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by sitecore\kmcgrigg on March 18, 2010

Hints of spring are everywhere and while it is still too early to plant your outdoor garden, it is definitely not too early to think about it.  Whether you have a very green thumb or you are just a hobby gardener (like me), having a successful garden requires some planning. 

When deciding what to plant this year, you'll want to consider things like the amount of sunlight your garden gets and the soil quality.  I also recommend that you factor finance into your equation.  To make the most of your garden, consider growing vegetables that cost you the most to purchase at the grocery store.  You might be surprised at the huge range of prices for fresh vegetables.  For example, according to the USDA, collard greens cost an average of $2.92 a pound while you can buy a pound of carrots for only 54 cents

In addition to collard greens, it pays to plant:

  • Cherry tomatoes, $1.87 per pound
  • Green peas $1.83 per pound
  • Asparagus $1.67 per pound
  • Turnip greens $1.68 per pound
  • Okra $1.69 per pound

Things you might want to skip growing and buy at the store instead include carrots, cabbage, onions, potatoes.  All of these vegetables cost less than 60 cents a pound to purchase.

If you also grow fruits, I highly recommend blackberries and raspberries which cost an average of almost $4.00 per pound to purchase (and are awesome for making jellies and jams that last well past harvest season!) While watermelons are fun to grow, they cost a mere 32 cents per pound to purchase.

Of course, it is wise to grow the types of food that you enjoy eating.  Also, consider starting the growing season early—indoors.  Starting plants from seeds can be very a satisfying way to treat Spring Fever and save you a great deal of money. 

Deciding what to plant? Consider cost

All costs came from the USDA report titled How Expensive Are Fruits and Vegetables?


Jonathan Seeley says:
March 20, 2010

Thanks for the article. My wife wants to do some gardening and this is good information. We're trying to buy a house so every penny counts!

Joyce Adrian says:
April 09, 2010

This is good advice, and I would like to add something about growing herbs. Herbs can be costly when bought in little packages. Try growing them all year long, both in your outdoor garden (many will still grow over the winter), and also inside during cold months. They add so much to your cooking and have nutritional value as well. It is fun to go out and cut off a sprin g or two of your desired herb to put into your meal. Thyme, parsley, and chives grow outside all year; basil, dill, and many others can be dried to carry over into the winter months.

KW says:
April 08, 2010

I just planted cherry tomatoes two days ago. I never thought about using price as a guide for choosing what to plant. Great tip. Also good to consider: fruits & vegetables that you prefer to have grown organically. Organic produce is always more expensive.

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