Gardening can actually be kind of expensive if you let it get away with you. This is why I always suggest to new gardeners and homesteaders that they start with what they eat. This means that you sit down and figure out where your produce money goes all year long. Yes, it might be fun to grow heirloom pumpkins but if your family doesn’t really eat a lot of pumpkin then this plant becomes an expense that is not worth it, especially when you have limited growing space.
If however you spend quite a bit on salad greens and tomatoes then you know right off the bat that you will save money by growing these things yourself. Make the most of the investment you put into your garden each year by making sure you are getting the maximum benefit. Here are three plants for your garden that are very economical for most homesteaders to grow.
If you are anything like me, then you love big juicy tomatoes. I love to slice them, salt them, and eat them straight away. I also love a good tuna or salmon sandwich with fresh tomato. Large tomatoes though are generally higher maintenance than their smaller counterparts. They can split, which then attracts critters, and they are much more sensitive to changing weather conditions. Small tomatoes are much sturdier and easier to grow. Cherry tomatoes and Roma tomatoes in a few different varieties are sure winners. You will have a large harvest and stay in tomatoes all summer long and into the fall.
Lettuce and Microgreens
Lettuce and microgreens can be very pricey depending upon where you shop and yet they cost pennies to grow yourself. They are so easy to grow from seed! Seed will always be cheaper than established plants. A couple dollars and a staggered planting schedule can keep you in fresh salads all season long. Why spend $5 for a salad mix or small bag of microgreens when you can you can have them every week for a fraction of that.
Grow a mixture of head lettuce and looseleaf lettuce such as arugula and mesclun. Plant new seeds every two weeks to ensure a constant supply.
The prices for fresh herbs can border on ridiculous. This is especially obvious when you see how easy they are to grow and harvest at home. Think about what herbs you like to cook with…basil, parsley, cilantro, dill, thyme, etc. Buy a seed packet with 50+ seeds or buy a small plant from your local nursery for $2-3. One live plant usually costs less than one small bunch of fresh herbs and you will be able to use cuttings from that plant all season long. Some herbs such as mint, oregano, or chives are perennials and will return each year. Plus herbs can be grown quite nicely in pots or in straw bales.
If you want to garden and save money in theory AND in practice…try these three plants.