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Save money by growing your own organic produce

Looking for ways to cut down on costs without sacrificing quality of meals? Extreme couponing is a hot trend, but if you eat healthfully, you’ve probably noticed that most of those coupons are for processed foods. If you’re a fruit and veggie lover, you may feel like there’s no way to win the grocery budget war. Thankfully, there is a way to win: by planting your own garden.
If you’re not convinced, take the time to do a little math. Keep your grocery receipts for a month and add up home much you spend on fruits and veggies. Then go visit your local hardware store or nursery and calculate out what you’ll spend on good soil, compost, and packets of seeds. You can fertilize your garden with compost you create from your own veggie peels (not mention egg shells and coffee grounds, where appropriate). The price difference is astounding. Yes, it is undeniably cheaper to grow your own produce. But how can you do this? What if you don’t live out in the country? The following tips will help eliminate your excuses and help you save money—and eat healthier, too.
Finding the right space Many new gardeners think they simply don’t have the space to create a garden, but these options may open your mind to the possibilities:
  • Plant a balcony garden in pots on your patio or balcony
  • Convert a piece of your lawn or flowerbeds into a garden
  • Build a raised garden if the yard is not level
  • Ask your apartment manager if you can start a coop garden space in some of the apartment-owned land
  • Rent a coop garden space from your town or city
  • Advertise online for home owners who will let you use part of their land to garden in exchange for a portion of your produce
If you really want to start a garden, you’ll find the space. People have gardens in New York City, LA, and Las Vegas, so you certainly can find a space to start your garden.
Preparing your garden Before you stick a handful of seeds in the ground, you have to properly prepare the soil. Invest in a soil testing kit or simply prepare your garden area with a combination of top soil, compost, and a little bit of sand and peat moss. Be sure to till the soil well (or mix it well, if you’re starting with all new soil in pots or a raised garden).
Planting wisely When planting, be sure to pay attention to the needs of the specific plants. Shade or full sun? Water-loving or acid-loving? Needs how much room between plants?
Plant such that you will capitalize on the produce you most enjoy eating, but also coordinate with a fellow gardener or two. It’s common in coop garden settings for gardeners to share produce and exchange a little of this for a little of that. Depending on what part of the country you’re in, you may be able to grow produce year round. Look into green house and cold frames for winter gardens and early starts in spring.
Enjoying the fruits (and vegetables!) of your labor Once you start harvesting your fruit and vegetables, you’ll realize the long-term benefits of growing your own produce. Network with other gardeners for variety and growing tips. If you can connect with enough people, you may be able to set up a weekly produce exchange or coordinated efforts that will result in more variety and healthier lifestyles.
About the author: Bridget Sandorford is a grant researcher and writer for Along with her passion for whipping up recipes that incorporate “superfoods”, she recently finished research on culinary schools and culinary schools in California.


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