In the past few years, the prices of conventional produce have increased steadily. As a result, many families have decided to grow their own foods at home, especially vegetables and herbs. Indoor or outdoor, almost everyone are now enjoying setting up their home organic garden so they can save money and keep their family healthy at all times.
Now, if you are new to gardening or have been doing it for a while and is looking for the most practical veggies and herbs to plant, we have compiled 10 of the best based on the recommendations given by garden experts as well as avid home gardeners. They are not only cost-effective or profitable but are also easy to grow in your indoor or outdoor home garden. They can give you abundant harvests in a short amount of time too.
Coming in a wide range of sizes and prices to suit diverse tastes and uses, tomatoes can be utilized in a variety of dishes such as pizzas, pasta, and soups. This is why they are a must-have for any home vegetable garden.
They can actually thrive in small spaces, even in containers, so garden area is not a problem. If you are out of space outdoors, you can try growing tomatoes indoors.
One of the best techniques is through container gardening, where you can just put the containers in your balcony, patio, deck or porch so the plants can get enough sunlight.
Tomatoes like Cherry, Roma, and Big Beef can give you regular harvests multiple times a year until the plant itself gives the stop signal. However, with proper care and maintenance, these vegetable plants can last for up to 6 years.
“In its tropical habitat, the tomato plant can live for many years. When it is grown domestically in cooler climates, lack of sunlight and freezing temperatures limit the plant to one growing season.” Source: www.ehow.com
So imagine a life where you harvest fresh tomatoes from your garden every day for a 6 year period. Fantastic, right? Definitely a great savings. Very cost-effective indeed.
It is also worthwhile to consider that even the most affordable tomato seeds, seedlings or starter plants from your local nursery are sturdy enough to survive harsh weather conditions. Nevertheless, you still need to protect them from direct exposure to the midday sun and shield the ripened fruits from strong winds.
Get Cherry tomato seeds here.
Zucchinis are one of the easiest and most affordable vegetables to grow. In fact, one zucchini hill can provide you with about 5 to 10 pounds of fresh fruits during the summer months. It is not unlikely that you will have excess fruit that you could opt to sell or give away come harvest time.
They can be grown from pre-packaged seeds to lessen the costs even more. One packet of seeds will set you back only a few dollars, but the plants and fruits that they grow will be able to survive for several years.
Zucchinis are versatile and sturdy plants that can be grown either indoors or outdoors. They are best planted during the early spring so that they will be ready for harvest as soon as the summer season rolls in. Once they bear fruit after 50-60 days, they can be used in a variety of delicious dishes such as zucchini spaghetti, zucchini bread, and many more. Yummy!
“Zucchini is amiable and adaptable — slip it into just about anything you're making and it will melt away, adding body, fiber and nutrition.’’ Source: www.jsonline.com
The price of lettuce has increased by a rather significant amount in the past few years. For that reason, it is much wiser and more cost-effective to grow your own lettuce. While $2 will only get you a small bunch from the grocery, that same amount can already provide you with enough lettuce that can last for at least five months if you spend it on a packet of lettuce seeds instead.
Lettuce seeds can mature within a span of 40-75 days. It is, therefore, wiser to plant only a few seeds at a time to avoid having excess lettuce that will likely rot away. Head forming lettuce such as the Iceberg lettuce are particularly prolific vegetables so it is best if you stick with leafy varieties such as the Concept and Magenta lettuce.
You can also simply opt to plant new seeds every 2-3 weeks during the peak growing seasons of the spring and summer months. This way, you will always have a steady supply of fresh and leafy vegetables without wasting any of your seeds.
Bell peppers are considered one of the most cost efficient and low maintenance vegetables ever. They are typically grown during the early summer or even until the late winter months. Nevertheless, it is possible to find starter plants on sale during the off-peak seasons.
You can simply transplant these seedlings into your garden as soon as the temperature becomes a little warmer.
And, remember the general rule: “When a seedling has three to four true leaves, it is large enough to plant out in the garden (after it has been hardened off).” Source: www.gardeningknowhow.com
They reach maturity after 70-90 days. Green peppers are best harvested as soon as they reach your desired size. It is also best if you pick off the smaller fruits to encourage new growth as well as prevent stunting. Conversely, you can choose to leave some peppers on the stalk until they turn yellow or red if you prefer a sweeter taste. Unfortunately, these unpicked plants will likely produce fewer fruits.
Red peppers can take a little more time to mature but are sweeter and are very versatile as to what dishes you can place them in.
On average, a single bell pepper plant will be able to produce at least 12 peppers come harvest time. In contrast, a single store bought pepper will already set you back by at least $2, making your bell pepper plant the wiser investment choice.
Get red bell pepper seeds here.
Get a variety of types of bell pepper seeds here.
They are known as one of the most versatile vegetables. They are not only used as flavor enhancers but also as a proven cure for various ailments. Unfortunately, the many benefits and uses of garlic also give them a higher price tag. Store bought garlic is usually priced at around $1-7 a pound. Meanwhile, it is extremely cheap to grow your own cloves instead, and for that reason, it is more cost-effective to grow your own garlic.
Newly planted garlic typically take 7-8 months to reach maturity. It is recommended therefore that you plant the garlic cloves in the middle of the fall so they have enough time to mature over the winter and spring months.
To get the best harvest, it is vital that you regularly weed the area around your planted cloves before the first winter snowfall. “Because garlic is an overwintering plant in most regions, it will be necessary to kill the spring cool-weather weeds, and later kill the summer weeds.” Source: www.growingformarket.com
The best time to plant your cloves is three weeks before winter to ensure that the roots will have ample time to mature and that the garlic tops will not break out into the surface before the soil freezes. Once your garlic matures, save a few of the cloves for replanting in the next growing season.
Green beans come in a range of sizes, shapes, and colors. Push beans and pole beans are two of the most common varieties. These green bean types can thrive in small spaces as well as in a variety of weather conditions making them a good plant choice for many home gardeners.
Since a single pound of store bought green beans can already set you back by a few dollars, it is practical to plant your own at home. A single packet of green bean seeds can provide you with more than enough fresh vegetables come harvest time in the spring. You will be able to get at least three pounds of green beans from a single plant.
Make sure that you harvest the beans as soon as they reach maturity after 50-60 days. This way, you will get beans that are young and tender. Also, picking off the mature beans at least once or twice a week will encourage the plant to produce new growth. This ensures you will have enough beans that can last throughout the year. Nevertheless, you should remember to handle the bean stalks with care since they can easily break if you pick off the beans with too much force.
“Bush beans begin producing before pole beans and often come in all at once. Succession planting, every 2 weeks, will keep your bush beans going longer.’’ Source: gardening.about.com
While a single pound of broccoli can set you back by $1.50, a broccoli plant can provide you with 2 pounds of broccoli at half the cost. Also, while it is best grown during the cooler spring and fall months, it is still possible to plant a few heads right before the first frost comes. It takes 50-100 days for a broccoli to reach maturity. During that time, you should make sure to fertilize regularly the soil since broccoli thrives in rich and fertile environments.
To save on maintenance costs, you can opt to use natural manure instead of costly chemical fertilizers. “Animal manure contains most of the nutrients that crops require, including nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, calcium, magnesium, copper, manganese, zinc, boron and iron.” Source: www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca
The sturdiness of the plant and the large yield makes it one of the most profitable vegetables you can grow in your own garden. Likewise, mature broccoli heads can be frozen and kept for a year at most; thus, giving you a reliable supply of vegetables all year round.
Basil, Rosemary, and Parsley Herbs
“Growing your own culinary herbs from seed can be a fruitful endeavor, and add a lot of taste to recipes at a low cost, especially considering how much each little bundle of herbs costs at the store or market, and compared to how cheap a packet of seeds is.’’ Source: www.treehugger.com
Although they are usually used as garnishes on a main meal, basil, rosemary, and parsley nonetheless are excellent source of flavor to your everyday dishes. While they are often sold as pricey dried herbs in groceries, it is relatively easy to grow your own and save yourself a significant amount of money. After all, any one of these herb plants can yield at least 50 times more than the quantity that you get for the same price in stores.
These herbs only require 6 hours of sunlight each day at most, so it is best if you raise them in a covered outdoor area or even inside any part of your house where they can get the required amount of sunlight.
In addition, they can reach maturity within 10-40 days in the springtime, so it is best if you plant them in pots that are between 6-10 inches deep, allowing the roots to grow freely.
Although parsley can easily thrive as an indoor plant, rosemary and basil need to adjust themselves to less sunlight before they can survive indoors.
The best way to ensure that your rosemary and basil plants reach maturity is by gradually adjusting them to less sunlight as they grow. Gradually move your plants from direct sunlight into a deeper shade and allow them to adapt and create new growth before bringing inside your house.
Basil, rosemary, and parsley typically need minimal maintenance only even after they are taken indoors. They just require a few drops of fast-acting liquid fertilizer each week so you will not worry about spending too much.
Ultimately, planting your own vegetables is not merely an effective cost-cutting method but also a convenient way of keeping your family healthy throughout the year.
By having a healthy crop of vegetables ready for harvest through the changing seasons, you will be able to provide your family with healthy meals at a much cheaper price than their store bought counterparts.
Check out this infographic for a quick review.