How To

Start Planning Your Healthy, Money-Saving Garden Now

How to Start a Spring Garden Now :: Mint.com/blog

The more something is done for you, the more money you have to pay. That’s one of the most straightforward and consistent rules of our society.

Buy a BBQ chicken sandwich at 7-11 and expect to fork over at least five bucks for the convenience.

Taking some time to prepare the chicken yourself, slathering it with your own homemade BBQ sauce in the process, will net you many additional sandwiches and meals for roughly the same price.

That’s why you should, if at all possible, start up your very own money-saving garden next chance you get. It’s much easier than you might think.

With just a little bit of work, you can cultivate a beautiful buffet of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs that will ensure you never have to pick up those things at the store anymore.

Your bank account will thank you.

But it’s cold now, right? We should wait until Spring has sprung, right?

Wrong!

You can get started on your garden right now and, when the temperature finally rises, you’ll have a head start on creating your very own discount produce section!

There are but a few things to keep in mind:

Find Your Hardy Zone

While it may sound like something Beavis and Butthead would snicker at, the Hardy Zone is an extremely helpful guide for those wondering what plants grow best where.

Regions are zoned off based on the typical coldest temperatures recorded in each one.

So when flipping through your plant guide, make sure to find out what zone a particular plant grows best in.

Then, find your zone on the USDA’s handy-dandy guide map, and if your preferred plant grows well in your zone’s temperature range, seed away!

Starting Seeds Indoors

As long as you have containers (even makeshift ones), water, and a bit of sunlight, you can start planting seeds right now!

Simply pick up some decent soil, pack it into a pot, milk carton, shoebox, or whatever else you might have handy, bury your seeds, water, and place under the Sun.

With proper care and a little love, the seeds should begin to sprout on schedule.

Obviously, they can’t stay in a little box or pot for too long without stunting their growth, so once it starts to warm up, simply transfer the plants, soil and all, to your proper garden, and continue caring for them just as you were before.

You’ll be the first on your block with delicious fruits and veggies, thanks to your magical ability to start working first.

The Perfect Beginner’s Garden

Not all plants are created equal, and some are more difficult and time-consuming than others.

If your goal is simply to create a beginner’s garden with a few quick-and-easy crops that will both taste good and save you a bunch of money, then focus on seeding the ground with plants like:

Tomatoes: They grow in just about any weather, and if you really need help, stores everywhere offer tomato-growing kits for just a few bucks.

Chives: No matter what soil you use, and no matter what Hardy Zone you live in, there’s a real good chance you can grow chives. Just don’t assume they’re grass and neglect to pick them. Your baked potatoes will never forgive you.

Basil: Though they may look like regular leaves, the distinct scent of fresh basil will make it very clear that this simple-yet-perfect herb is ready for picking and eating.

Carrots: Easy to grow, easy to pull out of the ground. Even if they look funny due to your soil being too rocky or chunky, they’ll still taste like carrots which is not at all a bad thing.

Strawberries: You can plant them anywhere, any time and, though they may take a little while to fully blossom, your taste buds will appreciate your patience.

Raspberries: These yummy treats are so simple, you don’t even have to remove them from their container if you don’t to. Completely self-supporting, raspberries could successfully grow in a thimbleful of dirt (though we suggest using a bit more than that, just in case.)

These are just a few of the yummy fruits and veggies you can grow yourself. Get planting and reap the tasty rewards!

Mary Hiers is a personal finance writer who helps people earn more and spend less.