Saving Money: Growing Food

Hello, dear readers. I have to tell you, this week I am just e x h a u s t e d. I have no energy for deep reflection or social commentary, or like, whatever (see? even simple intelligent words are hard to come up with!).

So instead, you’re going to get another post in the series on saving money. Though I keep promising you a post on DIY shampoo, I’ll save that for another day when I am too tired to think straight 🙂 Today you’re getting DIY vegetables!

CF and I planted a fairly large garden last year, and we’ve bought the seeds to do the same this year. Here’s a picture of last year’s garden in all it’s glory!

That's CF and my helpful Mom working hard!

Towards the end of winter, we usually start some seedlings indoors. Last year we just did tomatoes. This year we have tomatoes and some brussel sprouts started. It’s always strange to me that something so small:

Aren't my tomato babies cute?

Grows into something so so big!

And that tomato ain't even full grown!

It’s also strange to me that not more people grow their own food. So many people have big lawns and it’s ALL GRASS–grass which does nothing for the ecosystem or native plants and animals…and nothing for their pocketbook but trouble! It’s expensive to keep your grass looking green.

However, even if you don’t have a big green lawn that you can dig up and turn into a garden, you can still grow you’re own food. Even if you live in an apartment! How? Containers!

Herbs are easier to grow in containers. But there are other things can also be grown indoors. Or outdoors on your deck…check out this contraption for growing your own tomatoes!

Anyway, as I’ve now experienced, it’s pretty simple to set up your tomato seedlings indoors…even in a mobile home…and for a relatively low cost.

Tomatoes at the store?: $1.99-$3.99/ lb
Package of organic tomato seeds: $2.75
Three grow lamps: $12 each
Borrowed old newspaper: FREE
Borrowed cardboard: FREE

The highest cost is the grow lamps, but you use them every year.  And those seeds each grow a WHOLE PLANT that reproduces tomatoes again and again.  The savings seems obvious to me.  Also, to set up little “pots” to plant our seeds, we just roll a folded over piece of newspaper around a can of soup to get the right shape, add a little tape, and voila!  Easy, biodegradable homemade starter pots 🙂

Here's our set up...we keep it in the warmest room of the mobile home.

Newspaper makes great little pots.

Ok, I’m beginning to think that my brain is moving so slowly that I’m not actually making sense tonight…so I’ll just say, growing your own vegetables is awesome.  It’s a fun activity that gets you more connected to your food, it’s fulfilling and healthful, AND it’s great on your wallet.  Who could ask for anything more?

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About Cathy G Gilbert

I am veggie-loving, community college professor who lives, teaches, and writes in Central IL.
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One Response to Saving Money: Growing Food

  1. Paula says:

    Hey Cathy — your veggie growing set-up, especially with the newspaper!! — very clever. Thanks for the inspiration. It’s been a long time since we started things like that from seed — but maybe I’ll try again next year.

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