Are you wondering how gardening can save you money every year? After all, when you look on Pinterest, it looks expensive.
But can absolutely stretch your grocery budget with a garden.
You might think that because getting a garden started can cost a considerable amount of money that gardening is more expensive than buying food in the grocery store. After all, you can’t argue with a 10-pound bag of potatoes for $5…right?
Well…actually, you can. And you should! Why? Well, going back to the potato example, if you buy 1 pound of seed potatoes, you’ll get about 10 pounds of produce. A pound of seed potatoes will cost you about $2. So that’s 10 pounds of potatoes for $2 instead of the $5 if you bought them in the store. In this article, I’m going to not only explain how gardening can save you hundreds every year, but I’ll also take a look at some of the best “bang for your buck” plants too.
How Gardening can Save You Money Every Year
When you think of convenience foods you’re most likely thinking about frozen foods that all you have to do is heat up. These days no one thinks of store-bought food as convenience, but that is actually exactly what it is. You are paying a premium for the convenience of not having to grow your food yourself and in many cases, there is a steep price difference. I’m talking about double, triple, and yes, even higher in some cases.
But, you might be under the impression that gardening is an expensive hobby and that you need a lot of money to get started. But, actually, you don’t – you can start a garden on a budget.
In fact, you can buy everything you need at the dollar store. You can often find places giving away 5-gallon buckets for free and in local Facebook groups you will find people giving away pots they no longer need. Basically, anything that can hold dirt can be used to plant something. Buying soil doesn’t have to be expensive either. You can get a cubic foot of soil for just a few dollars – if you need to buy soil. For more on that, check out, our tips to get your garden ready for spring.
On the other hand, you can easily drop $300 on a raised garden bed that is shipped from Australia. Sure, it’s the best raised bed in the world according to those who have used it, but it’s not something you need if you’re just starting out.
Then we come to the real money saver, seeds. You can buy seeds online, in the dollar store, in hardware stores…just about anywhere really. One of my favorite places to shop for seeds online is MIGardener. Most years they sell their packets of seeds for just $1 each. I bought a packet of 25 tomato seeds from them once. If say one tomato plant will give you 50 pounds of tomatoes and you’ve got 25 potential plants in that one seed packet…you could get 1,250 pounds of tomatoes…for one dollar.
Plants to Grow for the Best Bang for Your Buck
When it comes to growing food there are some that are just more productive and give you more bang for your buck than others. We already have a list of what to plant in early spring, and there are also some on this list that are just plain expensive in the store when they don’t need to be. The most important thing to remember when growing food, especially to save money, is to grow the things you already know you and your family will eat. There’s no point in growing beets if no one will eat them. Those beets will be taking up space that could be used to grow more of the foods you do love. If you want to experiment in the future go right ahead. But, while money is tight, stick to what you know works, and don’t forget to grab our garden companion planting guide so you can plan your garden layout.
- Beans – Did you know that store-bought green beans are actually kidney beans that haven’t been allowed to mature? It’s true! From one plant you can get both green beans and kidney beans. They’re also incredibly easy to grow. So if your family likes beans, this is a great way to save money on them!
- Herbs – Herbs are expensive. Sure, you can buy one of those little jars of dried herbs for a dollar…but you aren’t even getting an ounce for that dollar. Take oregano as an example. For 98 cents you can get yourself 0.8 ounce of oregano. Or, for $2 you can buy 500 oregano seeds. Enough to last you a lifetime.
- Onions, you can read about how to grow onions here.
- Peppers – Hot peppers, sweet peppers, peppers you grind up to turn into spices…you can grow them all. Peppers are incredibly prolific in the right environment and you are guaranteed to end up with more peppers than you need. Plus, one pepper has enough seeds in it that you can plant an entirely new crop the next year without having to buy more seeds.
- Potatoes. We love growing loads of potatoes in containers.
- Spinach – There are some varieties of spinach that are called cut and come again spinaches, and these are the ones you really want. With this variety, the spinach you cut off the plant will grow back, giving you multiple harvests from one plant, even more bang for your buck!
- Squash – Summer squash and winter squash can both be quite pricy in the store and you won’t get the amazing benefit that comes with winter squash if you get it in the store! Winter squash is so named because it will stay good in a cool dry place for months, all through winter. You can pick the squash in October and it will still be good to eat in January if it is stored properly.
- Swiss Chard
- Tomatoes – Not only will you save massive amounts of money by growing your own tomatoes you will also get to experience the joy that is a vine-ripened, fresh tomato. See, most tomatoes you buy in the store are picked green, before they’re ripe. You can find vine-ripened tomatoes in some fancier stores, but they’re usually twice as expensive and go off quickly. Growing them yourself also gives you the opportunity to try different varieties of tomatoes as well. Have you ever had a purple tomato? Or how about an intensely sweet tomato? These are possible if you grow them yourself!
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