants are an ideal choice for home gardeners. The more you can get from the plant, the less you spend at the store. High-yield plants are plants that produce a bunch.
Examples of High Yield Plants:
Tomatoes grow in bunches. A tomato plant can produce 10-15 pounds or more every summer.
- Green beans
Green beans, peas, and other climbing beans are great for small spaces. They grow upwards like tomatoes, and you can develop many of them in a reasonably small area. They are also great for canning or freezing. The yield for beans and peas is about 5-10 pounds for each plant.
Zucchini and squash can produce a lot of delicious food. They do not grow as tall as beans or tomatoes or even cucumbers, but they can have a lot. Cucumbers don’t produce as much as tomatoes or beans, but you can still get about 5 pounds out of each plant.
Native Americans used to plant squash beneath corn stalks and plant beans. The beans would climb the corn stalks, and the squash would shade the ground and roots. You can do this too and grow three plants in one area.
- Sweet Potatoes
Potatoes and sweet potatoes are super easy to grow. Cut up the raw potato, allow it to sprout, and then plant it.
Pepper plants are like tomato plants. They grow and produce a lot of fruit. They require warmer weather so are best kept indoors in colder climates.
Where to Grow Your Garden?
One of the biggest things you need to decide is where to grow your garden. If you have a large backyard, then you have the perfect space for a garden. If you do not have a large backyard, there are a few other options.
You can look for local community gardens and join them. They will provide the space, and you help with the planting and caring for the fruits and vegetables in the park.
You can grow some plants indoors. You need a room that is well lit. Any plant that can grow in a pot can be grown indoors.
You can grow your plants in a greenhouse if you have space for one. You could convert a porch to a covered patio and grow plants in pots if you have a porch.
If you grow your garden in the yard, use raised beds. These help keep some bugs away from the plants.
How Big a Garden to Grow
In general, to save money by growing a garden, you need 100-200 square feet of space per person. Suppose you only plan to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, then you won’t need as much space. You do not want your plants out producing what you can eat.
However, if you want to can, freeze, or pickle your fruits and vegetables, you will want a more extensive garden.
If you have a lot of space and are thinking of growing a big garden but are unsure how much time you will have to tend to it, consider whether you might have friends who would join you in caring for a community garden in your back yard.
You also want to consider how much space you need for each item. For instance, tomatoes like to grow in groups, and each plant needs about one to four square feet of space. So plant them in a row or a three by three, nine-square-foot space.
Fruits and Vegetables: Where They Grow and What They Need
Different plants grow better in other climates. Here is the list of easy-to-grow plants from above and some tips on growing them.
Root Vegetables, Bulbs, and Tubers
Plant seeds between April and July. They can grow outdoors or in pots. Carrots need deep, loose, and sandy soil to grow well.
Plant in early spring or early fall. They can grow outdoors or in pots. Onions need rich, loose soil that drains well.
Plant cloves root side down in the fall or early spring. They can be grown outdoors or in pots. Garlic needs rich soil that drains well.
Plant Chives in the early spring. They can grow outdoors but do best in pots. They need soil that drains well, so they do not drown. They prefer a sunny spot.
- Sweet potatoes
Plant in the early spring or late fall. Late fall plantings either need to be indoors during the winter or the winter needs to be mild, with no freezing.
Plant seeds in the early spring. Plant seedlings in late spring. Tomato plants often need Tomato cages to stay upright from the weight of tomatoes. They prefer warm weather and lots of sun.
Peppers should be planted in the spring. They need soil that drains well. They also need at least 6-8 hours of sun. Different peppers may have specific needs beyond those mentioned here.
Plant seeds of Peas as soon as the ground thaws. Pea Seedlings can be planted in late spring. Peas need soil that drains well and lots of sun.
Plant cucumbers in late spring. Ideally, cucumbers prefer 70-degree weather. Trellis cucumbers can be planted closer together than ground-growing ones. They need lots of sun.
- Green Beans
Plant green beans in the spring. They need 6-8 hours of sun. However, they can get too hot. If you live in a hot climate, they will need some sunshade during the hot months.
- Squash, Zucchini, and Pumpkin
Plant squash seedlings in late May or early June. Squash plants need six or more hours of sun every day. They prefer warm temperatures of 70-degrees or higher. They need sandy soil or loose soil that drains well.
Salad greens can be grown outside. However, they are best protected from pests if you grow them inside. Plant them in pots with soil that drains well. You can have a year-round supply by using grow lights in the darker months to grow them inside.
Spinach needs dry, sandy soil to grow. Plant it outside in late autumn so it will sprout in the spring. Plant in pots inside at any time of the year. Indoor spinach will keep growing back so long as you prune it correctly.
Cruciferous vegetables are great for gardens. They are easy to grow in most climates. They do prefer wetter or mild temperatures. If you live somewhere hot, you may want to grow them under shade.
Apple trees and pear trees require pollinating partners, so you need at least two of each. Luckily, they can be planted within a couple of feet of each other and do fine. They grow well in most climates.
Oranges and citrus fruits prefer warmer weather. You will need to grow them indoors or in a greenhouse if you live in a colder climate.
Berries need good soil to grow. Most berry plants will expand and take over. It is a good idea to keep them in separate beds from the rest of your garden. You will also want to keep on top of pruning them back.
Overall, a garden is a good long-term investment in saving money. Growing your food will not only save on your grocery bill, but it will teach good self-sustaining habits.
Image by Dorota Bernatek via Freeimages.com.