By Heather Levin, Signal Contributing Writer
I love gardening. Every spring I start dreaming of all the veggies I’m going to plant, and I love going to my local farmers’ market and picking out tomatoes, cucumbers and field peas to plant.
But, have you ever thought about starting a home garden?
With food prices rising and more people trying to save money, home gardening has taken off in a big way. Many vegetable seed companies report sales have shot up 30-50%, which is a clear indicator that more people are putting on their gardening gloves and getting to work.
Home gardening is a hobby that can bring great joy to your life, enable you to get some free exercise, and bring the entire family together.
Although it may not sound exciting on the surface, it’s something you should consider if you enjoy the outdoors and are interested in reaping the rewards of hard work.
Benefits of home gardening
So, still wondering if home gardening is right for you? Wondering if a home garden can really save you money? First, let’s look at the benefits of starting a home garden.
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.
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.
It 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!
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.
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.
A good rule of thumb is to look at the vegetables you’re already buying at the store. 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.
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.
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.
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 can also save money and help your garden be more organic by creating your own compost at home.
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