Last year, my wife and I planted our first garden ever. We really didn’t know too much about gardening and we kept it as simple as possible. We didn’t know if we were going to have any success with our vegetable garden and we didn’t want to invest too much money or time on something that wasn’t going to produce any fruit. (It seems like this is a good approach to any investment – test the waters before you jump in over your head). Much to our surprise, we harvested a lot of fruit and decided to do it again – only this year, we’re stepping it up 1 notch.
Highlights from Our Vegetable Garden Last Year
As I mentioned, we kept our vegetable garden quite simple last year. We bought 5 pots and starter plants for all of our vegetables. We decided to start our garden late in the year so we didn’t have time to start from seedlings. Also, because we are currently renting instead of owning our own house where we could dig up the yard and plant a garden, we are forced to use pots. We are lucky enough to have a landlord to allow us to put pots in the backyard, so we’re not putting up too much of a fuss.
Between the large pots, soil, starter plants, and support for various plants, we spend close to $100 last year on all of the supplies. It wasn’t the cheapest vegetable garden, but when we did our calculations, we still saved money from the food we would have bought at the grocery store. Plus, as I mentioned, we wanted to make sure that gardening was something that we were going to enjoy – so we would rather spend a few extra dollars if it meant keeping our time investment low. While that isn’t the best mentality to take with your finances, we looked at it as a hobby and could afford to spend a few dollars. After all, it’s better than spending some money only to get overwhelmed by all of necessary work and then never plant a garden ever again. As it turns out, we thoroughly enjoyed our growing our own food (to supplement our groceries) and we’re doing it again, this time we’re going more extreme.
My Vegetable Garden Plan: How to Start a Garden
Last year we bought most of the physical items that we need to continue with the same size garden. This year, we wanted to add another vegetable and this meant that we needed another pot or container to hold our movable garden. As it turns out, my neighbors were moving a couple weeks ago and one day when I returned home from work, I found this wood box sitting on the curb, free for the taking. You can also see some of our pots in the background, in case you are curious how big of pots we have for our garden.
If you haven’t already figured it out, this will work perfectly for a raised garden. In other words, it is an inexpensive large container for our new vegetable. Another new change is that we wanted to see how much money we could save by planting this year. We could (obviously) save more money if we made a really big garden, but we don’t want to go to the extreme (yet) – mostly because it isn’t our backyard and we don’t want to take up a huge portion of it, even if it is pots. So, the only logical solution was to minimize costs. Since we already have the pots and about half of the soil, we decided to grow our garden from seeds. This means a little more planning and significantly lower costs. Instead of spending a couple dollars per plant, we are spending about a dollar per package of seeds. Talk about a huge savings!
I am a huge fan of having a plan when it comes to my personal finances and since we are looking at how much we can save with our garden this year, I figured I would lay out our plan before things get really exciting. Like I mentioned, we have 4 big pots, 1 (newly acquired large box), and a medium size pot that we used last year for herbs (specifically basil and oregano). Our oregano survived the winter (somehow) and we are planting basil to go back into the same pot. We are planning on using the big box for peas and the other pots for tomatoes and cucumbers. If you are a visual person, I have prepared a graphic for you so that you can get a better understanding of our vegetable garden.
Have you planted a vegetable garden before? Did you make a plan?