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Grow Your Own Fruits and Vegetables:Budget Edition

grow your own fruits and vegetables

Why should you plant a garden? There are tons of reasons why you should grow your own fruits and vegetables, but the main reason for me is that it SAVES MONEY! Here are some other reasons why gardening is so great:

  • Eating organic fruits and vegetables is healthier.

  • You know exactly what goes into your soil and on your produce.

  • It is healthy to get fresh air and dig in the dirt. 🙂

  • Regular gardening can provide you with moderate exercise which is good for the heart.

*This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

 

If you are looking for landscaping tips then check out this post:

Landscaping on a Budget

Like the idea of filling your own blog with tons of tips and tricks? Go look at my posts all about starting your own lifestyle blog!

Starting a Blog: When You Don’t Know Where to Start

Must-Have Blog Resources: Frugal Edition

 

Do Research for Your Area:Shade vs. Sun

The first job that you have is to go find the sunniest areas in your yard. Most fruits and vegetables need at least 6 hours of sunshine. If your plants do not get enough water and sun then they will not produce a large crop. Once you have found the sunniest area in your yard, start planning your garden beds.

 

Plan Your Garden

BHG garden planning tool

The Better Homes and Gardens website has a very useful resource that you can use to plan what your garden will look like digitally.  You can add raised beds, compost bins, various plants. It is great to plan what your yard will look like once you create your garden. Check out the BHG Plan a Garden online app!

 

Building Raised Beds

raised garden bed

We use raised beds made from landscaping timber for our garden. All you need to build a raised bed is:

  • landscaping timber (cheap)

  • tape measure

  • metal spikes

  • mallet

  • shovel

  • soil

1. Use string to mark the area for your raised garden bed. Level the ground where your landscaping timber will be.

2. Lay the timber down to form the perimeter of your bed. The bed should be at least 6 inches tall to give the plants plenty of room to grow.

3. Hammer the spikes into the timber to ensure a sturdy frame.

4. Remove any grass and weeds from the garden bed. Add your garden soil to the raised bed. If the wood isn’t rot-resistant, staple heavy-duty plastic along the inside walls before adding the soil.

5. Add your plants into the loose soil. Use the spacing guidelines below.

 

Use Containers for Space Saving

use containers for garden space

If you are running low on space, you can always use containers to grow certain fruits and vegetables. Peppers, tomatoes, and certain types of lettuce grow great in containers. If they start out growing your container then transplanting is always an option too.

Reasonably priced pots can be purchased at Walmart or other home improvement stores. Most of our pots cost anywhere from $2-$7 depending on the size.

 

What Should You Plant?

strawberries in garden pots

Once your raised bed is built then you need to take inventory of the fruits and vegetables that your family eats the most of. Make a list of those fruits and vegetables. Research information about the chosen plants and see if they will thrive in your climate. Some of my favorite fruits and vegetables to grow are:

  • asparagus

  • better boy tomatoes

  • cayenne peppers

  • Cherokee purple tomatoes

  • cherry tomatoes

  • iceberg lettuce

  • jalapeno peppers

  • mammoth jalapenos

  • pumpkins (first crop this year)

  • romaine lettuce

  • strawberries (first crop this year)

  • yellow squash (first crop this year)

  • zucchini squash (first crop this year)

In the future I would also love to grow:

  • okra

  • onions (sweet)

  • pinto beans

  • purple hull peas

  • potatoes

Don’t Crowd Your Plants

While you are planting your fruits and vegetables make sure that you don’t put too many plants close together. The sprouts may look tiny now, but they will GROW. 🙂 Here are some spacing guidelines:

  • asparagus: 12″-18″ between plants

  • lettuce: 12″ between plants

  • okra: 12″-15″ between plants

  • onions: 12″-15″ between plants

  • peas: 1″-2″ between plants

  • peppers: 14″-18″ between plants

  • potatoes: 8″-12″ between plants

  • pumpkins: 60″-72″ between plants

  • squash: 18″-28″ between plants

  • tomatoes: 24″-36″ between plants

Which Vegetables Grow Well Together?

Certain plants grow well when planted near each other. These vegetables should be planted near one another to ensure an abundant crop:

  • asparagus near tomatoes

  • onions near lettuce and peppers

  • peas near beans and corn

  • squash near corn, melons, and pumpkins

  • tomatoes near cucumbers, onions, and peppers

Keep these vegetables AWAY from each other:

  • corn away from tomatoes

  • onions away from all beans and peas

  • potatoes away from tomatoes

Penny Pinching

1. Look for Weekend Sales at Local Stores

Begin searching the sale papers when the weather starts to warm up. You will find that local stores put soil, flats of fruits and vegetables, and fertilizer on sale in the spring and around Memorial Day. Don’t miss great sale prices. We have paid less than $1 for our fruits and vegetable packs before due to early bird sales and holiday specials!

2. Grow from Seeds if Possible

If you have a space to grow your fruits and vegetables from seeds then that is the most budget-friendly way to garden. A pack of seeds cost pennies. Use a seed starter germination station year after year to germinate your seeds.

3. Split Packs with Family/Friends

Once you start gardening you will realize you may not need 6 jalapeno pepper plants that comes in a pack. A good way to save money is to find a family member or a friend that will split the packs of fruits and vegetables with you.

4. Don’t Overdo It

It may be tempting to buy all of the fruit and vegetable plants when you are first starting out. DON’T DO IT. If you buy too many plants and become overwhelmed then you may not continue your garden the next year. Also, you don’t want to take on such a large task when you are first starting out. Gardening is fun and rewarding, but it is work. If you plant a large garden that you can’t take care of then the plants will suffer. Not to mention the wasted money and time. 🙁

5. Use Seeds from Previous Harvests

If you have a great crop one year then collect the seeds at the end of the harvest. Store seeds in plastic bags in the refrigerator. You will be able to use the seeds the following year…FOR FREE!

 

Tips for Growing a Thriving Garden

1. Beware of Pests

Unfortunately pests LOVE healthy gardens. Here are some common pests and ways to deter them.

  • ants-Ants get everywhere! A good natural killer is using a Borax and corn syrup mixture. Leave the mixture near the ants, and they will take it back to the queen. There are plenty of chemical ant killers in the pest section at home improvement stores if you want to use that instead.

  • aphids-You can use chemical sprays to control aphids. You need to check your plants almost daily. If you see aphids on the underside of your leaves then rake them off while wearing gardening gloves.

  • birds-We love our yard birds, but the  cardinals love pecking holes in our bright red tomatoes. 🙁 Placing shiny objects near garden can deter them. I’ve also read that if you place a bright red Christmas ornament in your garden that the birds will peck that and won’t bother your tomatoes anymore.

  • deer, dogs, and rabbits-The best way to combat these loving pests is to have a raised bed tall enough to keep them away or to put up a fence around your garden area.

  • squash bugs, stink bugs, and green plant bugs-Squash them when you see them. Dusting your plants with a pesticide can deter a lot of these, but if you prefer an organic way then you can mix together a few garlic cloves, some hot chili peppers, a little oil, some dish washing detergent, and water. This is a natural spray that kills many pests.

2. Watch Out for Blossom Rot

Blossom rot has happened to our tomatoes several times. There are sprays that can be found at any home improvement stores.

3. Invest in a Quality Water Hose and Nozzle

This is an on-going topic around our house. We have purchased SO MANY water hoses and spray nozzles over the last 3 years. It’s ridiculous. My husband takes care of them, stores them for the winter, wraps the pipes, but in the spring we always find leaky hoses and nozzles. So my tip is to invest in a high-quality water hose and nozzle to ensure that they last.

4. Use Mulch or Garden Soil with Mulch Mixed In

Mulching your garden will ensure that the roots of your plants hold moisture. That will keep you from watering every single day. Also, mulch will reduce the amount of weeds that grow in your garden. You can purchase soil and mulch in bulk. We have also used ground stump scraps as mulch. The garden soil from Walmart is great. We have used it the last few years in our garden.

Growing your own fruits and vegetables is so rewarding! Do you have tips and tricks for gardening? Let me know in the comments below. Did you find this post helpful? Feel free to share on social media. 🙂

 

2 thoughts on “Grow Your Own Fruits and Vegetables:Budget Edition

  1. This is such great information! Growing my own fruits and veggies has been something I’ve always wanted to do, but I just haven’t. Having so many options here, and guidelines for different plants has re-inspired me!

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