Gardening 101

The True Cost of Growing Your Own Food

growing food spinach

Gardening is traditionally thought of as a way to connect with nature. Yet, growing your own food is also a healthy way to save money and enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables at home.

When used correctly, even a small plot of land can yield large amounts of produce. Even so, there are costs involved in gardening, especially on the scale required to feed a family.

As the prime time for gardening begins, what are the costs involved in growing your own ingredients? Keep reading to find out.


There’s a surprising amount of preparation that’s needed before reaching the planting stage. The soil needs to be prepared, often by adding organic material such as compost, peat, or bark. You’ll also need a designated area in which to grow your produce, like a polytunnel or a raised garden bed.

The cost of growing your own is higher than it first seems when you include the resources needed to prepare the land. That’s why it’s wise to assess your finances before committing.

The tools

Having the right tools for your gardening will make the work a lot easier. There are some absolute necessities that you will need, including:

A trowel

Pruning shears

A hose or watering can

A garden rake

An angled shovel

What’s more, there are some pieces of equipment that will make your gardening much more enjoyable, despite not being strictly necessary. We recommend that you invest in a pair of gardening gloves, a kneeling pad, and a wheelbarrow for more comfortable gardening work.

What you plant

For most gardeners, the question of whether growing your own food gives a good return on investment comes down to the sort of produce they decide to grow. Besides, many gardeners order large volumes of seeds without necessarily intending to use them all.

However, if your aim is to save money by growing your own, this probably isn’t the best tactic. Instead, only buy the seeds for crops that you enjoy eating and in amounts that you’re likely to be able to use. Staples such as peas, tomatoes and broccoli are some of the best money savers available.

Taking on too much

The decision to grow your own food is a significant one. However, it doesn’t have to mean taking on a second job. Many new gardeners incur greater costs than needed by being overly ambitious.

Grow crops that are hardy and easy for beginners to nurture. Buy trickier fruits and vegetables at the greengrocer or local supermarket. Start small in your first season and over time build up more ambitious gardening projects that are well suited to your ability and budget.

By being cautious, you can also avoid losing big on another hidden cost of growing your own: your precious time.

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