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Spring Break: Garden Growing on a Budget

March 2, 2019 | By Mason Roberts

Now that winter has passed it’s the perfect time to start a garden. There’s a lot of reasons you may be excited about starting one; it’s a fun hobby, and a garden is for sure one of the best ways to ensure you eat greener and leave less of an environmental footprint.

How to Start Your Garden

For something that seems so down to earth, there’s actually startup costs involved that could require the help of Alabama payday loans to afford: compost, fertilizer, tools and even the added usage on your water bill. Gardening can be a deceptively expensive proposition, and your wallet could feel a bit lighter by the time you’re ready to start planting.

Fortunately, there are less expensive ways of setting up a garden then how most people typically go about it. If you’re planning on growing your own garden, these are some of the key pointers to help minimize your overhead.

Maximize Your Yield 

While it won’t save you money on the front end, one way to recoup the cost of starting a garden, in the long run, is to focus on plants that produce high yields. Some plants produce more than others: for example, tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumbers are all highly prolific plants that will often yield more produce than you and your family could possibly eat if you plant more than one or two.

Plant Things You'll Use Regularly

Herbs like parsley, basil, and thyme are also cost-effective plants to grow - not so much because of how much they produce, but because fresh herbs tend to be expensive to purchase at the grocery store. It’s much cheaper to go into the backyard and clip a few leaves than to buy them at the store, plus think of how fresh and delicious fresh herbs will make your food taste!

Only Grow What You'll Eat

The most important thing to keep in mind when planning what plants you’re going to include in your garden is also the simplest: only grow what you’re actually going to enjoy eating.

There’s a saying that the most effective form of exercise is the one you enjoy enough to actually do consistently, and the same thing applies to effective gardening. You can grow all the food in the world, but it won’t save you any money if you don’t actually want to eat it. 

Start Composting

Ever heard the expression that something is “dirt cheap?” One thing you’ll quickly realize once you start a garden is exactly how expensive good soil can be. The truth is, most of us don’t have backyards with particularly fertile soil, which means that to ensure that your garden thrives, you’ll need to invest in some high-quality compost or nutrient-rich topsoil. While you can buy it by the bag at your local Home Depot, there’s a cheaper option: make your own.

This is where starting to compost comes into play. Instead of paying for dirt, every time you finish eating a vegetable or fruit, put the leftover core or rind into a composter.

While it can be a bit off-putting, the best kind of plant food is derived from decomposing organic plant matter. There are extensive guides on how to set up the perfect compost heap, but simply beginning your composting with your veggie scraps and leftovers should be enough to get you started.