Create A Garden

Grow Your Own Food // Gardening a Healthy Way to Save Money

Starting a garden is a great way to eat healthy and save money. When done correctly a backyard or rooftop garden can relieve your grocery budget.  

Gardening does take time, a little money and patience on your part though. The upfront cost of starting your garden will vary depending on the soil you have access too, the tools you already have on hand, and the type of fruits, vegetables, and herbs you plan to plant.  

Some costs of gardening may include: 

  • Plants of seeds 
  • Nutrient-rich soil  
  • Structures to protect plants 
  • Water 
  • Gardening tools 

Is Gardening Worth the Cost?

Yes! If you tend to it. According to the National Gardening Association, a $70 investment in home food gardening can yield, on average, a $600 return on the investment (1).  

How to Save Money when Planting a Garden 

You can save money by starting early with seeds rather than pre-started plants. Another way to save money is to use the “square foot” gardening method. This is really great for those who live in small apartments or homes without a garden area.  

The average square foot garden is about 4 feet by 4 feet. You divide the garden up into a grid of 1-foot squares. You will care for each square foot individually. You will plant one kind of fruit, vegetable, or herb per square. How many seeds per box will depend on the type of plant, for example, you can plant multiple carrots per square but probably only one tomato plant per square. You can also do this in gallon sized buckets if you don’t have space for dirt or a raised garden bed.  

Steps to Starting a Garden 

Here are a few steps to growing your own garden. 

  1. Choose a location for your garden. This may be a public city garden, your backyard, some pots or buckets on your porch, or a rooftop garden.  
  1. Select the fruits, vegetables, and herbs you plan to plant. Decide what’s best for the time of year you’re planting, the space you have, and the soil quality. Purchase the seeds or plants. 
  1. Prepare or buy the soil you need. It’s best to mix compost and natural fertilizers into your soil. If you don’t know where to start, take a sample of your soil to your local gardening store. Most stores will test the acidity of your soil and let you know what you need. You can also purchase soil in bulk.  
  1. Check our harvest of the season check list for what to plant! Growing conditions vary throughout the state of Utah and we have laid out what to grow when for your area. Just click here. 
  1. Plant your seeds or plants. Be sure to read how deep to plant them and how far to space them out.  
  1. Water your garden. Soil should be moist and evenly watered. A spray nozzle for your hose may be helpful.  
  1. Weed the garden. Be sure to grab the weeds low on their stems and pull them out swiftly. This helps you pull the entire root rather than just the visible part. 
  1. Fertilize the garden. Fertilizer helps keep the soil rich, which helps your plants grow. You can purchase garden fertilizer or make your own! Fertilizers can be made from things you may have on hand such as Epsom salt, eggshells, or kitchen compost.  
  1. Time to harvest! You want to pull the fruits, vegetables, and herbs when they are young. Harvest the amount you plan to eat at a time. For rooted plants pick them when they are eatable size and for leafy greens cut them 2 inches above the ground.  

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