Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Many Canadians are now growing vegetable plants and herbs in their garden because it’s cheaper, easier, and tastes better than store-bought.
After checking the prices in the produce aisle, how often have you plopped some cherry tomatoes or asparagus into your shopping cart with a resigned look ala Mary Richards in the opening credits montage of The Mary Tyler Moore Show?
What’s a person to do? Resist artichokes?
Swear off broccoli and stock up on mac-n-cheese mix from the box.
No, but there is a way you can get it all for less, and that’s by growing vegetable plants, yourself.
DIY Vegetable Plants and Gardening
How about some good old-fashioned “if you can’t beat, ‘em join ‘em” action and start growing vegetable plants and fruits?
You can save money by growing your food, whether you have a few container plants on the balcony or a nice-sized garden in the back or front yard.
The amount you save depends on how much you plant, your initial and ongoing investment in the garden, and how you use what you harvest.
If you want to save significant money and have the space, plant seeds and go big.
Otherwise, even with conservative efforts, growing vegetables and fruits organically can save on grocery store costs and reap other benefits.
You’ll contribute positively to the environment and your health by avoiding produce treated with pesticides and shipped from afar.
And the initial outlay can be recouped with the amount you save on the gas used going to the grocer.
Combat Food Waste And Save Money
The rising cost of groceries worsens if you waste produce in the fridge each month.
A 2008 NY TIMES article on food waste in America estimated that about a pound of food is wasted every day for every American – 24 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables for a family of four for a month.
Canadians spend an average of $7,262 per household on food each year (StatsCan). 25% of all food is wasted at home, so every Canadian family could save around $1,800 annually by garbaging less grub.)
How much better to pick what you need from your garden right before prep time – you won’t harvest more than you need.
And what you don’t use the same day will be less likely forgotten in the recesses of your veggie compartment, especially if it’s the product of your sweat and care.
Tips For Planning And Growing Vegetable Plants
But before you go willy-nilling it off to the plant store, plan first:
- Start small- If you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew (in more ways than one), then plant just a few of your favorites.
- Even a single tomato plant in a large pot will save you money and time.
- No more last-minute trips to the grocery store.
- Just walk outside your door for the sun-ripened tomato to top off your tossed salad or satisfy that spur-of-the-moment BLT craving.
- Plant your favorites– Although it’s great to have an adventurous and open palate (good for embracing kale and Swiss chard), plant what you like and what you know you will eat, not just what’s in stock at the nursery or the latest “it” vegetable.
It is more cost-effective to keep harvesting from your herb plants than buying several sprigs of cellophane-wrapped herbs.
Vegetable Plants To Consider Growing
- Tomatoes – Ubiquitous, easy to grow, so many varieties.
- Herbs – Have you priced little bunches of basil and spearmint lately?
Lettuce, Spinach, and Argulua- (leafy greens)- Pick what you need of the outer leaves from cut-and-come-again lettuce for salads or sandwiches.
Many varieties have lots of nutrients.
Artichokes- Beautiful as a landscape plant, too.
Melons- The cost of a cantaloupe or honeydew melon makes this an excellent growing choice.
Note: The vines need space to ramble.
Yellow Squash and Zucchini- Think about freezing and storing your excess harvest after cooking zucchini and yellow squash.
With zucchini, having extra is not an uncommon feat, as they are great to freeze or put in recipes.
Fall and Winter Squash- Spaghetti squash is a great pasta substitute and can be stored for several months.
Broccoli– Plant much of what you buy regularly and stagger your plantings for continual harvest.
Asparagus requires patience (a couple of seasons before the first harvest) and a bit more of a learning curve.
Don’t Wait To Get Your Vegetable Plants Started
If you have grow lights at home you can get your seedlings ready for planting on time.
The longer you wait into the growing season to sow your vegetable plants the less time you’ll have to harvest.
Discussion: What types of garden vegetable plants or fruits do you grow to save money?
Please leave your comments below.
Thanks for stopping by to read.
Guest Post: Written by May & Lydia Pulido from gro-O.com
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