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Gardening to Save

veggies garden

Gardening can be an expensive hobby. There are many gadgets and accessories that are designed to make gardening easier for everyone. However, sticking to the basics makes gardening affordable and the money you save on produce makes the effort it takes to grow a garden completely worth it!

One way to save on your garden is to start growing your seeds inside before the last frost has occurred. Now is a great time to start this. Seed packages are much less expensive than buying saplings from the nursery. I caution anyone new to gardening to be choosy about what you grow. Plants need room to grow and overcrowding a garden can doom you from the start.

Choose the Right Things to Grow

I recommend choosing the fruits and veggies you know your family loves, choose things you already know how to prepare so you will be extra motivated to harvest your produce in a timely fashion. Nothing is worse than seeing your hard work die on the vine. Some of my favorites from last year’s garden were:

  • sugar snap peas
  • lettuce
  • green beans
  • tomatoes
  • cucumbers
  • I also had a lot of luck with cilantro and chives. You know what your family loves best, so base your seed purchases on that.

You can use nursery trays but other household items work just fine, like Dixie cups or egg cartons. Simply fill your containers with a little planting soil and press a few seeds into each cup. Make sure the soil has plenty of water and a warm light source. It is also a good idea to label our containers so there is no confusion when it comes time to transplant your seedlings. Soon you will see your seeds start to sprout before your eyes. This is a fun project to do with your children.

A lettuce patch can last a long time and the plant keeps growing as you harvest. I have so much fun collecting the perfect leaves for our salads. It makes you wonder how you ever got suckered into purchasing those bags of prepared salads, so boring compared to creating a delicious meal from the produce you gather from your yard. The best part is you don’t have to deal with waste. The lettuce stays fresh on the head until you are ready for it, no more throwing away the produce that doesn’t make it to your table. That always pains me as I equate those wilted leaves to wasted dollars.

Tomatoes make for a hearty crop and the produce has a lot of potential. For tomato lovers, they make a perfect addition to any salad. I enjoyed making fresh salsa or pico de gallo for my family. Tomatoes can get costly at the grocery store, which makes tomatoes a budget saving bounty! This year I am going to try my hand at canning tomatoes and making marinara sauce for our pasta dishes.
These are just a few examples that can help you stretch your grocery budget. As long as you have the time to invest, there is money to save. Even if you don’t have a yard, you can plant your seeds or seedlings into pots which works just fine for those of you who live in apartments. Just remember to start small and have fun!

Have you had a bumper crop you want to share with us? Leave your comments for fellow readers!

By Tara, Free Stuff Finder Canada Contributor

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