Financial experts say The Great Recession we experienced a few years back created a new generation of savers. Everywhere you look people are seeking ways to save money while improving their overall qualities of life.
Growing your own food can certainly save you money. Plus, it helps to create a much healthier lifestyle. After all, it is harder to eat unhealthy when you have a farmers market right in your backyard. The popularity of home grown vegetables, fruits and herbs combined with people's desires to live healthier have combined to form an encouraging trend. I created the DIY Backyard Farm to help enable more people to grow their own healthy delicious produce.
When it comes to saving money, not all edible plants are created equal. Here are my Top 5 favorite money saving (and tasty) edible plants to grow:
Beets – These amazing plants have a double impact on your “bottom line.” You can eat the beet greens (the leaves and stems) and you can also eat the root portion. Most people are familiar with just eating the root. I like to harvest the greens slowly throughout the season while allowing the beet root to grow. This can be accomplished by removing a few of the outer leaves. Do not pick the center leaves.
Kale – Kale has a really long growing season if you care for and harvest it right. We harvest pound after pound of it from May – January here on The DIY Backyard Farm. To ensure a long growing season just harvest the leaves that are away from the center and top of the plant. Usually these are the lower, more mature leaves of the kale plant.
Tomatoes – Have you looked at tomato prices lately? They are outrageous! Heirloom tomatoes in particular can set you back $7.99 a pound or more in fancy supermarkets. Not so on the DIY Backyard Farm. We grow hundreds of pounds of tomatoes each season. All our tomatoes are heirloom, non GMO and totally organic. I feel you can't put a price on such quality. However, at an average price of say $5 a pound, we are talking well over $1,000 of “return” on a really small investment.
Lettuce – $3.99 on sale for a plastic shell container of organic lettuce. That is a sale price? For us a sale price is nearly free and right in our own yard. We have rows of lettuce in our edible garden and even a few containers of it sitting close to the house for quick picking. Plus, lettuce can be started early and grown all season if done right. The most challenging part is growing it in hot summer weather. Look for varieties that are more heat tolerant and also companion plant lettuce in the shade produced by larger plants (like tomatoes).
Berries – last, but certainly not least. Choose any berry you like, they are all expensive at the market. Grow them at home and you are talking serious savings! Our most exotic berry is the golden raspberry. Sweet, delicate and beautiful equals expensive, unless you grow your own. I rarely even see golden raspberries in the store or at farmers markets. However, when I have they are usually $5 to $7 for a half pint! Imagine growing 15 to 20 pints of these berries from just two plants. Now that is some serious savings!
Virtually any vegetable, fruit or herb grown at home will save you money and probably offer higher nutrients and taste than anything you can find in the store. What edible plants are you growing this season?