Grocery Budget Tips: Tip 13 – Grow a Garden

Welcome back to the grocery budget series I am in the middle of writing.  In this series, I will share the top 20 ways that I can think of that our large family uses to keep the grocery budget from getting out of line.  To learn more, visit our introduction.  Here is tip 13:

Grow a garden. I know it’s not possible for everyone, but for over 13 years before our farm, I have grown a garden of whatever size I can manage in my various city and suburban backyards. While my garden now is 2 acres, it hasn’t always been that way!  I try to think of what vegetables I buy the most that cost the most.  Peppers, tomatoes, salad greens, spinach, squash, always seem to cost the most when you buy them all the time, but they are so very easy to grow.  You don’t even need a big garden to grow enough veggies to eat fresh during the summer. Combining different methods, such as companion planning and succession planting, vertical gardening and taking good care of your soil will yield a lot more produce than most people realize, and learning how to save seed will cut down on your yearly expenses going into the garden.

My very first garden was a container garden that went up the steps to my balcony at my apartment.  I also grew a small square garden in the ground in our apartment complex.  When we finally rented a home, I put in a good sized garden in my backyard and made a fence out of scrap wood left in the yard to keep the dogs out.  I have even had a very sweet neighbor offer me part of her garden space so I had more room to spread out.  Perhaps you can ask a neighbor you know well if you can borrow a space in their yard for a garden if you are unable to dig one.

Don’t worry about not knowing how to grow a garden.  Just do it!  I offer help with garden planning and will happily answer any questions you may have.  Think about what you like to eat fresh the most, and perhaps what the most expensive garden vegetables are that you buy.  Your first garden doesn’t have to be huge, or complicated.  Grow one or two things.  Don’t expect to grow all of your food your first season.  There will be trial and error, mistakes and successes. Go with the flow and enjoy the process.

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