Gardening is one of the easiest ways to cut food costs. You don't need special equipment, and even apartment-dwellers can grow a pot of herbs on the kitchen counter or a tomato plant on the patio.
6 Ways to Save
Like any hobby, gardening can become expensive and time-consuming. Here are some ways I save time and money gardening:
1. Start seeds. Nearly all vegetable plants and a lot of fruit plants can be started from seed. I start herbs the earliest in January or February, then peppers in February and tomatoes in March. Lettuce, carrots, squash and other veggie seeds can be planted directly in the soil.
2. Use runners or transplants from a friend's garden instead of buying fruit plants. Fruit canes, vines and root balls can get expensive. Many fruits (raspberries and strawberries, for example) need to be cleaned out every now and then to encourage new growth, and these clippings often get composted when they could be planted in another spot.
3. Use the square foot gardening method. This eliminates wasted seeds and a lot of time weeding paths and other empty spaces.
4. Use lots of mulch! I use free mulch to cover bare areas of soil and prevent weeds from popping up. In addition to eliminating weeds, mulching helps keep moisture in the ground so you don't have to water as often.
5. Save seeds. Many vegetable seeds can be gathered during harvest and used for next year. This helps keep seed spending down.
6. Sell some plants or produce! In order to cover the cost of seeds and seed starter, you can sell a few quarts of strawberries at farmers market or some pepper plants to a friend.
Herbs to Grow
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