I’ve had a few inquiries from people wanting to plant a garden but afraid that after they put ‘all that money into it” they could just buy the produce from the store for cheaper.
So allow me to share a few ideas on how to grow your own grub for cheap.
1. We don’t use expensive fertilizers. We use lots of organic material. Each Fall Reed tils in our dead flowers, autumn leaves and the dead garden plants back into our garden soil.
We also use free mulch from our local community free mulch place. You know how the city will pick up your Christmas tree and then run it though the wood chipper to make mulch. That kind of place.
Enriching our soil makes for super healthy plants. I MAY and I mean MAY use a bag of the Miracle Grow Organic fertilizer this season if I feel that our garden needs it. But I bet it won’t.
2. We don’t use pesticides. We don’t need them. (Knock on wood.)
3. The area we use for our garden would have to be watered even if it was just lawn. So it is sixes there.
4. The cinder blocks we have outlining our gardens were seconds. Mucho cheapo 12 years ago when Reed built our gardens. I didn’t want to use railroad ties or treated lumber because of what they could leach into my soil. Plus the cinder blocks were cheaper than those items.
5. With my May grocery budget I purchase the plants for our garden. I figure this to be an excellent investment as the produce from my garden will pay be back 110x what I put into it. Plus, I won’t have to drive to the store to pick these items up. Just walk out my back door.
Vines we grow from seed. I could start my tomatoes from seed indoors and I have done that in the past. But I just don’t have the time now. Most of my herbs come back on their own year after year.
We don’t use Walls ‘O Water around our tomato plants or anything. Although I have in the past taken empty milk jugs, cut off the bottoms and put THOSE over my tomato plants if the weather got super cold at night. It works!
I grow roma tomatoes and Amish paste tomatoes for canning. Then I grow cherry tomatoes and others for stuffing my face with eating.
And, as a heads up, many garden centers will give you a most amazing deal on veggie plants come about this time of year. They’d rather sell them at cost than just have them croak. You just have to ask.
I anticipate having what I need to be able to can at least the following:
50 quarts of salsa
25 quarts of diced tomatoes with onions and peppers.
50 pints of pizza sauce (Because homemade pizza ROCKS.)
60 pints of spaghetti sauce
20 pints of enchilada sauce
20 quarts of green beans ( We need to plant LOTS more green beans next year.)
We’ll have enough potatoes to last us until Christmas.
Then there is what we will eat fresh from the garden too.
I also freeze LOTS of gallon bags of zuchinni for muffins. And I plan on pureeing my other varieties of squash and freezing that this year.
I have about $65.00 – $70.00 invested in veggie plants, potato starts and onion starts and cucumber seeds. My squash seeds were left over from last year.
And have you priced organics lately? Sheesh! English cucumbers are running $1.00 each at the store here. Plus my kids will only eat my salsa. They won’t touch the store stuff. And we cook with lots of salsa!
I have quite a few jars on hand already and have put out the word that if anyone has any jars they don’t want anymore, we’d LOVE to have them.
Hopefully you’ll try gardening yourself next year.