Money doesn’t grow on trees, but you can save a lot of it by growing your own vegetables. However this is only one of the great reasons to pop some veggie seeds or seedlings in the dirt this spring. So here are my five favourite reasons to grow your own vegetables this season;
1. The price is right
We usually buy our vegetables from local green grocers or roadside veggie stalls in a neighbouring town, so last weekends visit to the supermarket was an eye opener. The most significant reason to grow your own produce is the price.
Take capsicums (bell peppers) for example. For three capsicums in the supermarket, it costs A$7.99, which was extortionate. I can buy a packet of capsicum seeds for A$2.95 or a punnet of seedlings for $2.50 and grow in excess of 10-20 kg of green, yellow or red capsicums. That is just one of the amazing savings.
Plant a couple of zucchinis and you will soon know what I mean!
2. You decide what goes on your food
Another reason for growing your own is that you can control what goes into your food. You can either be very strict in keeping your produce organic, or use limited amounts of fertilizer and pest control that you approve of.
I personally only grow with organic methods, but the choice is yours. Best of all, the security of knowing how and what is used in the process can be reason enough to grow your own.
3. Freshness and Taste
We’ve all run into the problem of reaching into our fridge’s crisper drawers and finding limp or bruised vegetables only fit for the chooks. You won’t have that problem when you can pick them straight from the source and put them in your evening meal on the same day.
Vegetables found in the supermarket are typically picked half ripe so that they can be transported long distances, which has a detrimental effect on its flavour.
4. A Cornucopia Of Cultivars
Given the choice between a few types of tasteless tomatoes in the supermarket, you will probably be surprised at the variety of different cultivars that are available.
From massive Mortgage Lifter beefsteaks to stripy Tigerella, to the tiniest cherry tomato, no two are alike in size or flavour and there are literally hundreds to choose from. And that is just tomatoes.
The vast choice of variety among veggies like beans, lettuce, chillies, potatoes, pumpkins, corn, or even onions are just simply amazing. Just try and grow one variety, I dare you!
5. Fresh Herbs are simply amazing
If you only begin with herbs, which I consider to be “the gateway plant to gardening”, you will not be disappointed. Easy to grow from seed or ready bought, herbs will flavour your cooking like never before. Rosemary, thyme, parsley, sage, and basil are great choices for the beginner.
Fresh herbs are great in any dish and leave dried herbs for dead.
So if I have convinced you, why not pop down the library and pick up a few edible gardening books? It is a great place to start to learn how to grow your own. However, remember to only plant the vegetables that you use frequently. You don’t want to bite off more than you can chew at the start. Most of all, start small, and increase your growing space as you gain confidence.
All I can say is give it a go. What have you got to lose? You will save a small fortune in the process, especially with the climbing prices of fresh food.
Do you think growing your own saves you money? If you are a novice, are you up for the challenge of producing your own veggies?