Planting a garden is not just rewarding, it is also a money and time saver. With minimal effort, you will be giving two green thumbs up to the idea because your meals will taste better and your wallet will breathe easier.
Here’s how to get started.
- Take inventory of your space. You don’t need a big yard to have a garden. Do you have a patio or windowsill? Container gardening will work in small places. Start small with herbs — parsley, basil, rosemary and dill are my favorites. I love tossing the leaves into recipes like margherita pizza, rosemary roasted potatoes, and omelets with scallions.
- Choose your favorite veggies and spices to grow. Really, what good are green peppers if you don’t eat them? I am partial to tomatoes, especially for tomato and basil skewers. Lettuce, cucumbers and scallions are also high on my list for cucumber ham sandwiches and salads.
- Re-plant your food. A lot of what you toss in the trash after meals can be planted. Ginger, potatoes, garlic and onions are just a few of the many foods that can be re-planted. Once you cut the leaves from the bok choy, for example, the white base can be put in a bowl of water and placed on a sunny windowsill. In a very short time, you will see new sprouts emerge!
- Leave ample space in your garden for plants to grow. When I first started gardening, I wanted to plant everything I could find. I soon learned that you don’t want to crowd the plants. We all need a little elbow space, even plants.
- Check water and sunlight. Your plants will need a bit of both, so work a soil check into your daily routine.
- Compost your trash. Recycle your egg shells, banana peels, coffee grounds and more. A rich, organic compost creates valuable nutrients that can be used to fertilize your food garden. No need to pay for high priced garden fertilizer at the local gardening center!
Once you get your garden growing, you will find your savings growing, too. Vegetables and herbs from your garden cost a fraction of grocery store prices, and they look and taste fresh. Also, you will be engaging in a hobby that is relaxing and provides some free exercise. And it is a healthy activity for all ages — so include your kids, neighbors and Grandma, too.
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