Save Money Gardening!

1. Plant produce that you and your family enjoy. To save the most money gardening, select vegetables that you like to eat and would normally buy at the grocery store. Do not plant vegetables that you would not purchase on a regular basis.

2. Choose vegetables that can be preserved, stored or frozen. By selecting vegetables that can be easily canned or frozen, you stretch your garden investment and may consume produce from your garden throughout the year.
- Plant cool-weather vegetables like onions, potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes and winter squash that can be easily stored.
- Plant tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, corn, peas and beets that can be canned or frozen.

3. Grow vegetables that provide a high return on investment. Plant vegetables that are expensive to buy in the store, or that you consume in large quantities. Consider options like tomatoes, green beans, onions, peppers, squash, potatoes, peas, lettuce, beets, spinach, carrots, broccoli, cucumbers and Swiss chard.

4. Plant herbs for a high return on investment. In most areas, you can purchase a packet of seeds or a small herb pot for about $1.50, which will produce leaves for an entire growing season. In contrast, fresh herbs at the grocery story typically cost about $3 for a single-use packet.

5. Select herbs that you use for culinary or household purposes.
- Plant herbs that you frequently use in the kitchen, such as basil, rosemary, oregano or parsley. You can use the fresh herbs throughout the growing season, and you can dry the herbs for future use.
- Plant herbs that you use for household purposes. Herbs like lavender or lemon verbena can be used as air fresheners, added to soaps or infused in oils.

6. Plant seeds for a higher return on investment. A packet of seeds is less expensive than a plant, and the yield is much greater. A seed packet can produce dozens of plants for less than a single established plant or a cell pack of seedlings.

7. Exchange seeds with friends. Because seed packets typically provide more seeds than you need for a single growing season, exchange seeds with gardening friends. By exchanging seeds, you get more varieties of produce and lower your seed costs.

8. Plant produce in stages. Rather than planting an entire crop of seeds at once, plant them in stages over the course of several weeks. This enables you to harvest in stages, and therefore consume the produce over time, rather than all at once. Succession planting allows a constant harvest in your garden, reducing the chance of produce waste.

9. Collect rainwater for irrigation. Purchase a commercially manufactured rain barrel, or modify an existing barrel to collect rain. The collected water can be used to water your garden, reducing your household water bill.

10. Create compost from yard, garden and kitchen waste. Starting a compost pile is an easy way to make free fertilizer. The compost will improve the soil and eliminate the need to purchase commercial fertilizers for your garden.
- Collect grass clippings, fallen leaves and kitchen waste like egg shells, coffee grounds, banana peels and leftover vegetables in a corner of your yard.
- Rotate the compost using a pitchfork periodically.
- Apply the compost to your garden as a free fertilizer.
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