There are many benefits associated with growing your own fruits and vegetables at home, and one of the big ones is often said to be more green; not only in our gardens but in our pockets too!
Sometimes it can be hard to see the forest through the trees. By the time we finish building beds, purchasing seeds or seedlings, ordering soil and adding compost, we’ve spent a small fortune on the fruit and veggie patch.
But the reality is, food prices are skyrocketing, especially in the produce section of the stores. A CBC news report says the cost of fresh vegetables in Canada has jumped 15.7% over the last year, and fresh fruits are close behind.
So much of the “fresh” produce sold in North America is imported from abroad. Combine that with inflation rates, and grocery bills are growing. Lettuce, for example, saw price increases of 19% over the last year, mainly due to the romaine e.coli outbreak.
According to the National Gardening Association, we can expect a return of about $8 for every dollar we spend on seed packets. And a 2014 study published in the Journal of Extension evaluated multiple scholarly databases and determined that a fruit and vegetable garden can lead to significant savings, yielding up to $678 worth of produce in one season!
Of course, the size of the garden will be a determining factor in the amount saved as well as the growing climate and the cost of all of the inputs. But most of all, the type of crops grown is paramount.
Consider what fruits and vegetables you spend the most money on at the grocery store. I’ve recently noticed the price of celery is through the roof, costing as much as $6 for a single bunch. A bag of baby spinach can be up to $5, a vine of organic tomatoes sets you back $8 or more, and you can spend up to $5 on a head of broccoli.
Crops that freeze or pickle well are an excellent option, as you can continue to enjoy them well after the last harvest of the season.
The following is a list of fruits and vegetables that deliver high yields and have the potential to save you some major dough:
- Salad greens
- Squash (summer and winter types, zucchini, etc.)
- Tomatoes (all varieties, including cherry)
- Berries ( strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, etc.)
- Herbs (basil, thyme, rosemary, mint, cilantro, chives, etc.)
If growing from organic seed, you can expect to spend no more than a few dollars per packet on these crops. Consider the several pounds of produce they will deliver, and your wallet might feel a little heavier.
More importantly, your bodies might feel a little healthier. Nutrition and freshness are often compromised at the supermarket. Growing fruits and vegetables organically in your backyard or balcony means you know what has gone into them. There is a lot to be said for food that travels only a few steps before making it to the table.
A word of advice: make sure you have a large basket for your bountiful harvests!