Cut Your Grocery Bill While Eating Healthy
Jobs are being lost, the cost of just about everything is rising and it is hard just finding enough money to pay rent while still managing to eat healthy. It is easy to pick up a quick bite to eat that is fairly affordable, but these meals are usually loaded with sodium, fat, bad carbohydrates, empty calories and over-processed ingredients. You will pay for the cheaper price later when years of eating these foods take its toll on your body. Why not do something about it now and grow your own food?
Gardening may seem expensive at first. Go into any garden center or nursery and the prices of some things are outrageous. Expensive is definitely not the only route to go as there are many ways around spending so much money. Potting soil and seeds are the two biggest expenses, it is important that both of these are of a great quality. This does not mean you need to buy the five dollar packet of seeds; the two dollar packet will do the same thing.
The containers used to grow the plants only need to be the correct size, usually one to five gallons, and have a draining hole. It is easy to find great deals at a thrift store or on craigslist, just be sure to wash out any containers that have already been used as they could be carrying diseases from former occupants.
While starting up your container garden could cost anywhere from $10 to $50, remember that the average cost of a fast food meal is around $6. The $10 to $50 investment will yield so many fruits and vegetables you will either have to give them away or can them for the winter months. It will considerably cut down your grocery bill, leaving money for other important things.
One of the biggest hindrances people have when growing their own food is space. Many live in apartments or have no yard and therefore, no room for plants. Luckily, these problems have been addressed and there are now plants in dwarf or smaller varieties that still put out the amount of fruits and vegetables as their full-sized counterparts.
Dwarf Sunspot Sunflowers are excellent sources of protein and produce delicious seeds. They top out at two feet and are much easier to cover from birds than fifteen foot flowers. Cucumbers come in bushier varieties that tend to grow more upwards than outwards like typical cucumber plants; the same is true for zucchinis. Tomatoes are excellent for container growing because they are plants that will grow as big as you allow them to. Just make sure the tomato plants have a cage around them, which can be picked up for pretty cheap at any garden center. Lettuces and spinaches can be grown in containers as well and produce great amounts throughout early spring and late summer depending on the varieties you choose to grow.
It is still important to have a balance of foods planted and growing your own food is the perfect way to try something new. Many times, homegrown fruits and vegetables will taste better than store bought varieties. I personally love strawberries straight out of the garden, store bought varieties do not even compare!
When growing a container garden, remember to put the containers in an area that will receive the most amount of sun or are under a plant light and make sure the plants are watered frequently enough they do not dry out, but not so often that they become waterlogged and rot. Gardening is an excellent outlet for enjoying nature and growing your own food. It is not impossible and is something that if you do not succeed at first, keep trying until you do. The reward is well worth it.