Gardening – Doing it cost effectively



Summary: Gardening is an activity that many people take up for different reasons – many, for the sheer pleasure of being outdoors and the ability to foster a green thumb.  Of late, gardening has become a way for people to cut down on grocery bills and have access to organic produce.

The number of people participating in gardening activities keeps increasing every year, more so in tough economic times. Parents are trying to get families to eat better and ensure that the food is flavorful and offers more nutritive value.  Growing plants without using too many pesticides and fertilizers requires a bit of work but can be done in a cost effective manner.

Cost effective ways to start a garden:

Done right and with a bit of care, even the smallest plot can be used to grow enough food for a family and make a big difference in the grocery budget. The bill for a garden plot will vary depending on what is grown and the growing season of the plants.  When one is trying to find the most cost effective way to grow food, take the following into consideration:

  • cost to buy the seeds or plants
  • cost of soil (account for pots, fertilizers, dirt and worms, if necessary)
  • cost of buying protective cages and trellises
  • water costs
  • cost of tools (usually an initial investment)

These costs don’t account for the time spent in caring for the garden.  Gardening is a risky investment – sometimes it can lead to a loss as well.  On average, most people end up saving quite a bit of money annually even with an investment of as little as $100. Events such as plant diseases and drought are beyond a person’s control and can impact purchases of common items such as lettuce and tomatoes.

The fact remains that people can get sticker shock from the initial investment they have to make for items such as pots, garden implements and soil.  There are ways to stretch the dollar by starting plants from seeds.  Sometimes buying plants to start a vegetable bed can be quite expensive. Experts suggest square foot gardening – this is an effective way of having healthy plants with less effort and possible with little space.  Another suggestion is to grow what is absolutely necessary – having a lot of produce is great and can be shared with friends and family but requires a lot of time, money and effort.  There will be times when food gets wasted as well.

All said and done, the decision to get into gardening is a personal one and people can choose what they want to grow and how to do it.  Even choosing to grow staples will help people to save money at the grocery store.  Starting small is a good way to figure out whether one has the inclination to garden and also spare time when expansion is taken on.