Tasty Garden Goodness… Trimming the Grocery Bill By Candy Webb

Trimming the Grocery Bill – Garden Preparations for a Budget

March marks the start of spring and the growing season for most Americans. That means money savings for budget-conscious consumers. While grocery store produce continues to rise in price, raising food at home or in a community garden can mean an overall reduction in the grocery bill. Proper planning is the necessary key to success.

First, consider the amount of room there is to spare. Then, how much time you are willing to spend tending a garden. Your schedule may be tight, or perhaps there’s only enough space for a few houseplants. If that’s the case, start by growing some favorite herbs inside. Reducing the expense on these can be huge! Basil, rosemary, thyme, and the like will all do well in pots. Lettuce can be seeded indoors along with tomatoes and peppers, plus all of these will thrive in patio containers too.

Give some thought to what you love to cook and eat the most. For example, I don’t have anything against Swiss chard, but I’m not sure my family will eat lots of it. I am always in need of an onion, on the other hand, no matter what day it is or what I’m cooking. So, I’ll start there. Onions are very easy to cultivate, extremely healthy, come in tons of varieties, and the leftovers can be stored or even sown right back in the ground!

Besides better taste, the pride, and fun that comes with tending fresh veggies, consider the dollar value return on investment. Compare costly store-bought tomatoes to the purchase of just one plant. The one plant will yield all the fruit to consume today plus enough to put away for use in the future. Healthy green leafy varieties like spinach, mustards, collards, and kale, contain high nutritional value, grow in abundance, and are easily frozen or canned. Summer squash like zucchini boasts a high yield in a small space with little care as well. There are so many choices; just make sure to get the best bang for the buck based on your own preferences.

The truth is you can save a lot by producing your own fresh vegetables. A little time making great preparations now will pay off abundantly at harvest. My advice to everyone is to go outside and grow a garden – no matter how big or small. It will save you money, or at the very least, it will be fun.

Enjoy the springtime!

Candy Webb is a freelance writer, consultant, entrepreneur, and owner of Taste of Candy. Visit www.tasteofcandy.com for more Tasty Garden Goodness.