Harvesting fresh produce from your backyard is one of life’s most beautiful miracles. My passion for plants is actually why I first pursued agriculture (it also helped that the man I loved also happened to be a farmer). It always amazes me that you can take a $3 seed packet, with some TLC and well nourished soil and produce $100 worth of vegetables to feed a family. As grocery store prices are on the rise it is my recommendation that everyone grow a garden. With just one 4x8 raised bed you could save up to $100 off your grocery bill each month.
The following plants are the most budget saving and easy to grow:
1.) Lettuce- all salad greens are super simple to grow, they are cold hardy which means you don’t have to wait you can plant them now. One packet of lettuce has around 300 seeds in it which means if you succession sow it will likely last you all summer long. I plant a new plug of lettuce every time I harvest one so that I have an abundance that never lags. The best thing about lettuce is that it produces its own seed in the fall that is very easy to harvest. Therefore, purchasing just one $3 packet of lettuce could literally save you thousands of dollars over your life time!
2.) Tomatoes- cherry, beefsteak and everything in between are such a delight to grow in the garden. 2-3 plants is all a sizeable family needs to feed them fresh all summer long. For canning and preserving I would recommend 10-20 but that would definitely leave you with tomato abundance. Don’t forget to prune and trellis tomatoes for maximum yield.
3.) Onions- an understated ingredient in the kitchen however onions are super easy to grow and fresh from the garden you discover the tops are just as useable as the bulbs. For the largest size onions I plant from seed as opposed to onion sets and you can also plant these out quite early since they are very cold hardy.
4.) Garlic- this spice can save you a lot of money growing it yourself. It is also one of the more maintenance free crops to grow. Garlic has very little pests attracted to it due to its pungent smell. Mostly it desires to be mulched (weed free) and heavily fertilized with nitrogen rich cow manure.
5.) Herbs- lastly if you use herbs at all in your cooking you can save a lot of money growing your own. Herbs have one of the highest markups in grocery stores and many varieties perennial (over winter) in even our cold area making them much less maintenance. You can also successfully grow many herbs on the windowsill of your kitchen all year round.
I hope I’ve inspired you to take the plunge into a small garden or patio pots this growing season. If you are looking for fun heirloom plant starts join us at our annual plant sale May 12 & 13! Looking for more gardening tips? We love to hear from you, simply send us an email.