Often, gardening is thrown out as a suggested way to save money on food. I would beg to differ – at least partially.
The truth is, there is likely going to be some expense involved in setting up a garden, and depending on how you do it, it may be a real investment. Even a simple garden requires space or containers of some sort, soil (and possibly, amendments), seeds/plant starts, and basic equipment. If a larger garden is what you’re after, that cost may increase. There is also time and effort involved in learning this skill, plotting your garden, caring for it, and preserving your harvest. And almost always something goes wrong – seeds don’t germinate, critters find your seedlings, your heat loving veggies don’t ripen fast enough – and that incurs cost too. Truth be told, gardening is not always the most frugal of endeavors and I hate making the blanket statement of “grow your own” to solve your money woes.
On the flip side, perhaps many of you feel that you would garden (or garden more) if you knew of some ways to reduce the costs involved. In the few years I’ve been learning how to garden, I’ve discovered there are tips and tricks for gardening for less. I have decided to share some of these ideas with you this spring in a series on frugal gardening! Watch for a post each Monday and Friday through the end of May. In addition, I’ll be sharing an update on my own garden each Wednesday.
What to Expect from this Series
Some of the topics you can expect to see in this series include:
- When repurposing makes sense – and when it doesn’t
- Household pest remedies
- How to save money on seeds
- How choosing the right plants can save you money
- Simple DIY garden hacks, tutorials, and ideas
My goal is to cover a wide range of ways you could approach saving money on gardening. I also hope that this series will especially inspire new gardeners or those of you that may be on the fence about gardening. I also intend to provide ideas for those of you that have very small spaces for growing food – including apartment dwellers.
I should also mention that I practice organic gardening, so the posts in my series will follow suit.
Is Gardening right for you?
It’s so easy to skim images on Pinterest, see what our friends are up to on Facebook and feel we “should” be doing this, that or the other. Listen: if in the end you decide gardening isn’t right for you – don’t do it! Gardening requires time, care, space in your yard, and money. It’s kind of why I don’t have a pet right now – I just don’t think I have the energy and space to devote to an animal. That wouldn’t be fair to the animal now, would it? Same thing goes with gardening. Carefully consider what kind of garden you have the time, effort, and money for – and remember you can always start small and see if it’s a good fit for you or not (windowsill herb garden, anyone?).
So why do I garden? Why do I spend hours pouring over seed catalogs, watching YouTube tutorials, tending the soil, sowing seeds, caring for plants, and finding ways to preserve it all? Here are just a few I came up with:
- It reduces stress. I would say this is my #1 reason. Does it surprise you I said that over “so I can eat it?” I have struggled from time to time with anxiety and depression and I have to say, being in my garden? I can almost feel my blood pressure come down. It’s a sanctuary – a place to get away from it all. This year, I’ve added bird feeders and am focusing on growing more flowers in the space to make it even more pleasant and beautiful.
- For the health of my family. There’s nothing like going out to the garden with a salad bowl and some shears and snipping fresh herbs, wild lettuce, chard, and tomatoes. Plants picked and eaten the same day like this are at peak nutritious levels. Talk about eating local!
- To provide memories with my kids. I am so pleased my kids will grow up with memories of having their hands in the dirt, planting beet seeds, harvesting radishes, hunting for raspberries and eating peas fresh out of their pods.
- To appreciate my food and the seasons. Now that I have my own garden, I appreciate farmers a lot more! I also have come to value eating foods in season – greens in spring, berries and tomatoes in summer, and squashes in fall.
For me, gardening has opened a whole new world. I’ve since learned to properly can, freeze, and dehydrate foods to preserve them. I find my thumb growing greener every year and excited to try new varieties and deepen my skill. I have zero regrets at ripping up all that sod and turning a good chunk of our yard into usable, enjoyable space. I hope that I can combine this love with the frugal focus of my blog to give you a fresh spin on how gardening can be done for less money.
Will you be following this series? If so, please let me know if you have any particular topics you would like for me to cover! If you are currently gardening, I’d love to know what YOU enjoy about gardening and your favorite edibles to grow!