How to Grow Your Garden to Save Money at the Supermarket
With the cost of food continuing to rise and many people still staying home due to COVID, there is more interest in ‘growing your own food’ than ever before. With warmer temperatures around the corner, now is a perfect time for people to plan and prepare to grow their veggie garden in a way that will help both their pocketbook and the planet.
First, make sure you’re growing greens instead of purchasing the expensive ones at the grocery store. Remember that leafy greens are considered “cool weather crops” and although there are certain varieties that can handle more heat, generally these should be grown in partial shade during the hot summer months. Be sure to select “Cut & Come Again” varieties, which can be harvested repeatedly as they grow back each time, versus head lettuce which is only harvest once at the end of its growth cycle.
Second, while we could certainly recommend growing veggies that are delicious straight off the vine, such as tomatoes and cucumbers, be sure to think beyond the peak fall harvest and figure out how you will preserve the abundance into the winter months. While canning and pickling are excellent options to achieve this aim, it can be challenging to find the time to complete these activities during the already busy fall harvest season. Instead, we recommend growing “storage crops” that - when properly cured - are happy to sit in a cool basement or in the fridge for months and months. At our farm we like to grow winter squash such as acorn and butternut, as well as yellow storage onions. Other crops that store well include potatoes and carrots. This provides access to home-grown produce during the winter when the cost of purchasing fresh, local food is highest.
Regenerative Practices & Products
Last, it’s important to use regenerative growing techniques and products over time. Not only will this save money on expensive chemical fertilizers up front, it will also save money over the long term as the quality of the soil will improve year over year, requiring fewer inputs and less legwork. Traditional fertilizers kill the biology in soil, however regenerative products boost the biology, allowing the biological ecosystem to grow, flourish and strengthen so that whatever is grown in that soil will produce healthy yields every year.