This year save money growing vegetables on your homestead. Be smart when planning, planting and harvesting from your vegetable garden with our ten tips.
Save money when vegetable gardening this year with these easy ways to plant smarter. Planting a vegetable garden is often our first hand experience of feeling like a real homesteader. Do you have a large garden plot, raised beds, or container planting? Even if you are planting a vegetable garden for the first time, these tips will help you save money and make a profit from your homestead garden.
Here on the ranch, we have a large fenced in garden plot and use the lasagne method to keep our soil rich. By the end of the summer, our vegetable garden is over grown and our days are filled with harvesting, eating, selling and preserving our crops. Then we put the garden to bed for the winter. Here are some of the things we’ve learned to save money on our vegetable garden, I hope you find inspiration as you plan your vegetable garden this year.
Ways to save money on seeds
- Plant from seed– Seeds are a fraction of the cost as seedlings. Some vegetables plants that grow easy from seed are those you can just throw into the soil and get a return without having to transplant and “baby.” I often have the most success with peas, lettuces, squash varieties, carrots, beets and corn. Plants like tomatoes, onions and peppers I find do better from seedlings.
Buy seeds in the fall or winter– This winter I snagged heirloom seeds for 75% off in December. The nursery said they had to sell them so cheap because the rate on germination goes down from year to year. BUT still its cheaper to buy a package of seeds for the same cost as one plant and have the possibility of 10+ plants grow
Determine what to grow and how much. We’ve found that growing vegetables that grow easily and quickly is your best bet to save money. Look at how much they are at the grocery store and determine if it’s worth the effort to grow. Think about what you’re family currently eats a lot of that you could take off the grocery list by planting at home. Look up fun alternatives as well to add more variety to your plate- think purple carrots!
Start your seeds indoors as seedlings and sell the extras. Often I’ve noticed in the spring a lot of people starting seeds indoors and selling the plants online or hosting their own plant sale in peak growing season. With the profit you’d make on your extra plants that you won’t need for your family you’ve more than made back your seed cost. Read here my how to guide for hosting a plant sale.
Use recycled materials for seed trays such as egg cartons, yogurt containers instead of all the expensive gimmicks you purchase from your local garden store. I’ve found I’ve spent way to much on seed trays, those soil pucks. Also starting seeds in a larger pot then spreading them out into smaller pots once they’ve germinated can be one way of using less plastic to start seeds.
Ways to save money on your vegetables
- Sell your excess vegetables. During peak season try selling your excess vegetables online through facebook online garage sale groups. Consider selling them as garden boxes. I used to buy a garden box of yummy seasonal vegetables and fruit for $20. Far less and better quality than I would have gotten at the grocery store. Plus they also delivered.
- Preserve your bounty. When planning your garden, think about what you’d like to preserve for the winter, will you be making jams and jellies? canning a variety of pickles or preserves such as chutney. I love making windfall chutney in September, it’s a must to add to our roasted chicken we have once a week for free in the winter.
- Consider a winter garden. Just because the weather turns doesn’t mean you can’t extend the growing season, plant a fall crop of spinach, carrots, beets and more. Why not build a cold frame and enjoy salad greens in the middle of the winter?
- Sell your excess preserves. Do you have a favourite preserve that friends and family rave over? Class it up with labels and a cute fabric topping to give as gifts over the holidays or sell at holiday fairs. Post online using Facebook groups to sell your excess.
- Save on feed. Plan a garden of excess for your animals. Our cows and chickens love Swiss chard and pumpkins along with other vegetable scraps from the garden. In fact, when the harvest is over and we are just about to put the garden to bed for the winter, we open up the chicken coop run into the garden for the chickens to enjoy what’s left.
- Use the lasagne garden method for easily starting a larger veggie garden plot using compost and manure.
Plus a Bonus Tip!
- Purchase heirloom seeds to ensure that you can save seeds at the end of the growing season so you don’t need to purchase as many seeds again. Buy them in bulk and packages to really save, why not buy a couple years worth?
Either way you’ll end up spending less and most likely having excess vegetables than if you were to purchase your veggies from the grocery store all summer long.
Good luck and and have fun eating more veggies- for free!