And how much money it’ll save on groceries. – by Laura Barry
It doesn’t matter if you live in an apartment or standalone house, as long as you have a little sun and access to a small balcony or window you can grow your own plants.
Growing your own herbs, fruit and vegetables is not only a healthy and rewarding activity, but it can reduce the amount of money you’re spending on groceries, and the amount of food waste your household is producing.
By growing organic vegetables at home you can ensure your food is chemical and pesticide free, and nutrient-rich.
Rebecca Searles is the founder of the blog Family Garden Life, and she writes that “organic gardening principles are centred around working with nature to ensure your plants stay healthy and strong and your produce is packed full of nutrients and flavour.”
Considering her vast knowledge on the topic, we thought Rebecca would be the perfect person to ask about growing your own organic vegetables at home.
How can families grow organic vegetables at home?
“The best way to ensure your family’s vegetables are grown organically is to start with the soil,” says Rebecca. “When your soil is rich in key nutrients, there is no need to add premade fertilisers and chemicals to your food.”
“Your plants will grow strong and healthy if they have access nutrients through their roots, and healthy plants will produce better and be less prone to disease and pest attacks. Keep it clean and natural and you’re on your way to becoming an organic gardening family.”
Note: one of the best ways to improve your soil is by composting kitchen scraps and turning the compost through your soil.
How is growing organic vegies different from growing ordinary vegies?
“The biggest difference is the taste. My kids will eat a green bean straight off our plants at home, but won’t tough a store bought bean,” says Rebecca. “The taste is so different. Organic food is natural, raw, real and full of flavour. You know exactly what you grow and you know exactly what hasn’t been added, sprayed or coated before you consume it.”
What vegetables are best to grow at home?
“What you grow at your house will depend on your climate and which season you are in. So make sure you refer to a grow guide that works for your garden location. I recommend growing crops which can be harvested over time — such as your basic salad ingredients. This will ensure your harvest basket always has something in it. Also, grow what your family eats, and nothing too difficult or complicated. Start off small and build on your selection each season. We love to grow beans, peas and snow peas in our garden, which the kids love to pick and eat as they play.”
How much money can the average family save by growing vegetables at home?
“I always like to do this calculation on salads over the 12 weeks of summer, because most families enjoy salad this time of year. Plus, a salad garden is a great place to start.”
If your weekly shop included:
1-2 x lettuce
1 x punnet of tomatoes
1 x cucumber
1 x capsicum
You’re looking at approximately $10/week over 12 weeks of summer, that’s $120.
If you purchase seedlings to grow:
1 x lettuce punnet (6)
1 x tomato plant
1 x cucumber plant
1 x capo plant
It’s more like approximately $20 for the season.
“This is a saving of around $100 per month. Now if you save your seeds, or purchase seeds, you are going to save even more,” says Rebecca. “There are extras that go with owning and maintaining a food garden. Simple tips include keeping a compost, which is where your rich organic soil comes from. Then all that’s left to purchase is mulch, and you’ll need to keep the water up.”
“If you then looked across your entire fruit, vegetables and herbs, you can see some serious savings. The key is to know which plants produce continually over a season and make the most of those crops. Well worth the effort to harvest homegrown organic food for your family.”
You might also like:
How to start a vegetable garden
How to build a vegetable patch
How to grow vegies in pots
Laura Barry is a writer, bookworm and interior design enthusiast with a love for reporting on all things homes, travel and lifestyle. When not tapping away at her keyboard, Laura can be found making endless cups of tea or perusing the shelves of Sydney’s many bookstores.