Growing Vegetables and Fine Herbs to Economize

Agri-gardening is a universally known trend in recent years. Whether it is to have better control of your diet, or to grow vegetables ecologically, or simply for the pleasure of tending a vegetable patch, the idea of growing your own tomatoes, fine herbs and medicinal plants is gaining fans every year, particularly among young men of generation Y (the millennials) and Spanish speakers.

Even though the main motivation for growing an edible garden is the eating pleasure, more than 30% of gardeners take into account the savings you can achieve by growing your own vegetables. In an economic context where the average price of fruit and vegetables goes up both good years and bad by 1% to 4% a year, the savings are increasingly substantial. For example, for an investment of about $25.00, a 65 square metre vegetable garden can provide $504.00 worth of vegetables and fine herbs.

Having said that, as with any activity, you can spend a small fortune on gardening. The book “The $64 Tomato” by William Alexander humorously demonstrates how a single tomato can actually cost a small fortune. However, with good practice, the opposite is also true, particularly for vegetables that are usually expensive in grocery stores, such as tomatoes and melons.

The secret of success lies first of all in the basic principles of gardening, to ensure the right conditions for growth and maximum yield. A sunny site and rich, well-drained soil are essentials for a productive vegetable garden. Then it’s all a matter of cost of buying seeds, fertilizer and in some cases irrigation, in municipalities where water is taxed. By making smart investments and participating in discussion forums and group purchasing, you can reduce the amount required to start up your production to just a few dollars. Capturing rainwater in barrels also helps limit your use of tap water.

Apart from tomatoes and melons, you can also make substantial savings on easy-to-grow, high-yield vegetables such as beans, peas and lettuce. In optimal conditions, onions, spinach, carrots, cucumbers and potatoes are also useful crops for reducing the cost of your grocery basket.

To find a garden centre, nursery, sod grower or landscaper:


Alexander, William. 2007. The $64 Tomato: How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden. Algonquin Books. ISBN 13: 9781565125575

Charlebois, Sylvain; Tapon, Francis; van Duren, Erna; von Massow, Michael and Pinto, Warren. 2013. Index of Consumer Food Prices 2014. University of Guelph Economic Brief. Prepared by the College of Management and Economics.

Collaboration. 2015. Garden Media Releases 2015 Garden Trends Report: “Unearthing the Best Life”. Garden Media Group. Consulted online.

Patel, Ishwarbhai C.. 1991. Gardening's Socioeconomic Impacts. County Agricultural Agent Urban Gardening Rutgers Cooperative Extension, Newark, New Jersey. Extension Journal. Winter Vol. 29, No 4.

Wills, Kendra. 2013. Can a vegetable garden save you money? Michigan State University Extension. Published online.

Bonnie Plants, Save Money Growing Vegetables and Herbs. Consulted online.



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