• Get FREE SHIPPING on eligible orders over $499

    See details

  • Winter Store: Find essentials for men, women & kids!

    Shop now!

Need help? (877) 837-9569

Grow Healthier Food and a Healthier Budget

By: Joshua Unseth-- 2010-09-23 4:00 am --

The idea of providing fresh food for your family--dirt cheap--can become a reality for you. Not only can you save money over what you'd buy at a store, but your food will be more flavorful. Your fruits and vegetables will also be healthier for you, because you harvest them at their nutritional peak, and can avoid chemical sprays or fertilizers. Gardening can be a stress-relieving, inexpensive hobby, and, if you involve family or friends, provide satisfying time together.

Where to begin? With your taste buds. What fruits or vegetables do you like to eat? Your next step is to call a local gardening expert with questions of what grows well in your climate, what growing space requirements do individual plants have, and when is a good time to get seeds or plants into the ground. In the United States, county extension agents provide such advice free of charge, oftentimes online.

Some plants require lots of growing room to really flourish, others are beautifully suited to container gardening. Based upon what you'd like to grow, what room do you have available? A plant has only four basic requirements: sun, good soil, water, and an adequate growing temperature. How can you provide these four elements for your plants?

Once you've chosen the spot for your garden, prepare your soil for planting. Any plant can thrive if its roots can freely grow down into the dirt, and if it can readily find the nutrients it needs for growth. Buy some compost--bulk prices are cheaper than bagged--and toss it over the soil you'll be working. Using a shovel or digging fork, mix the compost into the ground, and turn it over as you work. If you're working with a container, make sure you blend in some top soil with your compost. When you finish, the compost will be mixed into the soil, and no large clumps of dirt will remain.

One word of caution: start small if you're just starting out. Get a feel for how things work the first year; those extra seeds will keep just fine for next year if stored in a cool, dark, dry place. When you're ready to branch out, consider planting more, or different types of plants. Experiment with succession planting: using that carefully prepared soil for growing more than one crop in the course of a season. You could even try growing your own starts from seed.