Do you want to grow your own food partly to save money on groceries?
That was my primary reason for beginning my first garden. I had just quit my job to become a stay-at-home mom, and our new one-income family needed to cut costs. That’s when I set out to grow a garden.
I learned the hard way, however, gardening isn’t always as cheap as it seems. It’s easy to pour our money into plants and supplies, and before we know it, this money-saving venture can become a wallet-draining hobby.
However, I have found in the years since beginning that first garden, you can grow a garden and save money. The first step is knowing what to grow.
If you’re planning your garden with hopes of cutting your grocery bill, this episode of the Beginner’s Garden Podcast will get you started. I’ll go into detail about why each crop can save you a significant amount of money. Listen below or continue reading:
Crops to Grow in Your Garden that Will Save You the Most Money
If you cook with herbs, you know how outrageously expensive they are to purchase at the grocery store. But you can grow those herbs for a fraction of the cost.
My favorite to grow is basil. With just one or two plants, you can grow enough to eat fresh during the growing season and freeze for the off-season. You can purchase a basil plant at the garden center, though basil is an easy plant to grow from seed. Either plant it indoors before your first frost or plant it directly in the garden after the danger of frost has passed. I grow at least two plants — one to keep trimmed for continuous production and one to let flower and set seed for next season. You can easily never have to buy basil at the grocery store again.
Rosemary is also a frugal herb to grow. You can purchase one plant and unless you live in a very cold climate, the plant will last for years. I harvest rosemary year-round in my Zone 7 garden.
Many recipes call for thyme, another frugal herb to grow yourself. In my garden thyme lasts year-round. Other herbs I grow in my garden to save money are oregano, dill, parsley, cilantro, sage, and mint.
More on growing herbs:
Herbs Part 1: Basil, Dill, Cilantro, & Parsley
I do not recall the last time I purchased a pepper from the grocery store. Talk about a drain on your wallet! In the off-season, red bell peppers can set you back over one dollar apiece, and green bell peppers aren’t much cheaper. In my garden, I grow 4-6 plants (though 1-2 will work for most families). I have enough bell peppers to eat fresh during the summer, and I chop and freeze them for year-round use.
Blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries are favorites around our house. But these treats can get expensive at the grocery store, especially if you opt for the organic option.
Although you won’t harvest blueberries the first season, planting a few bushes will turn out to be one of your best investments. After the second season we harvested enough in three bushes to freeze for year-round use, and by the fourth season we began selling our excess at the local farmer’s market to absorb other gardening expenses.
Strawberries also will not bear heavily their first season, but when cared for, they will give you plenty of harvest for 2-5 years. And with organic strawberries costing close to $7 per quart, you can see how quickly your harvest will save you money.
Blackberries bear year after year, providing a nice early summer treat. With just two bushes, we harvest enough to eat fresh and freeze for delicious cobblers and baked goods in the off-season.
Easily planted from seed in the spring and the fall, salad greens like lettuce, arugula, mesclun greens, and others will give you one of your quickest-maturing, most prolific harvests. Whether you eat salads daily or once a week, growing salad greens yourself will save you money on your next shopping trip.
If you’re looking to grow a garden to save money on groceries, hopefully these crops will get you started saving money in your next garden season!
Get Your Frugal Garden Quickstart Guide
Learn where to buy, when to plant, and how much to pay for 10 of the most frugal crops you can grow in this quick one-sheet download. (Your grocery budget will thank you!)
I'll also send you a few extra quick tips to help you save money in your garden and in the produce section of the grocery store, periodic updates with garden resources relevant to you, plus my information-packed "In the Garden" e-mail on Fridays to help you in your garden!