Springtime is almost upon us, and with it come all the delicious seasonal vegetables that will soon follow in summer. We all tend to overspend when it comes to food, especially when it comes to produce. Instead of paying extra for those veggies and herbs, you could be growing them yourself at home. Are you ready to find out how you can get your year started off right? If you have a green thumb, why don’t you use it to put more green in your wallet? Here are 7 easy steps to help you get your garden started.
The first step to a garden that’s vibrant and full of life is having good soil. There are plenty of options when it comes to improving your garden soil, including the obvious choices like manure and brand-named fertilizers, but there are plenty of cheaper alternatives out there. You don’t have to run up debt or take out a title loan to make your garden flourish this spring.
Composting could help you eliminate much of the cost of enriching your soil. You can let your leftovers go to waste in your trash can, or give them new life as fertilizer for tomorrow’s food. Coffee grounds are rich in phosphorous and magnesium, so they work especially well as a base. If you’re not a big coffee drinker, Starbucks has a program called “Grounds for Your Garden” that might be able to help you out with some second-hand grounds. Just ask a barista if you don’t see them on display.
Even if you have a green thumb, it helps to know which plants grow best in your area. There is a wide variety of plants that will grow throughout the year in the right climate, including fruits, vegetables, and especially herbs. Besides choosing the right plants for your region, be sure to grow for foods that you and your family can easily incorporate into your diet.
Many communities offer what they call “seed libraries” where budding horticulturists can receive free seeds to get their gardens started. All you have to do is donate back the seeds from one or two of your plants to pay it forward. The Seed Lending Library of Mississippi is a great resource if you need help getting your garden started in the Oxford area.
Don’t get blindsided by unanticipated expenses when it comes to gardening. Supplies like fertilizer and planters can get pricey, but there are plenty of ways to save on these gardening essentials. We mentioned the benefits of DIY fertilizers, but there are also plenty of tutorials on Pinterest and similar sites that can show you how to make planters and raised beds for pennies on the dollar.
There are also thrift stores, garage sales, and even dollar stores where you can find the equipment you need for less than you’d expect. And if you’re lucky enough to live near a Habitat for Humanity ReStore location, you can find building, landscaping, and home-improvement supplies for a fraction of retail price, and all proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity. That’s one small way you can help make the world a better place this spring.
It’s no secret – we all need water. We use it every day, and it’s something your plants need to provide you with the delicious food you’re trying to grow. But we don’t fully utilize all the water we use. When you’re washing dishes or taking a shower, you can use a bowl or container to catch your run off, so your water (and money) doesn’t just go down the drain. You can even make your own water collection system to harvest rainwater. This helps you conserve water and saves you money, too. Just throw that water into a clean spray bottle or watering can, and watch your garden grow for less.
Even if you don’t rely on a seed library to get started, it’s a good idea to save your seeds. Why not sow the seeds for the next generation of your garden? All those tasty vegetables are chock full of precious seeds, ready to feed your family next season. Take advantage, and stock up on all the seeds you need to make this more than a one-time project.
There are lots of natural methods you can use to keep your garden pest-free this spring. Weeding out weak plants, using seaweed-based mulch, and clearing debris where pests tend to live and breed will all be helpful rules of thumb to follow for prevention.
Ditch the chemicals this spring, and opt for more natural pest control methods instead. There are also hundreds of natural remedies out there, no matter the pest – identify the critters, and find out what you can do to keep them from taking a bite out of your garden. Just stick to these 7 easy tips to put extra green on your plates and in your wallet.