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Eat Healthier For Less: A Guide To Growing Your Own Food

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Learn how to grow your own food without breaking the bank.

Millennials are best known for our extreme lack of financial management and poor food choices since we’re always on the move. But one thing is for sure, we’ve been doing our research on our food and things haven’t been the best, for our health at least.

Recently I’ve started my own garden in Atlanta, Georgia. I grow vegetables like green beans, tomatoes, radishes and just things I enjoy on a regular basis that I typically buy from the grocery store. Now if you know anything about Atlanta, it has its suburbs and city areas but even the suburbs seem too “city-like”. So starting this garden seemed impossible to say the least but I did some research about how to start this garden with literally $20 or less…I’m just rounding. Here are some tips I’ve found that hopefully, you could use to grow your own fruits and veggies in your home or even fire escape.

Seeds

Obviously, seeds are the first thing you’ll need for your garden because, well, that’s the food. Most seeds you can find at your local Home Depot or even flower shop for only $0.49-$2.99 depending on which seeds you get.

Money saving tip

Buy seeds that you know you’ll eat the most and the seeds of the food/herbs that often cost a lot such as: tomatoes, squash, beans, garlic, basil, onions, and all green vegetables. Another tip is to grow food that can be stored in the freezer until you’re ready to eat them.

Equipment

For city dwellers or people who live in the suburbs with little room to garden, the best piece of equipment to start your garden will be containers! Since most areas don’t have large spaces of grass and soil, using containers and baskets are the next best way to grow plants. Soil usually runs about $2-$6 depending on the type of soil you use. Typically five-gallon containers are best for foods that need a lot of root room. Using these are also easy to transport from inside the house, outside the house, or anywhere else you decide to go. They usually cost $3 at Home Depot.

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Money saving tip:

Ask your local farmers market or flower shop if they have any buckets they’re willing to give you for free. Some places often throw them away and would be more than willing to get them off their hands to you.

Hanging baskets are the best way to save space, especially for city dwellers. They’re as low as $7 at Home Depot. They’re easy to rotate and don’t require much attention once they’re put up, especially once it rains.

Money saving tip:

A lot of plants grow well with other plants. So being able to use one container for multiple plants, helps with amount of containers or baskets you’ll need which could save you $3-$7.

One tip to always remember: do your research! See which plants grow during certain seasons. This coil help with how often you’re planting as well. If you’re growing cool season vegetables such as carrots, cauliflower, beets, and lettuce, you should be planting these seeds during early spring and harvested by mid-summer then once they’re full grown, you can store them for an amount of time. Same with warm-season vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, squash, eggplants, etc should be planted after the danger of frost has passed and harvested early fall.

Amount of money spent on your own garden vs two trips to the grocery store a month (the minimum most people do):

  • $12-$15 (multiple seeds, container/basket, soil)
  • $20-$151 (fruits, vegetables, and herbs/seasonings)

Hopefully, these tips help with your pocketbook and your health! Growing your own food is the best way to assure no harmful chemicals or pesticides are in your food.

Growing the essentials you need can also save you tons of money to purchase healthier food that you can’t grow such as free range chicken or grass-fed beef, or any snacks to stock your cabinets up!

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