As evident by recent news headlines, produce and vegetable prices are predicted to skyrocket through the roof within the coming months, increasing as much as 4.5 percent nationwide—the highest price inflation for fresh fruits and vegetables the country has faced in three whole years. While there is no way to stop consuming vegetables –after all you need them for healthand nutrition— if you are looking to save money,an excellent way to avoid costly retail produce and vegetables is to simply grow your own.Continue reading below to learn how to start your very own small vegetable garden on a budget.
If you don’t have the slightest clue on how to start your own vegetable garden, it’s imperative that you do some research so that you know what you are about to get yourself into and be aware of some of the more cost effective techniques such as transplanting. There are tons of great books on the subject that can be found at your local library or by simply doing a Google search. Whatever you do, just make sure to plan ahead.
Borrow, Don’t Buy
While growing your own vegetables will ultimately save you a bundle in the long run, sometimes it can get pretty pricey just to get started, especially if you don’t own any planting tools and equipment. Instead of rushing over to the nearest garden center ask friends, family members and neighbors if they would be willing to loan you any supplies that you might need such as pots, shovels, shredders, weed-eaters and a pair of good gardening gloves. Some of the larger garden equipment is extremely expensive to purchase and maintain. And since you’ll only need some of these items a few times during the season, see if you can borrow them first before forking out any money.
If there are no green-thumbs who might have planting tools in your family or who live on your street, you can also consider renting some of the larger garden equipment for a fraction of the price at major retail stores like Home Depot or smaller rental companies. You can also consider scouring thrift shops for some of the smaller items, like pots and smaller shovels.
Sharing is Caring
When it comes to purchasing seeds to plant in your small garden, typically you get way more than you actually need. A good way to get a variety of vegetables and not waste any of the left over seeds that you do not need is to start a “trading system” with a friend or neighbor who is also interested in gardening. This way if you purchase 3 packets of seeds, for example, and so does your neighbor but of a different variety, you can ultimately still plant 6 different types of vegetables.
To get a better bang for your buck however, no matter if you instill a trading system or not, is to choose vegetables for your garden that will “re-seed” themselves such as arugula, turnips, kale and Swiss chard. Some perennial vegetables will re-seed themselves as well, such as asparagus, artichokes, cardoon and some onions. To make sure you don’t waste your time and money trying to grow vegetables that don’t particularly grow very well in your area however, check out your state’s extension office.
Make your own Compost
Having a successful vegetable garden doesn’t mean you have to spend a small fortune on soil fertilizer. In fact you can actually make your own compost that triples as soli fertilizer, mulch and soil amendment. To learn how to make your own compost, follow the few tips provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Additional tip: Always remember you can preserve your vegetables or freeze them for later use.
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