Today's guest post comes to us from Stacy over at The Full Circle Gardener. Right now is the perfect time of year to think about planting your garden, however big or small, to supplement your own grocery budget. Thanks Stacy!
Gardening for your Budget
While looking through the grocery store circular this week, I couldn't help think how expensive produce is and how excited I am for summer to come! I am an avid gardener and use my garden to supplement my grocery budget every summer and even through winter by canning my garden produce. Not everyone has a lot of extra time, energy or space to plant a huge garden like I do, but most everyone can plant a few key ingredients in a container or a small flower bed for very little money. There are only 4 things needed to grow a small scale kitchen garden to supplement your grocery budget.
A packet of seed will cost $1 - $1.50. (I've seen select seeds as low as $0.25 at Walgreens or $0.11 at Menards during spring sales!) All vegetable seeds are viable (will sprout) for more than one year so hang onto your seed packets to use for multiple years & spread out the cost, or go in on it with a friend.
Be creative with containers. If it will hold soil & allows for water drainage it will work. Containers can be as simple as a ice cream bucket or tin can, or as crazy as a shoe. Sometimes the 'oddest' containers are the cutest yard/deck art! If you are in need of inspiration, check out this Pinterest page or search homemade garden containers online.
Soil cost will vary depending on how much you need, but I've seen small bags for around $1-2 or I recently saw a 40 quart bag at Sam's Club for under $6! Also check with your community to see if and when they offer free compost that you can mix in with your soil (both Fargo & Clay County offer free compost to residents in May.)
In a backyard garden or flower bed, your plants need the equivalent of about 1 inch of water each week whether that comes as rain or you provide it. In a container, you will need to check the plants daily to see if they need water. Consider collecting rainwater in a bucket or barrel to reduce your water costs. Read more information regarding Garden Watering Basics on my blog, The Full Circle Gardener.
Roughly speaking, you could plant a couple of produce items for less than $10 (plus the cost of city water).
Don't overwhelm yourself, especially if you have never gardened before, but also don't be afraid to give small scale kitchen gardening a try! Consider planting one or two of these easy to care for produce items this year and see how it goes. (Follow the link on each one for more information on when and how to plant.)
If you have gardened before or want to get into gardening a little deeper, check out other veggie garden favorites in my Plant of theWeek posts and visit me often at The Full Circle Gardener. Feel free to send me questions via email or Facebook.
Happy Gardening & Money Saving! :)