Saving money via veggie garden?


#1

Well I am looking into ways to “save” money…
Things are okay now, but our finances will be changing. So I’m looking ahead.
A money saving tip that was offered to me, yesterday, is plant a garden.

Yesterday, I was talking to Mom and she said that I should just plant a garden.
She said that seeds are cheep and she pointed out that we have more enough room to plant a large garden and just canned the veggies in the fall. (That was one of the draws to this house when we bought a few years back…I could just have a garden, grow our own veggies, canned etc and the kids will still have more then enough room to play)

So what has kept me from doing it?

  1. I don’t know where or how to start… Mom just makes it sound like a plant a seed, pull the weeds, water as needed and boom instant veggies. (Is it really the simple?) (How do I know what is a weed and what is a plant??)

  2. How much space does each veggie need to crow? The only plants that I’ve ever planted were tomato plants. So I NO questions there… But, what about green beans, strawberries, lettuce, cucumbers and carrots? That is what I think I would like to start with because these are things that I KNOW my family will eat.
    Yes it’s true I can go large and canned the overstock, but I don’t even know how to canned foods! I’m also unsure if I want a “large” garden my first year. I know it is going to be “work” and I’m unsure how much “work” I really want to do. That’s why I’m hoping to go “small” at least this first year. However, carrots, green beans, cucumber, lettuce, strawberries, and tomatoes don’t sound all that small!! (Is it too late in the year to start a garden now??)

We are a family of 4. So I’m looking to plant enough to “feed” us “without” too much overstock. At least for this first year!! I think that after I get one or 2 years under my belt I could and would do a little bit more. I think if things go well in future years I’ll be looking to canned the overstock. However not this year!

I know from past experience with tomatoes 3-4 plants will be more then enough for my family. However what about the other plants I mention??

Any advice or web links will be helpful!
Thanks and God Bless.


#2

The work’s not too labor intensive, except for the intial ground prep/planting/etc. If you’re not planning on raised beds, just select the area, till it up, pull out weeds, grass, etc, and add in some organic stuff or fertilizer. I’m starting a garden this year, and that’s all I did. We planted March 15, and are should have some stuff ready to pick in a few more weeks (except the radishes, which go fast)

Depending on where you are it’s not too late to start now, but if you’re in the south you better get going quick. You shuld be able to find a last frost date for your area, many plants won’t do well before that date.

As to how much space you’ll need, it all depends on the plants–if you’re growing from seed, the package will have instructions. Plant a lot of seeds (not all will come up) and thin them to the desired spacing. Certain plants will require lots of space, if you do zuchinni, squash, or watermelon, the’re vines that go everywhere (but they’re pretty easy to grow, and produce quite well)


#3

I gardened for years to help feed our family of six. It is much easier than it sounds and is healthy emotionally.
On each seed pack it will tell you how much room you need to give for each plant. Make sure to prepare your garden’s earth first by roto-tilling it or such like. Add some manure and till it so the soil will be well ready for growing plants. Don’t make my mistake and plant zucchini…they never stop and you will turn your kids off zucchini for life.
As for canning, it is not too hard to do and easy to store foods, but also realize you can freeze ziplock bags of veggies which is even easier, esp. if you have a deep-freeze which is a must for any cost-conscious family.
I have lost more advice about various vegetables but I’m not sure which ones you want to grow…? Tomatoes are great fresh but you might want more than just a few plants so you can cook up tomato sauce (very easy) and freeze it for future use in ziplock bags.


#4

Okay right now we don’t have a big freezer… (I’m not even sure where we would put it if we had one)

We’ve got a 950 square foot ranch home… NO basement; 3 beds; one bath… A big freezer would have to go in our one car garage.

(That is in need a major clean out…seeing we can’t park a car in the garage :p) (That’s a different thread all together)

That is fine…but then I’m not so sure if in the dead of winter I would want to go out in 4 feet of snow or 40 below weather just to get some food out of the freezer. (The garage is not attached :()

Although, I would if I had too…

That’s why right now I’m looking more at canning… just because I do have a large pantry in my kitchen that I can use for storing cans.

Okay so starting doesn’t sound too bad, and if I just read the back of the labels on the seed packs then I should be able to figure out how much space.

So that just leaves one question…
How do I know if it’s a plant or a weed?


#5

I found my states climatologist web-page. According to it the last frost for my area is the end of April… (April 28th is what is on the map).


#6

If you do a “traditional” garden layout, just plant the seeds in a row and mark where you planted them. If you see a row of similar-looking plants come up, all at about the same time, those are the veggies. Other stuff–weeds. Once the plants are up and established you’ll know what they look like

And remember, a few random weeds here and there won’t hurt you–just as long as they don’t take over and choke out the plants you want.


#7

:thumbsup: Thanks!


#8

Looks like you’ll be good to go soon! That’s the average last frost date, I’d wait another week or so, then check the 10-day forecast and make sure there are no cold snaps predicted, and you should be ok. Also, when you buy seed packets, they’ll have little maps on them that suggest when they should be planted.

I say that with a grain of salt–we had a real late cold snap here (over Easter weekend), it didn’t freeze, but got really close!


#9

You may find the kids enjoy watching the garden grow also.

One hint about the weeds vs the veggie sprouts. If you plant in rows, you’ll be able to tell what is a veggie shoot vs the weed. You’ll just know.

Have fun.


#10

You’re getting good advice from everyone. Another thing you’ll want to do is label your rows (either on graph paper or at the end of the row…grpah paper is better because you can keep it in the house and it won’t get wet.)
You’ll know where the weeds are because they’ll be growing outside your prefectly-lined rows of veggies…right? :wink: After your plants come up, you’ll know what a weed is because it won’t look like the other plants. Make sure and hoe between your rows and lay down some mulch or such like so you can easily walk between the rows on the mulch. It is also a good idea to mulch around each plant as it comes up.
I;m excited for you! Growing a garden with children is wonderful, they really enjoy watching the plants grow and helping harvest.
As far as the canning, you can figure that out a little later. I’ll be around to help if you need advice. :smiley:


#11

I have an asparagus patch and I go out to the patch daily in the spring and hover over the sprouts and look at them adoringly. It can be addictive.

Heaven help any animal that thinks my sprouts look yummy!


#12

:rotfl: :rotfl:


#13

I stumbled upon a book called http://www.amazon.com/All-New-Square-Foot-Gardening/dp/1591862027/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/104-6559111-4823946?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1177696129&sr=8-1 and am going to give it a go this year. Basically instead of planting in rows one plants in “squares”. I found it in my local library.


#14

I’ve been itching to start a little garden myself… but we have LOTS of wild animals in our area…
Raccoons, armadillos, black bears, turkeys, peacocks, turtles, etc, etc, etc…
And no fence allowed in our yard (we live in an “environmental” neighborhood so animals can have free reign)…

Anyway… any ideas on keeping the critters away? I’d hate to invest effort into something that we’d loose all “fruits of our labor”…


#15

I came across a web-page that talked about this book and method of gardening when I was search for the last frost date.

This is the web-site I found: allaboutsquarefootgardening.com/

I didn’t use the web-site for the last frost date. I did end up finding my state’s climatologist web-page.:smiley:

However seeing you mention the book I thought you might like the web-site too.

God Bless


#16

My dad was a big gardener. We had a plot right behind the garage. The area was the size of a 2 car garage. We grew everything in it. Tomatoes, dill, lettuce, eggplant, zucchini, radishes, onions, green beans, brussel sprouts, potatoes, carrots, peas, and much more. It was big enough to sustain a family of 7, and canning and freezing. Every year dad would sit down with his graph paper and plot out what was going where. He did 4’x6’ plots with about a foot in between to walk in. altogether I think there were about 20 plots or so. Everyday us kids spent about an hour weeding and watering. In the summer the best part was the, “mom I’m hungry” thing… all you have to say is go pick yourself a salad or something to eat!

Oh I miss those days!!!


#17

Not even a “rabbit fence” around the garden?? :shrug:

I live in a “city” and we’ve got bobcats, deer, rabbits, feral cats, turkeys,Racoons, possum, and wolves in our neighborhood!!

(Not to mention the birds) (I’ve never seen the bobcats or wolves… but neighbors have). The deer normaly don’t come all the way up towards my house. We have a forest preserve near our home.

They stay closer to the preserve and very rarely come all the way up to my home.

I plan on putting up a “rabbit fence” around the garden to keep the wild animals and the family dog out of the garden.

I like your question though what do you do when you can’t put up a fence?

Also will a “rabbit fence” be enough to help keep the animals out?


#18

I hear these things work wonders. It would certainly work on the raccoons, turkeys, peacocks and possibly armadillos, but I’m not sure if it would deter black bears and probably wouldn’t even make the turtles budge! :slight_smile:
smarthome.com/6120.html

Isn’t it kinda freaky having black bears roam your lawn at night? That would totally creep me out, especially with kids.


#19

OP - thanks for starting this thread and giving me ideas!

I’m gonna talk to dh about a garden tonight - we are constantly running back to the store for produce, both for ourselves and for one very hungry rabbit :slight_smile: . Wonder if I could get an apple tree as well?


#20

This is a great thread! I can’t wait to start our garden when we finally have the space for it. I think I’ll love taking care of it.


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