Growing your own vegetables is definitely more cost-effective than constantly buying produce from the grocery store. However, even vegetable gardening can be done on a budget, making growing your own vegetables even more frugal. Here are some tips for vegetable gardening on a budget.
Plant your own seeds.
After you’ve grown your first crop, hang on to some of the seeds and use them to plant vegetables for the next season. While you may have to buy seeds initially to get you started, you’ll soon have enough stocked up so you won’t have to buy new seeds each year.
Trade with friends.
If you get to know other folks that grow their own vegetables, you’ll likely discover that they’re growing crops that you aren’t, and vice versa. Talk to them about trading seeds so you can rotate in new vegetables without having to spend money on seeds.
Can and preserve.
The last thing you want to do is throw out vegetables that have gone bad because you couldn’t use them. Realistically plan on how much you’ll consume and how much you can preserve or can. Anything that doesn’t get consumed right away can go into the jars and you won’t waste any veggies.
If you do have an excess crop, sell it or trade.
Sometimes you just wind up with a huge crop, no matter how much you planned to preserve. If you find yourself with a lot of excess vegetables, consider trading with neighbors for crops you don’t currently have. Or better yet, take your overstock to a local farmers market and sell them. Now you’re not only gardening on a budget; you’re actually generating some income!
Use vegetable “waste” for compost.
Composting will ensure that your future crops are healthy and your soil stays nutrient-rich. With that in mind, don’t throw out all of those vegetable skins and cores when you’re done eating them. Instead, start a compost pile or barrel so you have a source of nutrients to keep your dirt producing for many years.
Get smart with your watering.
If you boil vegetables while cooking, the resulting water is full of nutrients. Instead of dumping the water down the drain, let it cool and water your vegetables with it. They’ll appreciate the nutrient-rich water and you’ll get a better harvest.