Saving money at home needn’t be as hard as it seems – making a few small changes here and there can have a huge impact on your personal finances. One way you can save money at home is to grow your own fruit and vegetables. Take a look at this list from Mr Lender on ways you can grow fruit and veg at home.
Utilise the space
Whether you have a 100 acre garden, or a small and cosy balcony – you can grow your own fruit and veg at home. If you are fortunate enough to have a garden, you can often plant the seeds straight into the ground – if not, you can always use plant pots. As long as you’re giving your plants plenty of natural sunlight, water and nutrients, they’ll happily grow anywhere.
You can even grow your own herbs on your windowsill at home too. Basil and watercress are two herbs which are very simple to grow at home and do not require too much attention. Other herbs which also grow well at home are rosemary, thyme, chives and sage.
Give them some space
If you do opt for growing your fruit and veg in plant pots, make sure to give them enough space to spread their roots. Giving your plants enough space to grow will mean you end up with large fruit and veg. To avoid having tiny plants, use the biggest pots available and as much space as you can sacrifice.
French beans tend to grow well in a pot (preferably 33cm or larger), and they’re perfect for balconies too. Simply plant them and give them something to grow against – for example a trellis or a cane – then place the pots alongside a wall.
If you grow your fruit and veg in the ground you won’t need to worry too much about feeding your plants – besides watering them daily. However, if you use plant pots to grow your fruit and veg you’ll need to give them liquid plant food every fortnight or so. Plants which are grown in a pot will use up all the nutrients in the compost very quickly, meaning they’ll regularly need to be given more food.
Think about the weight
While growing fruit and veg in plant pots is perfectly fine, you will need to think about the weight of the pots if you’re growing them on a balcony. Having too many large, heavy pots puts your balcony at risk of collapsing. Instead, consider using plastic plant pots rather than heavier terracotta ones. If you do use plastic plant pots, keep them steady with some broken pieces of crockery at the bottom of the pot before putting in the compost – this will not only help the water drain from the pot, but it will also weigh it down and prevent it from toppling over.
Berries tend to grow rather well in plant pots, as it keeps them off the ground and away from hungry caterpillars. Some berries you may want to consider planting are strawberries, gooseberries, blueberries and blackcurrants.
If you’re thinking of growing your own fruit and veg, you may also want to consider growing salad ingredients such as tomatoes and salad leaves. Not only are these a nice little veg to grow, but they can save you plenty of money off your weekly shop. According to Which?, a pack of lettuce seeds could produce as much as 16 bags of salad.
What not to grow
While there are lots of fruit and veg which are fairly simple to grow and don’t take up too much space in the garden, there are lots of others which are immensely tricky to grow. You may, for example, want to avoid growing any veg in the cabbage family as these are notoriously hard to grow. If you have a small garden, or you’re growing fruit and veg on the balcony, you might also want to avoid growing any form of pumpkin or marrow as these will take up lots of space. A few other veg you might want to avoid are celery, celeriac, and fennel as these are a challenge to grow – even for experienced gardeners.