One reason why a lot of preppers get into gardening is because they believe that growing their own vegetables will not only be a healthier option than buying produce from the grocery store, but that growing their own will also save them loads of money. (There’s also the not-so-small matter of knowing how to actually produce food on your own if the SHTF)
The truth is that only some plants can save you money compared to grocery store prices; others can actually be much more expensive to grow at home. While you can save a ton of money growing some vegetables and plants, the truth is that while it may be a much healthier option, when you factor in the time and all the costs of running a garden, some plants actually cost much more to grow at home than they would be to buy at the grocery store.
Potatoes, carrots, onions; all these plants require a lot of work to grow from start to finish. In the end, that time that isn’t going to be repaid with the cost-savings from the grocery store. That being said, there are 3 plants in particular that can be potential money-saving gardening goldmines!
Salad greens are RIDICULOUSLY over-priced at the grocery store. A common ¼ bag of mixed salad greens can cost upwards of $7-$8 if you’re shopping for an organic mix or $3-$4 for your common Dole brand (would you like some pesticides with that?) salad mix…and that’s MAYBE enough greens for a 2-3 big salads at most.
If you’re going to garden and you eat salad greens, grow them yourself. In a 2 square foot space you could easily grow enough salad greens to last over 60 days PER GROWING SEASON. Since you can grow salad greens both in the spring and the fall, you could easily be producing over $150 of salad greens every year for the price of a handful of seeds.
PRO GARDENING TIP – When growing salad greens, stagger your planting times to put down seed once every week for a month, this will keep you from growing too many greens at once and will help you extend your harvest so that you don’t waste any of your production.
Heirloom tomatoes – Store-bought, commercial tomatoes suck. They taste like nothing. If you want a truly tasty tomato, you’re likely to spend $3-$4 a pint for some really nice heirloom cherry tomatoes at the grocery store.
Great tasting tomatoes are easy to grow and have a high yield. For a couple bucks (or for FREE if you check out our sponsor Whiteside Seed) you could easily produce 20-30 pints of the most tasty cherry tomatoes you’ve ever had. That’s a grocery store savings of about $70 per season.
PRO GARDENING TIP – If you’re going to be growing tomatoes anyway, you’ll likely have to use some sort of trellis to grow the tomato vines. You might as well plant something like a legume (beans) or even a culinary herb like basil at the same time right next to your tomatoes it to let the companion plant use the same trellis. This will save you time, space and will increase the total savings you’re getting from each square foot of your garden.
If you’ve ever bough rosemary or basil from the grocery store you know how much of a racket the store-bought herbs are. Those prices are RIDICULOUS!
Herbs are a great addition to your garden. Not only can they help bring your cooking to a whole new level, but medicinal herbs can be used to replace numerous over-the-counter medications.
Honestly, it doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, there should really never be any reason for you to spend $4-$5 for a small bunch of Basil or Thyme. Even if you never plan on starting a conventional garden, if you use culinary or medicinal herbs you should be growing your own. It’s far too easy not to. Empty out a cup, fill it with dirt, add your seeds and stick it in a window sill. They practically take care of themselves.
Growing great tasting food from your garden is something every prepper should know how to do, even if they don’t really want to. We don’t know what the future holds, or if our modern (and fragile) grocery store food system will be around forever. IT only makes sense to at least know the fundamentals of gardening.
However, gardening can also be away to save a lot of money on the same produce you buy every week. Just be sure you’re growing the right plants in order to maximize your gardening profits.
PRO GARDENING TIP – When growing culinary herbs, cut off any flowers that may start to appear on your plants. Not only will this help with keeping the plants at a manageable size, but the herbs themselves will be more potent if their harvested before the plant flowers.
Thanks for reading today everyone!
Until next time, stay safe out there.