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Frugal Tips for Growing Your Own Produce


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.

Indoor Planting

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.

Outdoor Planting

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:

outdoor gardenCompost — 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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My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. Producing your own produce is really a good way to save money at home and can help reduce your food expenses. Great tips Kennedi!

    • Hi Mark. Yes, it sure is! Especially if you get quite a lot of rain where you live. That cuts down on costs a lot!

  2. We manage to kill any indoor plants in fairly short order. We would kill our outside landscaping and vegetable garden as well if not for automatic watering. My wife is actually a prolific gardener as long as the soaker hose comes on every day. Every year we have tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini squash, carrots, cantaloups, and some various herbs. We also have a compost pile, but we have not been turning and aerating it the way we should. Perhaps when we tear out this year’s garden, we’ll aerate the compost pile before adding the new vegetation.

    We also get a lot of citrus off a couple of orange trees in the winter, as well as perpetual lemons off a large lemon tree.

    • Sounds like you guys definitely do your part when it comes to gardening. Great job!

  3. Good advice! Growing your own produce is something I look forward to doing when I have enough time to do so, since it will save me money and I can be assured that the food that we eat are really safe for human consumption.

    • Same here TCI. I think I’ll be starting my own garden next year. My MBA classes will be done, which means I’ll have some extra time. Gardening here we come! 🙂

  4. K – help me out. Spouse actually is a really good gardener and has been growing our veggies for decades, BUT, our last dog died a few years ago and since that time the rabbits have decimated our veggie garden every year. She loves those rabbits so traps, etc are out of the question.

    Can you give me any ideas on how to build a “fence” around the above ground garden that would keep the rabbits out? Thx.

  5. @Jim, You will have to enclose your garden with something like chicken wire. Raised beds will help, as well.

    This page at Designed Decor has simple instructions for building a raised garden bed with chicken wire to protect it.

  6. Bryce,
    Thanks for the input. Of course you are right, but our veggie garden is in a raised garden. I just can’t quite figure out how to make a chicken wire fence that will also be easily accessible for her. Got any ideas? Thx.

  7. Hi Jim, Did you look at the “Designed Decor” link in my previous comment? They show how to build a raised garden with chicken wire surround. Just make the chicken wire low enough that you and your wife can step over it. Rabbits cannot jump very high and cannot climb. The chicken wire height above the surrounding ground only needs to be 20-24″ tall. If you wanted to make it taller, you could build a frame with a hinged gate with chicken wire on everything, including the gate, but that seems like more work than necessary. I would just copy the Designed Decor article where it looks like they just nailed some posts at the corners and middles of the raised garden frame, and then stapled chicken wire to the posts and garden frame.

  8. @Jim and Bryce. I love to see the collaboration here! Thanks!

  9. I wanted to buy one of those upside down tomato plant growers for the longest time but never did. I’ve never been much of a green thumb. Fortunately there are lots of affordable farmers markets where I am that have lots of free samples!

    • Haha. I’ve never heard of one of those! Sounds pretty cool though. Just like you, I tend to just head to the farmers market as well.

  10. My wife has grown tomatoes for decades. Do NOT do those upside down tomato plants growers. They mess up the roots horribly, are a huge hassle and you won’t be pleased. Save your money and grow tomatoes the way nature intended – roots down (not up).

    • Haha! Ok. I’ll just put it out of my mind Jim. Thanks! 🙂

  11. p.s. Bryce, thanks for the tips. We’ll try that out and hope to out smart the rabbits – ha!

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