The war in Ukraine, the rising cost of gas, and even the avian flu are leaving shopping carts, wallets, and purses emptier than they’ve been in a long time. And it’s unlikely to ease up anytime soon. According to CNN, the cost of groceries is up a whopping 10.8 percent across the board for the year. With so many prices going up so quickly, how can the average American family keep food on the table?
One solution is to grow your own from seed. Even if you have the smallest backyard on the block, there are ways to optimize your space to grow foods such as tomatoes, squash, zuchinni, onions, pumpkins, and eggplants. It may take you a season or two to polish your skills, but within one to two years, you could easily be growing enough produce to slash your weekly grocery bill in half. Here’s how others are doing it.
Grow What Your Family Enjoys Eating
Before you buy your first bag of seed starter or invest in your first raised bed, think about the types of produce you most frequently buy. Is it lettuce for salads, carrots for snacking, or broccoli for stir-frying? Do you regularly buy pounds of apples or pears? Or are berries more your family’s style? You can easily grow each of these nutritious foods right in your own backyard, but they should be ones everyone enjoys eating.
Make Good Use of Your Vertical Space
Your garden doesn’t have to be taken over by sprawling pumpkin vines or unruly tomato plants. By training your plants to grow vertically up a trellis or other type of support, you can keep your new backyard garden looking neat and tidy.
Concentrate on Growing Nutrient-Rich Foods
Grow foods that are satisfying and filling. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, beans, and peas top this list. They also store well. So if you grow enough of them, your family can have healthy sides to eat all winter.
Learn How to Compost
Good soil is pricey, and you’ll need lots of it to make a go at gardening. So learn how to turn your existing food scraps into rich, dark compost. You don’t need any pricey equipment to begin, just a clear spot on the ground and a working knowledge of the green-to-brown ratio.
Be Frugal at First
Container gardening is a good way to get started in growing, especially if space is limited. Scour your local yard sales for buckets, baskets, and washtubs to use as planters. You can also score big at the local home improvement stores if you stop by as one season ends and another begins.
Go online and order a few free seed catalogs to help you in your planning. These are wonderfully inspiring resources for new gardeners. And get outside and walk the area you plan to garden in. Visualize it before you begin digging, and learn all you can about succession planting, and which crops are cold-weather and which are warm-weather. Before you know it, your backyard will have new purpose, and your family will have fresh, healthy food choices freely available — all at a fraction of what they cost at the grocery store.