Selecting vegetables that have a long storage life or that can easily be canned or frozen is a great way to stretch your grocery dollar. Kendra Wills, Michigan State University Extension - PM 731, Harvesting and Storing Vegetables For example, you could grow 1kg of baby carrots for around 25p, but you'd pay about £3.30 … Finally, have fun growing your own vegetables. Many of us want to consumer more natural and organic products; and last year a study by Imperial College London declared that eating 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day – rather than the 5 portions previously recommended – may give us longer lives. As I walk through the produce section of my grocery store, there are only a few things I see that are difficult to grow. All rights reserved. are planted after the danger of frost has passed and harvested by early fall. Visit Gardening in Michigan to learn more how to grow fruits and vegetables and Michigan Fresh to find fact sheets on how to can and freeze a variety of fruits and vegetables (look in the upper left corner of the page for the links). This was published 6 years ago. At Shoesbring Cottage we are always growing our own fruit and veg to save money – … MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. Start with high quality seeds – most are relatively inexpensive, and most can be stored for at least one or two years. Potatoes, onions, sweet potatoes, and winter squash can be stored for several months when stored at the appropriate temperature. Cool season vegetables (carrots, beets, lettuce, cauliflower, etc.) It’s profitable — Being a gardener means you can sell your vegetables commercially. Select vegetables that are expensive to buy in the grocery store. The humorous book, "The $64 Tomato" by William Alexander, discusses one man’s quest for the perfect garden and how it ended up costing him $64 per tomato (among other things). Limit yourself to just a few types of vegetables the first year. PM 1890, Potatoes If you spread that over the five months you are working in the garden, it’s $40 a month. Policies RG 201, Integrated Pest Management for Home Gardens & Landscapes So don’t waste your time or money planting them in the garden. In addition, gardening is good for you. For example, for us this has been lettuce/greens. Iowa State University Extension publications on growing vegetables in home gardens area available from county ISU Extension offices or online at https://store.extension.iastate.edu . Plants will require regular watering, maintenance and harvesting. And all that gardening is good for you. County extension offices are also the meeting centers for Master Gardeners – many of whom have the knowledge and experience to keep your garden growing successfully. We have a small, fenced-in backyard (we live in the middle of town), so last year we decided to dig out a 10 ft. x 7 ft. section of our lawn and plant some seeds. Preserving vegetables is a great way to enjoy the “extra” produce later in the year. It never fails. Practice the principles of Integrated Pest Management to control insects and diseases, reducing your reliance on pesticides. They can also be ordered or downloaded online at https://store.extension.iastate.edu. If you're gardening to save money, some things -- like carrots -- might not be worth your while because they're so difficult to grow (and inexpensive in markets). J.D. We had a few jobs in the garden that needed to be done as we are off on holiday in a few days. According to a survey released in March by the think tank The Australia Institute, 52 per cent of Australian households grow their own food and 91 per cent of these agree it saves them money. Other techniques, such as interplanting and companion planting, are other ways to make efficient use of garden space. Nearly all vegetables need full-sun and a well-drained soil. With proper planning, it’s possible to grow two or three crops in a given area during the growing season. This astonishing figure is the result of all of the input costs (tools and equipment, fertilizers, pesticides, water, etc.) But, once you've purchased all of the supplies, and tried various things, you might be able to figure out what grows really well and does save you money over the long term. Here’s how to make the most of your garden to save money on groceries and cut your bill at checkout. Gardens are a potential means to increase our confidence in food safety and security. First – you have to know a couple of basics of growing vegetables. Finally, have fun growing your own vegetables. 9. Here are twelve ways to save money vegetable … The vegetable garden also should be located near a source of water. It is a gorgeous day. Growing your own vegetables is bound to save you money during those all-too-frequent grocery shopping trips. But that’s ok. You know why? Encourage your neighbors to grow a few vegetables as well. Some vegetables are simply cheaper to buy at the grocery store, and no amount of gardening savvy will result in a cost-saving benefit. This method not only saves you money, but over time, the natural material breaks down and returns nutrients to your soil, allowing your plants to thrive year after year — just like amending your soil with compost. Select vegetables that you like. Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those not mentioned. Don’t forget about your local county extension office. Consider vegetables like beans, beets, onions, spinach, broccoli, peppers, carrots, summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, peas, and Swiss chard. The gardening resources from Michigan State University Extension are vast. PM 874, Starting Garden Transplants at Home We usually buy one huge tub or organic lettuce a week for $6, and then kale and spinach. But if you plan strategically, you can maximize the dollar potential of your vegetable garden. associated with gardening. You’ll save money by eating what you grow and making fewer trips to the grocery store. To save money, grow more expensive items, like tomatoes and melons, or large quantities of vegetables that you purchase regularly. All rights reserved. With proper planning, it’s possible to grow two or three crops in a given area during the growing season. Grow A Square Foot Garden. This information is for educational purposes only. The more efficiently you use garden space and resources the larger the potential savings. Collect rainwater for irrigation. Every year I stick something in the garden because it’s “easy to grow” or “we have room” or “it looked cool” and it ends up being just one more thing I have to work around and we never even eat it. Using the same space for two or more crops is called succession planting. 8. Growing all—or even a portion—of your own vegetables and herbs at home pays you back in freshness and convenience. PM 1893,  Cilantro Vegetable gardening does save money if you are growing valuable and expensive produce that you will actually eat. PM 819, Planting a Home Vegetable Garden Growing from seed takes a little extra time for plants to get established and I have not added a value to this time. Using the same space for two or more crops is called succession planting. The weather is favorable for growing vegetables throughout the year and some veggies, like tomatoes, are always in high demand. Do some research and start with a plan. Over the years we have experimented with many vegetable crops, and while saving money is not the prime reason we grow vegetables, it is a … PM 1894, Garlic PM 534, Planting and Harvesting Times for Garden Vegetables First – you have to know a couple of basics of growing vegetables. The average American household forks out $6,759 a year on food, or 12.6 percent of total spending, according to the Consumer Expenditure Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For those that are venturing into growing vegetables for the first time, the start-up costs can get out of hand in a hurry. And you earn some good karma as well. Find ways to reuse containers, flats, stakes, ties, etc. Where I come from, growing vegetables not only saves money but is a huge source of income. Ready to get dirty and plant that backyard garden? Other vegetables, like beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, beets and sweet corn, can be preserved by canning or freezing. lettuce.jpg [400 Kb] Growing many different vegetables in a large garden can be overwhelming for new gardeners and can ultimately lead to failure. are planted in early spring and harvested by mid-summer. In truth, it’s looking kind of expensive. Practice the principles of Integrated Pest Management to control insects and diseases, reducing your reliance on pesticides. As a result, you could cut into some hefty grocery bills. So, growing a vegetable garden can save you money, if done wisely. These vegetables provide the biggest returns on your investment of space and time in the garden. You save your money when you don’t waste the vegetables you grow. It’s surprising how something as simple as a vegetable garden can impact your life...and hopefully your pocketbook as well! Self-sufficiency doesn’t happen overnight. Remember that saving money with vegetables usually means keeping the costs as low as possible while still growing productive plants. Even if it’s just some herbs in a window box, growing your own produce can save serious money, especially if you cook a lot. Start small. The trick is keeping your capital costs down. Collect rainwater for irrigation, especially if you pay for water. associated with gardening. Start with high quality seeds – most are relatively inexpensive, and most can be stored for at least one or two years. On the patio of my condo. Cost to grow: I did not do an analysis of the cost to produce the vegetables we are growing. Practical tips and resources to get your garden started. By Cindy Haynes To contact an expert in your area, visit https://extension.msu.edu/experts, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464). To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit https://extension.msu.edu/newsletters. 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