Growing your own vegetables is a great way to have fresh produce available at any time — and also to save money. Sometimes, though, even growing your own food can get too pricey.
Here are six ways to make sure you’re getting the best value from your vegetable garden this year.
1. Save the seeds
Initially when you were planning your garden for the first year, you might have had to purchase all of the seeds. But once you have a season or two under your belt, you should start saving the seeds for the next season.
2. Find a seed swap
There likely are people in your community growing plants you aren’t currently growing – plants that you’d like to grow. And, of course, the vegetables you grow will have a ton of seeds in them — and you don’t need all of them. So share them around! If you can’t find a seed swap in your community, then put the word out there to start one; you might get more interest than you think.
3. Plan ahead/preserve
If you know what you want to grow ahead of time, it will be easier to ensure there’s little to no waste.
By planning what’s growing in your garden, you can prepare the space needed and know (approximately) how much will be growing. That way, you will be prepared to “put up” all of those vegetables without them going to waste.
4. Sell or trade extra produce
You might have extra produce due to a great growing season, or maybe you planned it that way. But either way, you need to do something with that extra food. With the extra produce you have, you could team up and trade with others to gain fresh, local produce you didn’t grow in your garden. You even could look into selling the extra vegetables at a local farmer’s market.
5. Make your own compost
Compost is an important part of successfully growing produce, but it can get expensive depending on the size of your garden and what you are growing. With this in mind, it makes sense to see if you can grow it yourself. All of the scraps and skins of other produce can go into a composting bin. Even if you don’t have a huge backyard or area to make compost, there are compost tumblers you can purchase.
6. Feed your plants scraps
One of the greatest sources of nutrients for your plants comes from your very own kitchen. For example, the leftover water from cooking and boiling vegetables is rich in nutrients. Most people will dump this right down the drain, but using it to water your plants is a great way to help them grow. Just make sure the water is completely cool before pouring it on your plants.