Can a Garden Save You Money?

We understand that grocery bills can be expensive, especially if you’re someone who loves fresh produce. That’s why we encourage people to consider gardening as a way to save money. If you tend to buy a lot of produce, gardening could be a great option for you. Here are some tips to get started with cost-effective gardening.

Getting Started with Cost-Effective Gardening

At NearSource Organics, we believe that just like in real estate, the key to making a profit from your vegetable garden is by keeping initial costs down. If you’re new to gardening and don’t have an established plot, it’s easy to get carried away with purchasing expensive pre-made kits or tools like rototillers. However, this can quickly erase any financial benefits of gardening in the short term.

To avoid this, we recommend keeping things simple and using recycled materials like old untreated wooden fence posts or used bricks to make your own raised beds. If you have a small plot in your yard, it can be prepped by hand using a spade in just a few evenings after work. By keeping initial costs down, you’ll be able to see a quicker return on investment.

The Soil

Healthy soil is the difference between slow and fast growth, sparse or fruitful, diseased or healthy. Experienced gardeners know their success is tied directly to the quality and health of their soil. 

If you buy bagged soil, choose high-quality organic soil. Work in some compost. Stay away from chemicals. Keep your soil armored with a covering of natural mulch. 

Plant Transplants or Seeds?

Don’t be ashamed to buy plant transplants. They’re more expensive per plant than seeds but will immensely increase your likelihood of success. 

Remember, it doesn’t matter how much cheaper the seeds are if your seedlings don’t make it. 

Other Quick Pointers for Cost-Effective Gardening

  • Water in the morning, not in the evening. 
  • Learn how to properly harvest each plant.
  • Keep notes about what worked.
  • Learn succession planting.

Foods Cheaper to Grow than Buy

No “Best vegetables to grow and save money” list will be right for everyone. If you don’t like eating lettuce, you won’t save any money planting it. To work for you, it has to be adjusted to your likes. Here are a few ideas to get you started brainstorming.


Tomatoes are always a favorite of gardeners for good reason. They’re used in a variety of dishes, which means they are more likely to make a dent in your food bill. 

Most recipes and sauces are better made with paste tomatoes, like Roma or San Marzano. They cook down easier and have more “meat” and less juice. 

Fresh Herbs

Money-saving herbs include rosemary, thyme, mint, basil, oregano, sage, chives, and parsley.  Fresh herbs purchased at the store can put a dent in your wallet, but if you cook with fresh herbs, growing your own is a money-saver! Harvest any excess and dry it for use all winter.

Transplants are usually the best when it comes to growing your own herbs. Plus, for gardeners with limited space, growing herbs is the best chance to save a few bucks.

Summer Squashes

Summer squashes include zucchini, patty pans, yellow squashes, and the like. They’re prolific producers and make robust plants that will boost your gardening confidence.

Winter Squash

If you’ve got the space, many pounds of food can be grown. Here’s one where the packet of seeds will do just fine. Squashes like to be direct seeded. If you like winter squash, you can really save a few bucks. Plus, you have the summer to read up on how to store them!

Lettuce, Cucumbers, and Other Salad Fixings

Growing lettuces, spinach, radishes, and cucumbers can be money in the bank if you love a good salad. Lettuces will bolt in warm weather, so try two crops — one in spring and another in fall. Succession planting can extend your harvest. 

What About Potatoes?

Potatoes are great to grow, but they require some storage space. If you typically toss down money for new potatoes, baby reds, or other gourmet spuds, growing them could make good financial sense.

Important Things to Remember

  • Spend money on improving your soil each year — maybe not as much on gadgets.
  • Combine seeds and transplants to maximize success.
  • Learn succession planting.
  • Plan on how you will store the produce before the harvest.
  • Grow what you eat, not what some “Top 10 Best” list tells you to.
  • Minimize startup costs.


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