Growing your own garden has many benefits. The cost of fruits and vegetables that we buy in the store is significant; especially when we choose to buy organic food. Being aware of pesticides that are used for growing picture perfect vegetables that we can buy in stores influenced my decision to start growing them in my own garden.
Starting your own garden brings some initial costs of course. You have to prepare the ground or build some boxes. That takes a little bit of time, dedication, and money. But at the end it will all pay off.
First, you have to decide how much vegetables you want to grow and also what kind. Then, you can start building boxes or preparing the ground that you have dedicated to use for your garden. I decided to build boxes and it was a really easy thing to do. All you need is, buy some wood cut of the right length, or ask at the warehouse to cut the length that you need. Now you need some screws and simple tools, like a drill and a screwdriver. Even if you never used the drill before, don't be afraid of it, because it is really easy. And now just build the box. Make sure you put the landscape fabric on the bottom of the box to prevent weeds from growing.
Buying soil that will work the best for your plants is the next step. The gardening store will be happy to advise you which soil is the best for the plants that you would like to grow. Put the soil in the boxes and you are ready for seeds and plants.
Growing vegetables from seeds is cheaper than buying plants. Of course in some cases you have no other option but buying plants (strawberries), but if you want to keep the cost down buy seeds if you can.
To benefit from your garden as much as possible, you might consider companion planting. Some plants grow together well and some don't. Make sure you do a research about the plants that you would like to grow. For example: I have decided to grow strawberries and onions together, because they are good companion plants. But I also planted thyme around strawberries, because they repel worms that are attacking strawberries. Thyme; therefore, keeps my strawberries safe. I also randomly seeded tarragon all over my garden because it's very good for other plants, it's actually called a nurse plant, because it promotes the growth of everything that grows in your garden. Good companions are also basil and tomatoes, or peppers and oregano. A good research on companion planting will give you better results and fewer pests in your garden.
If you want to enjoy fruits of your labour soon after your planting, make sure you plant also some leafy vegetables in your garden. They grow really quickly, and while you wait for other plants to mature enough to harvest, you can already enjoy in eating salads or making delicious meals with plants that grow quickly. For example arugula grows really fast. You can start harvesting already two to three weeks after planting the seeds. Chards take a little bit longer, but still grow pretty fast, the same is with spinach and all kinds of salads.
Root vegetables will take longer to mature. That's why make sure that you plant variety, so there is always something in your garden you can use for your cooking.
It's a very special feeling when you can use your own vegetables. Not only because you don't have to pay for them, but also because this is the fruit of your labour and you know it's free of any pesticides. You know what you eat!
And now let's think about the cost. Did you ever buy arugula in the store? The box or organic arugula is about 4 - 5 dollars and it's not a very big box. Growing your own arugula for free (other than the seed cost), keeps your money safely in your pocket. And when buying vegetables you always risk that you might not eat it all in time and you will end up throwing it away eventually. Having it in your garden gives you a privilege to only harvest as much as you need at the moment.
When cooking I enjoy the luxury of just stepping outside, to my garden and take whatever I need at the moment: a few leaves of parsley that I need to add to my soup, or some arugula for healthy salad. The rest just keeps growing until the next time when I want to use it.
Less cost, no waste, organic, and most importantly, delicious!