1. Home Gardening Is Versatile
Some people think they need a huge yard to have their own garden, but nothing could be further from the truth. No matter how much space you have, you can always find room for a few plants. This is true even if you live in an apartment or only have a small porch. All you need is a DIY attitude and a bit of creativity.
Case in point: you’d laugh if you saw my backyard. Its picture is next to the word “tiny” in the dictionary. But last year I grew a bumper crop of tomatoes, climbing peas, and several other wonderful veggies in my little space – all using some creative techniques I’ll talk about in just a bit.
So, don’t think that because you don’t have a ton of space you can’t grow a garden. Home gardening can be really versatile, and easy to get into!
2. Home Gardening Relieves Stress
I find gardening to be a very soothing hobby. Digging in the dirt and watching my veggies grow a bit every day is incredibly rewarding.
Gardening is a wonderful activity to relieve stress. You’re outdoors, you’re getting exercise, and best of all, the activity often takes your mind off work and other stress in your life. I know it does for me!
3. Home Gardening Is a Family Activity
For some, gardening is a solo activity. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Why not ask your spouse and/or children to give you a hand in the garden? You may be surprised by how much fun you can all have together. Finding fun activities for the whole family to participate in can be tough and we often resort to spending a bunch of money to have fun, but working in a garden together costs nothing.
Another thing to consider is that due to steep budget cuts, more and more cities are closing their community pools and cutting public library services and resources. If you and your kids rely on city perks like these for your summer fun, you might be twiddling your thumbs this year. I know several pools in my own community won’t be open, and my local library is cutting back their hours to try and save money.
Your kids might love helping you grow veggies in the garden, so this can be an inexpensive alternative to consider.
4. Home Gardens Save Money
For many people, this is the number one reason to start a garden. Burpee Seed Co. estimates that for every $50 a family spends on seeds and fertilizer, they’ll reap $1,250 in produce. Amazing!
If saving money on fruits and vegetables is your end goal, make sure you plant seeds for things you’ll actually enjoy eating. Some of the most popular options include tomatoes, green peppers, banana peppers, and zucchini.
I’ve never estimated how much money I save with my own garden. My first year starting seeds I lost my entire crop because I didn’t know what I was doing and overwatered. Last year, I lost half my crop and had to start over. So there will most likely be failures and successes, but that’s part of the fun.
However, you can maximize the money you save by being smart about what you grow. For instance, cool weather crops like carrots, potatoes, onions, and winter squash can be stored for quite a long time. When these vegetables are harvested, you can easily store them in your basement for several weeks, or even months, if you keep them packed in sawdust. So even if you can’t eat them right away, they’ll keep long enough for you to use them up over time.
Other vegetables, like tomatoes, peas, cucumbers, and beets are easy to preserve with home canning or freezing.
A good rule of thumb is to look at the vegetables you’re buying at the store already. For instance, I eat a ton of kale and spinach, so these are two crops I always try to grow at home. I also love green beans, so every year I make my own homemade Dilly Beans, and can them myself.
5. You Can Grow Your Own Herbs and Spices
You probably already know that herbs are really expensive to buy in the store. Growing rosemary, basil, oregano, and other herbs and spices in your garden is a great way to save some money and diversify your crop.
Herbs are usually my biggest crop every year, and I always find a use for what I grow.
For instance, I have several lavender bushes in my yard. I dry the lavender, make lavender infused olive oil and lavender shortbread cookies, and even sprinkle dried lavender in my carpets. I’m also getting into soapmaking (a great green small business idea), so I’ll have plenty of lavender to use in my homemade soaps.
I also grow a lot of parsley, which I sprinkle on potatoes and use to make homemade tabbouleh.
Keep in mind that even if you can’t use your herbs fresh right now, you can always dry them and use them over the next several months. This can save you money because you won’t need to buy these dried herbs at the grocery store.
6. Home Gardens Are Green and Sustainable
Buying natural organic food is expensive, but often desired due to all of the chemicals and genetic altering done by farmers nowadays. Growing your own fruits and vegetables is the most organic you can get! You’ll be helping the environment and saving money at the same time.
You can also save money and help your garden be more organic by creating your own compost at home. For instance, I have my own vermicomposting bin, which means I compost my food scraps with worms. It may sound gross, but worms are amazing at breaking down food and turning it into thick, rich compost.
This compost is very expensive if you buy it at the store. The same is true for liquid fertilizer, which my worms also produce for me. The best part is that, for me, these garden essentials are 100% free, and I’m lessening my impact on the environment by keeping all my food waste out of the landfill.