Some edible gardeners don't worry too much about the cost of gardening; they just enjoy the benefits of homegrown food. For others, edible gardening has also become a way of trimming a few dollars off the grocery bills. If you like saving money - let alone gas for trips to the grocery store - here are a few tips to help you get more out of your garden.
You have to do a little investigating to see what grows well in your area and what doesn't. Take into account your yard's exposure to sun or shade. You should also get your soil tested to see how you may need to amend it. On both counts, your county extension office should be able to help you. Once you know what your conditions are, you can spend your winter figuring out what plants should go where.
There's no reason to wait for nice weather to get your garden going. Start it indoors by planting seeds in containers. Planting with Miracle-Gro® Organic Choice® Potting Mix can help you organically grow plants twice as big. Just give your baby garden some exposure to light (plant lights can supplement windows) and feed your seedlings regularly with Miracle-Gro® Organic Choice® All-Purpose Plant Food Concentrate. You?ll be giving your garden a head start.
If you're new to edible gardening, don't plow up the front lawn just yet. Try a few easy plants in containers or a small patch in the yard. A little success goes a long way in building confidence. Lettuce or herbs are good container edibles. If you're comfortable with growing your own goodies, keep in mind how many mouths you're feeding. Don't let your gardening go to waste.
That may seem like an odd suggestion, but why work so hard to make things grow? Choose edibles that taste great, but require the least amount of work from you. Berry plants are hardy, and produce fantastically. For a few pennies of investment, you get a hundred-fold return, year after year, without much work. Fussy crops, like corn, may not be worth the effort, budget-wise.
When you start a garden from seed, you usually get more than you need in a packet. Trade the extra seeds with your neighbors. When summer is in full swing, trade your zucchinis for your neighbor's broccoli. You can also donate your excess produce to help families in need. Visit www.grogood.com for more details about the Gro Good program.
Gardening is a great pastime. Involve the kids and the spouse. Add a few flowers as border plants. Make gardening part of your exercise routine - there's nothing like burning a few calories when you grow a few calories. Plant stuff you haven't eaten before, or can't buy in a store. Also, add organic amendments to your soil and start a compost pile. It never hurts to be kind to your patch of earth. By doing these things, you'll get even more pleasure out of growing your own groceries.