Grow Your Own Food

Whether you’ve got a full on green thumb or are a total novice, everyone can save a little extra money by getting into gardening. By growing your own fruits, vegetables and herbs you could cut a huge chunk off of your supermarket shop and save a load of money, while also nurturing a great new hobby. Just get some of the basics down and do a bit of planning, and you could be your own farmer in no time.

potted plants

First, choose where you want to set up your patch. An allotment offers up to about 250 square metres of space, but you can go for less if this seems a bit overwhelming. An allotment allows you the room to grow a wide variety of produce including bigger vegetables, but if you’re new to gardening you don’t need to commit to renting this sort of space. Even a small vegetable patch in your back garden will provide room to experiment. Try to pick a spot that gets a decent amount of sun throughout the day, but is kept out of the wind.

If you’re really tight for space, potted plants may be ideal for your needs. Try filling pots with multipurpose compost and get planting. Lettuce, carrots, tomatoes and beans can all be potted, just water regularly and pull when they’re ready.

When it comes to selecting what sort of seeds to buy, aim for the things you enjoy eating! There’s no point spending months slaving over a particular crop only to realize you’re not all that fond of squash anyway. Think about what you’ll really use, and what normally costs you more than it should in the supermarket. Broccoli, onions, beans, tomatoes and peas are all things you may buy regularly, so by investing some space for them in your patch, you’ll be sure to save money. Once your crops have grown, ensure you can freeze or store them so that nothing goes to waste. Invest in some canning and storing supplies, easily found for cheap, and you’ll be well fed all year round. Even if you have to take out finance, such as from Koala Payday Loans, the investment will more than pay for itself from the savings on supermarket shopping when you harvest your crops.

When it comes to caring for your crops, do your research to be sure that you know how each plant should be treated. Water young seedlings regularly at the start, assuming the weather isn’t too wet, and then let them find moisture from the soil. A balanced fertiliser should suit most vegetables, although tomatoes should be treated differently, so look for one that includes more potash. Weed the patch regularly to keep out competition that will sap nutrients from your garden, and keep an eye out for pests that could ruin your patch. Organic slug pellets should take care of a slug problem, and an insecticide can be used to spray away irritating flying insects. Remember to use an organic insecticide if you’re aiming to keep your garden all organic; this should hopefully make for tastier veg. If you find that birds are trying to steal your food, netting can be put up to cover the plants that should protect them.

Do your best, but be prepared for some hits and misses. Growing your own food requires some patience; you’ll have to commit to regular maintenance and care, so start small. Once you gain some confidence and know what you’re doing, you’ll be able to expand your gardening repertoire, but don’t expect every plant to turn out perfectly first time. The potential benefits of gardening: improving you and your family’s health, knowing where your food comes from and that it’s all organic, shrinking your carbon footprint and of course, saving a load on your supermarket bills, are all worth the occasional frustrations. Bear with it, and you’ll be sure to see results.

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