I planted our garden today. We’ve been spending about $15/week on greens since the beginning of the year when we started making green smoothies every day. I love the smoothies, but all winter long I was looking forward to being able to grow the greens in our garden for free during the summer. I spent about three hours today working on it. We had rearranged our back yard last fall, and wanted to move the garden to an area that had always been grass, so the first step was to dig up the sod. Then I had to loosen the concrete-like soil that I found underneath. Then came the much easier step of mixing in a bunch of compost, which had an almost magical effect on the dirt. I started with dirt that was so light brown it looked like khaki pants, and was hard as a rock, and ended up with rich coffee-colored dirt that was a pleasure to work with. No chemicals to muck up our food, and no money spent on topsoil or fertilizer. Compost rocks.
I planted four packets of seeds – two swiss chard, one kale, and one lettuce mix. Total spent on seeds was $4.85 plus tax. I watered the whole area, and now I just have to wait a week for my little plants to sprout. We’ve had great luck in the past with swiss chard, and I’m excited to try the kale. I figured that by adding a few different varieties I’d increase my odds of having an overall successful crop. Whatever we end up with, it will be cheaper than $15/week. From June through October we shouldn’t have to buy any greens at all, which I’m very excited about.
For the record, our back yard is tiny. The plot I planted today is about 10 feet long and 4 feet wide, and takes up a good chunk of the yard. We’ll have a tomato plant in a bucket on the back porch, and that’s about all we can fit. So even if you have very little space, think about what veggies you spend the most money on, and try growing them yourself in a little patch or in pots. You’ll almost certainly save money, and the process itself is pretty rewarding. Happy spring!!