Although I’ve done no scientific study to prove it, I feel sure that gardening saves money. With garden foods on-hand year-round, I’m not making numerous trips to the grocery store, saving on groceries, gas and time. I am spending hours outside during the gardening season, a great thing for a writer who so often is seated in front of the computer to meet deadlines. Besides the exercise and fresh air, it’s also good for my soul to spend time with the worms and butterflies as I dig in the garden.
Novice gardeners do need to be aware, however, that there are costs involved in gardening. Here are a few costs to keep in mind as you plan this year’s garden.
Garden seed—saving some of your own seeds, which you can then swap with seed-saving friends, means you’ll need to buy fewer seeds.
Raising seedlings—growing some of your own plant starts instead of buying them can be fun and money-saving. On Sunday I started my plants for this spring by planting celery seeds in 12 small pots. You can plant seeds in old plastic pots you’ve washed out, or homemade newspaper pots. Check out this video for how to make them.
Potting soil—be sure you buy potting soil. Years ago as a novice gardener I tried using soil from my garden without realizing I would sprout weeds, also, and might not be able to tell the difference between the weed and the plant! Potting soil is worth the investment.
Fertilizer—Because I grow organically, I typically use fish or seaweed fertilizer. I also have helpers like blood meal, bone meal and kelp meal on-hand for nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium soil amendments. Organic Gardening magazine is a great source for information about soil deficiency problems and other gardening questions.
Some years I use all the seeds, soil and fertilizers I buy; other years I have some left over for the next year.
Each year, I seem to get a little bit smarter about gardening and spend less. That makes me feel smart and healthy, not a bad combination.