Friday, June 10, 2011

Saving on Veggies? Grow a Garden!

My first garden!
Since this blog is about cutting one's grocery bill by 50% or more, I had to bring up the idea of gardening to save on fruits and veggies.

I recall buying a four pack of tomatoes about a month and a half ago. Not only did we only eat one tomato before they went bad, but we also paid $5 for the pack! I was so upset thinking of the waste there. I decided to grow some tomato plants as a way of saving money on tomatoes AND having fresh tomatoes right off the vine when we wanted them.

Of course, when I went seed shopping I didn't just stop at tomatoes. I ended up buying seeds for all the following: zucchini, basil, rosemary, strawberries, corn, green beans, cilantro, green onions, and peppers! I got my seeds at WalMart back in the spring for $1 a pack, which was a great deal, considering that each packet had 15-30 seeds in it. Imagine if I planted each seed and if every bush yielded 30-40 veggies! I would have way more vegetables than I could handle!

My father gave me the idea of planting the garden right outside of our kitchen, in front of our front patio. His idea was worth it's weight in gold because it's so easy to care for the garden since we pass it multiple times each day. I can't tell you how often I've been walking by and decided to stop and water my plants because one might have looked a little droopy or pull a weed here or there. Out of sight, out of mind, right? If the garden had been in the back yard, it definitely wouldn't have gotten the attention that it has.

I planted most seeds in April, so we're now starting to get small zucchinnis, green beans, and green tomatoes. It's been so exciting! My children (4 and 2) absolutely love the garden and help me tend it. We also planted zinnias in the front for added beauty. Even my husband, who initially was a little perplexed by my desire for a garden, has told me how much he enjoys seeing it everyday. He mentioned how he read that growing a garden was one of the longevity tips for living a long life in a book he had read.

What I love about this is the value. We have spent so little on the garden. We paid for the seeds, three bags of black cow compost (this stuff is amazing and only about $5 a bag), and a botttle of miracle grow concentrate. Beyond that, we use what we have. It's neat to think of all the vegetables we will be getting for that amount that we spent (compared to buying them in the store) AND they are fresher! We picked two strawberries yesterday and they were unbelieveably sweet and soft. Nothing I have ever bought in the store can compare. A few weeks ago we used fresh basil in my husband's spaghetti. It was so neat to pick it, roll it, cut it, and throw it in the pot. As a bonus, it smells great!

I did this post to inspire others to consider a garden. You can even plant in pots- you don't have to have a lot of land. Also, you could just start by planting the vegetable that you buy most. If you eat a lot of tomatoes, maybe just do one or two tomato plants.

Below are some photos of the garden. I plan to update as it gets bigger and better! I will let you know when we finally harvest something!

March 2011- The spot we chose for our garden. Former home of three dead azalea bushes!

My son, staring at the task ahead.
April 2011- Veggies are coming in.

Zinnias in front of the corn and beans. They help attract useful pollinating insects like bees and butterflies.
Strawberries coming in.
A huge pot of basil and zucchinni plant blossoming.
Green tomatoes- too bad I don't like them fried!
Banana peppers in a flower bed in the front of my house for color.
These jalapenos will taste great on tacos!

Flowering green beans- they were so pretty. Now here come the beans!

I hope that I have inspired someone to grow their own garden!

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful garden photos Delly! I don't have much of a green thumb, but your post is inspiring :) Happy gardening!