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6 Frugal Tips for Growing Your Own Food

6 Frugal Tips for Growing Your Own Food

How to Grow Vegetables on a Budget

The cost of food has gone up significantly in recent times, adding pressure to the household budget.

While we might think we are good at grocery shopping, finding bargains and saving money, research shows we tend to let a shocking amount of that food go to waste.

One way to reduce the cost of food and potentially reduce food waste is to grow your own and it doesn’t have to be difficult.

Depending how you do it, growing your own food can either be an expensive exercise or relatively cheap using recycled materials and kitchen scraps to get started.

It’s all about how you do it and what you know.

By doing it with the following tips, growing your own will likely be cheaper than buying your produce in-store.

How to Grow Vegetables on a Budget

1. Consider Container Gardening

Even if you build DIY beds, the cost of things like wooden runners and large amounts of compost can quickly add up unless you can source the wood for free.

But, if you want to get started on a shoestring, or you’re unsure whether this is a pursuit that you’ll have any success with, then it may be worth considering container gardening first.

Ideal for its simple setup, high success rate, and limited equipment requirements, container gardening can work for everything from carrots to potatoes, runner beans, and salad leaves.

Admittedly, spatial limitations mean that you won’t be able to grow things like sweetcorn, squash or broccoli this way.

But, this is a great option for testing out the growing life for less. 

It’s simple to set up with milk cartons, jugs, tins, pot plants and similar. Check Facebook Marketplace for free ones.

You can grow seeds in eggshells or egg cartons to get started then transfer them to other containers once they are seedlings.

2. Ensure Efficient Watering

Most fruit and veg require around 2.5 centimetres of water a week to thrive and this is the area where many gardeners fail.

They either forget to water the plants enough and the plants die, or they remember intermittently and overcompensate when they do remember or they didn’t learn how much water specific plants need.

Using an efficient and affordable irrigation system for this purpose, and seeking irrigation repairs anytime you notice a leak in your system, is worth the cost to set up.

It will keep your vegetables watered enough (especially if you use a timer) and you don’t need to remember to do it all.

This way, even though your water output may increase a little, the change shouldn’t be notable enough to impact your bills all that much.

How to Grow Vegetables on a Budget. Use these 6 tips to set up frugally!

3. Grow From Scraps

Many plants can grow from their own scraps or have seeds that can be sprouted.

Celery, lettuce, herbs and anything with a root can easily be grown if you put it in some water first to revive it and let it sprout.

Potatoes if they grow eyes can be planted, as can sweet potato.

Seeds from tomatoes, capsicum and any other fruit or vegetable with the seeds can be grown although you will have a higher success rate with organic produce than regular produce.

Using your kitchen scraps combined with container gardening is one of the cheapest ways (free ways), to get set up.

4. Seed Swaps

Some libraries and councils and other locations offer seed swaps or even seedling swaps.

Our daycare has a seedling swap section as you walk in, along with a mini food bank for families that might need help with groceries.

Check your local council and library websites as well as local Facebook groups. If there isn’t already one set up, you could look into starting one when you are ready.

5. Choose Crops That Keep on Giving

Even if you’re only growing a few different crops, the need to buy your seeds from scratch each year could see you spending a large amount in one go.

Constantly buying seeds or seedlings every year makes this less frugal.

To avoid that, it’s worth selecting at least a few perennial crops that will continue to grow each year, including things like rhubarb (my favourite), herbs, tomatoes, chillies, lettuce, kale, spinach etc.

Even if you break these up with other crops that you’ll need to replant each year, this increased return on investment can help you to start saving significant amounts far sooner for your growing efforts. 

Read 9 things to grow in your garden to save money.

6. Compost

Learn how to compost effectively, and what can and cannot be used then add that to your garden.

It doesn’t need to be difficult to set up or maintain but it can add a lot of nutrients to the soil.

The quality of your vegetables will partially be determined by the quality of your soil so it is worth investing in a composting system or learning how to do it in an area of the garden for free.

Growing your own food can be great for your diet and your budget.

Make the most of this frugal option with these top tips for saving even more money.

How do you save money with your garden?

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