This post is part of my series, 52 ways to save money on a healthy diet.
I have decided that I definitely have a black thumb. I have a hard time keeping houseplants alive, and many of my attempts to grow my own food have been failures. Whenever I mention that I want to try to garden again, my husband looks a little bemused. I think that it says a lot for my husband’s patience that he gamely helped me build garden beds this year for yet another attempt.
Why I am trying again? Three reasons. I like fresh food, food costs are rising, and I think that gardening connects you to your food in a unique and healthy way. But lest you think that I am exaggerating about my gardening failures let me walk you through what has happened thus far in my gardening attempts.
I was trying to garden on my parents two acres (which sounds ideal, right?). I spent hours combing over gardening books, plotting out my garden beds, buying seeds, weeding and preparing the beds. It was a lot of work.
I was thrilled when my seeds started sprouting into little green hopes of future produce, and then it happened.
The rabbits discovered my garden. And boy, do my parents have a lot of wild rabbits on their property! I think it took a short two days to demolish everything I had grown. I was so heartbroken that I didn’t attempt to plant anything else that year.
The next year I had great success with my tomatoes, but slugs destroyed my zucchini and cucumber plants despite the 15 slug traps I put out, and the carefully sprinkled eggshells around each plant.
Let’s just say my gardening attempts in the past have met with a lot of disappointment and just a little success.
We no longer rent from my parents, but now live in the city with a shared backyard with our neighbors. After my husband built me my garden beds, the girls and I had a lot of fun sowing our seeds. We are starting to see green leaves reaching for the sun as they break through the ground. We will see if I have any more success this year or not (can you hear the cynicism in my voice?)
But I am hopeful that while perhaps this year I will have a steep learning curve, that eventually this will help us eat better for less. My friends who have had better success with their gardens assure me that this will be the case.
The tomatoes that I have grown for myself have demonstrated how amazingly delicious homegrown produce is. Studies have often found that nutrient levels are often highest when produce is the freshest, and it doesn’t get fresher than when you picked it out of your backyard!
Plus, food costs are rising. As my girls grow older, my food costs are naturally rising too! While I don’t know how successful I will be this year with my gardening, I do know that the better I become at producing food in my yard, the more I can save.
At the very least, gardening is an important connection to our food that we just don’t get anymore. We are so separated from the everyday miracle of growing crops, that we can take our food for granted. It has been pretty fun to see my girls delight in our garden already too.
So, I am not a great example of how to save money gardening, but I hope to one day be one.
And, speaking of gardening, ditch Roundup. A recent scientific paper linked it to a variety of diseases and autism. I write about it here.
I’d love to hear from you! Have you gardened with success? Has it saved your money?