You want to eat healthy, but you can’t afford a Whole Foods budget. Consider the option of growing your own organic produce. This will greatly reduce your grocery bill and keep a little extra money in your pocket.
Don’t be afraid — growing produce is not as hard as you think. Here are some tips that can help.
Do you live in an apartment? That’s okay. You can grow many plants indoors or on your patio. These plants can not only feed you, but add some beauty to the area also.
Buy Used Pots - In order to save money on pots, I buy them at yard sales, on clearance or on Craigslist. Remember that the smaller the pot the more quickly the plants will dry out, so choose your pots wisely. Smaller pots also limit the root size, which inhibits the growth of the plant. It’s worthwhile to “splurge” on a larger pot.
Invest in Good Soil - If you are growing in pots, keep in mind that the soil from your yard does not work well in pots. You must invest in good organic potting soil. To keep your plants healthy you should check the moisture levels of the soil daily, and add the proper amount of water. Water the plants until the water comes out of the bottom of the pot.
Give Them Light and Air - Growing indoors can be a challenge when looking for sunlight. Make sure that you read the instruction on the plants that you are growing so you know how much sun they will need to grow properly. Remember that all plants need room to breathe, so don’t put to many plants in one pot, read the directions on the plant to see how far apart they should be planted.
If you are able to grow outside, you’re in for a treat! The basic steps are: Pick a space for your garden. Till the soil. When the first weeds emerge, re-till the soil (to kill the roots). Add compost. Then plant your seeds!
Here are some money-saving tips:
Compost – You can compost many things from your kitchen and grow a beautiful garden without spending money on organic fertilizers. You can also make your own composting bin from an empty Folger’s coffee tin (or any other food-grade container made from plastic or metal) and charcoal filters.
Weed Control – Mulch is a great way to prevent weeds, but it can be expensive. Old newspaper and grass clippings can be used in the place of mulch. If you would rather, you can purchase a bale of straw for around $5 dollars. This will cover much more ground than a bag of mulch — saving you money in the process.
Pest Control – Learn to make your own pesticides with natural products. Some dish soap and boiling water, for example, can kill many small pests and weeds.
Repurpose Products – Don’t want to purchase small gardening tools? Use an old spoon as a small shovel. Fallen branches make great trellises and tomato supports.
Save Seeds - Harvest your own seeds. Save the seeds off of your plants and set them aside for next year.
Remember: you reap what you sow. Enjoy your frugal gardening adventure!
Kennedi writes about food, fitness and frugality.
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