Vegetables, all cut up by Martin for snacks at the BBQ in Charlottetown, PEI, Canada – Image Courtesy: Martin Cathrae
It is clear that there are lots of benefits to growing your own veggies. You can save money, because buying seeds and compost costs a lot less than the resulting volume of crops would cost at the store. You can eat more healthily, because you have fresh produce every day that you know exactly what it has been fed on and treated with, and you have usually got some extra stuff left over after feeding your family that you can share with friends.
There are, however, some expenses associated with getting started, and this can be off-putting to some would-be gardeners. Here are some ways to save on setting up your food garden:
Pots and Tools
Some of the most basic things you’ll need are pots and trays to grow your plants in, and basic tools like trowels for planting them. If you don’t already have this stuff, then you can obviously pick it up at a garden center or hardware store near you. However, if you are looking to save money, you can often find loads of this kind of stuff at yard or garage sales, as it is the kind of thing people often tend to clear out of their own gardens. You may be able to pick up everything you need for a matter of cents if you are able to find a sale like this and take the pots and tools off of someone else’s hands!
Other good places to look are local websites and Facebook groups where people offer items they don’t want – sometimes even for free. If you simply need a spade and a rake or a few other basic tools and you don’t mind if they are a bit old, this can be a great way to get them.
A portable Greenhouse
Of course, while the idea of simply plugging your plants or seeds into your garden is great, a lot of plants need the shelter of a greenhouse, especially in certain parts of the country where it can be hard to grow popular food crops outside due to climate and soil conditions. A greenhouse will give you more versatility in terms of what you can grow and when, and will also make tending to and harvesting your plants a more pleasant job because you won’t have to be out in all kinds of weather on your hands and knees!
Erecting a greenhouse can be quite expensive and time consuming however, so if you want to get started fast or are on a budget, look out for portable greenhouses which can be put up quickly and easily. They may not make for the best permanent solution but can be a good way to get yourself started in food gardening without too much hassle or investment.
Getting started in gardening for food needn’t be a huge task or a very expensive thing to do, and once you have this stuff ready, all you need to buy is compost (unless you already have your own compost heap) and the seeds, which are generally minimal cost if you aren’t growing anything rare.
Clark Douglas is part of the team at Rhino Shelter, leading distributors of protective enclosures and other portable shelters. He is a fitness enthusiast and loves to swim.