Gardening for Savings
The weather this winter in the South has been delightful: so warm that our azaleas, in their confusion, have begun to bloom!
When we moved here from Los Angeles and had a little more land, we decided to start gardening. That first year we tossed a few plants in the ground and crossed our fingers. It was amazing to see the plants we chose actually grew! We had squash, tomatoes, and a few other veggies along with several strawberry plants.
The next year we spent a bit more time researching gardening. We also started to compost, and we used this in our soil to make it richer. We started with seeds, too, so confident in our endeavors!
Each year we have learned a little more about planting and growing, and our kids, as they have gotten older, have gotten to be more involved in the process.
This year, with warmer temps arriving earlier in the South, we have already begun to consider what we will plant and when. I love tomatoes off of the vine, so we always include a few tomato plants in the mix. I also love onions and squash; I could eat them daily.
Otherwise, we typically peruse the aisles of the garden store looking at seed packets. We take the girls along so they can choose what they want. This also makes them more curious about trying new foods. Something they won’t eat from a grocery store shelf they will try if they have planted it, watered it, and watched it grow!
If you are considering starting a garden to help with food costs and/or to produce fresh, healthy foods you can eat at home, here are a few links to assist you with the gardening journey:
1. The USDA produces a hardiness map, which you can find here. This map shows in which zone you are located, which will help you determine what plants you can grow and when to plant.
2. Check out this vegetable planner guide. After locating your zone on the link above, choose your zone from this page and find when to plant and how much to plant for a family of four (I love this feature!).
3. Want to compost? This article on the EPA website explains it all!
Do you garden for vegetable and fruit savings, or simply for health reasons? If so, what do you love to plant, and have you already started thinking about spring planting?
Photo via Flickr/ LauriNovakPhotography