Growing your own vegetables to save money can be a satisfying way to make your budget go further and reducing your food bill. Growing veg to save money can be an awesome way to both reduce your food bill, improve what’s in your diet and include the whole family in the activity. Taking up growing your own can also lead you into an interesting hobby that helps increase the use of vegetables in your diet. Growing your own vegetables can give you a steady (if you plan it ) stream of fresh veg to include in your meals. This isn’t an endeavour that needs hue investment either financially or in time spent. And you won’t need to dig over the entire garden or find an allotment in order to grow vegetables to save money. Dealing with beginner gluts can also lead to experimenting with new recipes and techniques to use up excess vegetables. Welcome to the best vegetables to grow to save money!
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The Best Types of Vegetables to Grow to Save Money
When it comes to growing vegetables at home, for the satisfaction it gives, but also for the money it saves, then you’ll want to look at a few factors. These may seem like obvious decisions to make, but here are 3 reasons you should take into account when picking the vegetables to grow to save money.
- Grow vegetables that are easy to grow to save money
- Grow vegetables that you’re going to eat to save money
- Grow vegetables that are expensive to buy to save money
- Grow vegetables that are quick to grow to save money
Growing Vegetables that are easy to grow to save money
One of the easiest ways to making growing vegetables into a habit that you keep going is to pick vegetables that are easy to grow. It’s a bit like growing ones that are fast to grow. Unless you want to make vegetable growing into your whole life, you don’t need to be picking vegetables that need huge amounts of time and attention. So pick easy veggies to grow.
This is especially important, particularly if you’re new to vegetable growing. You’ll want to work with vegetables that are particularly easy to grow. It is particularly dispiriting as a beginner veggie grower to plant and tend for vegetables to have them fail or fall to pests or the weather. Peas, beans and salad leaves are easy to grow. You can read about the easiest vegetables to grow in the UK here and here are a few of the easiest veggies to grow.
- Salad leaves are seriously easy to grow > Buy them now
- Tomatoes are easy to grow – MAKE SURE YOU KEEP THEM WATERED
- Peas or beans are easy to grow. Peas in pots are REALLY easy to grow
- Potatoes are seriously easy to – especially if you grow them in bags.
- Onions and Garlic are easy to grow vegetables too – whether it’s in the ground or in containers.
Growing Vegetables that you’re going to eat to save money
The quickest way to saving money by using your garden is by looking at what you spend the money on. Look at the vegetables that you buy regularly from a supermarket, grocery or farm shop. This is absolutely the best way to make sure that this becomes a habit that you stick to. Simply replace what you’re spending money on by growing it yourself. There’s no need to make any other changes that might be harder to stick to. Growing your own vegetables might be the first step you take in making bigger changes to what you’re eating and how you’re cooking it, but let’s start with small steps and make them stick.
So take a look at what you’ve been buying, what vegetables you include in your meal plans and let’s figure out how to grow them yourselves! Starting out a beginner vegetable garden this way is a super way to ensure that you actually eat what you’re growing – because there’s no point growing a whole lot of veg that you aren’t going to eat!
One of the easiest vegetables to grow is a courgette – zucchini if you’re using American English. And most courgettes are prolific growers, so we wary as to how many of them you grow. But think before you take over a huge area of the garden for growing courgettes and consider how you’re going to use them. In our first year of growing veg, we had endless courgettes. We ran out of recipes. We looked like courgettes. And I didn’t even like courgettes when we started. (I LOVE courgettes now!) So make sure that you grow vegetables that you both like and are going to eat. Or work out a swap and barter system with your neighbours and family to ensure that you get some variety. Here’s how we grow courgettes in pots now.
Growing Vegetables that are expensive to buy to save money
This is key to saving money by growing your own vegetables. Pick the ones that are the most expensive from supermarkets or grocery shops. The two most expensive veggies that we have in our diet are salad leaves and fresh tomatoes, so I’m going to use them as an example here.
We usually would buy two bags of salad leaves a week for our family shop. That costs us at least £2.20 a week, which is actually a large part of the food budget, especially when you add it up over a longer period. Salad leaves are one of the easiest vegetables to grow. And they’re really quick to grow too. From seed to plate can be as little as 3 weeks. Yep. 21 days. So if you buy a packet of salad leaf seeds – LESS THAN THE COST OF ONE BAG of salad leaves, and if you plant one or two a week to spread it out, then you’ll get the equivalent of 24 bags of salad from that ONE bag of seeds. So go on, buy those salad leaf seeds now!
And tomatoes. Yes. One tomato seed grows a plant from which you can harvest 40 to 70 fruits. Each tomato seed packet costs about 75p and contains 10 seeds. It won’t be so much how can you make your tomatoes go round, more what else can you eat tomatoes with!! Here’s our recommended tomato seeds and our secrets to growing tomatoes here.
Growing Vegetables that are quick to grow to save money
The absolute best way to keep your interest in growing vegetables going and growing is to see fast results. With fast results, you’ll not only start saving sooner rather than later but the motivation you’ll get from seeing AND eating the result of your labours will spur you on to greater endeavours! Take a look at these FAST GROWING VEGETABLES and see which of them are on your regular shopping list? If they’re not are they easy substitutes?
- You can eat CRESS about 3 days after sowing
- You can harvest salad leaves like chicory, endive, sorrel, spinach (find out how to grow spinach in pots here!), mizuna, mibuna, rocket and mustard from as little as 21 days! > Get these quick growing salad leaves now!
- Baby kale – a type of cabbage that you can use in stir-fries, or as a side dish for roasts and more will be ready to eat in about 30 days
- Growing beetroot has two benefits – baby beets will be ready to eat in about 35 days, but you can also harvest the leaves to include in your salads. Plus it’s a seriously easy veg to preserve too
- Like swedes? Or turnips? They are seriously easy to grow and are ready in about 35 days.
- Even courgettes will be ready to eat in 40 days – and their flowers, which you can also cook are ready even before that! > these are great courgettes for beginners to grow
Our guide to the top 10 fast growing vegetables in pots and containers is here – head on over and start saving now!
How to Pick the Best Vegetables to Grow to Save Money
While it may be tempting to jump straight in buy a load of seeds and start planting you’ll want to do a little analysis as to which vegetables are the best for YOU to grow. Here are THREE questions to ask yourself to identify the BEST vegetables that will save you money! Make a list of the answers to these questions
- Which vegetables do you normally buy from the supermarket?
- How much do these vegetables cost you per kilo?
- What will you cook with the vegetables you grow?
How Much Can you Save by Growing Vegetables?
The amount of money you can save by growing your own vegetables depends on the vegetables that you select, and the amount that you grow! Our trips to the supermarket tend to be more regular to pick up fresh fruit and vegetables, so growing your own can also cut down on food shopping trips and save you money there too! Here’s an example of how we work this out
|Vegetable||Number per week||Supermarket cost||Cost of seeds||Harvest Amount||Home Grown Savings|
|Tomatoes||12||£1.50||10 for £2.39||40 per plant||£30+|
We’ve used an estimate here of taking 40 tomatoes per plant and eating tomatoes over a 12 week period.
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Our Favourite EASY, LOW OUTLAY Vegetables to grow to save money
There are a lot of vegetables that you can grow that can save you a LOT of money – Asparagus is one of these, but I’m not including this in the list for now, as Asparagus is a perennial vegetable and it takes up to 2 years for your first harvest, so you’ll want to think long term. (If you are thinking about growing Asparagus, then read our guide to growing it here.) Celeriac also can save you a lot of money, but it’s not so widely used. My favourite list of vegetables to grow to save money is based on the veg that we use on a daily basis, and that will save us the most money with the least outlay and the least effort.
Here are some of our favourite vegetables to grow to save money.
Growing Salad Leaves saves money
This is the all-time favourite for saving money. If you sow salad leaf seeds in batches, then you can plan to have a steady flow of leaves for your sandwiches, salads or garnishes. Salad leaves like cool, semi-shade. You can grow salad leaves in a small tub or container as well as in the garden or allotment. Keep your green intake up between autumn and spring by growing salad leaves on windowsills indoors too!
Want the easiest salad leaves? Here you go
Growing salad leaves will save you a LOT of money at the supermarket! Start growing your salad leaves – and check what else here – in April for a whole sumers worth of fabulous fresh, crispy leaves!
If you’re looking to make money as well as save money, our friend explains how to make a side income from home and here she explains how to avoid survey scams – there’s some great advice there!
Growing Courgettes to save money
I never thought I’d say that I recommend courgettes, our first year I felt I couldn’t even look at another courgette. We ate them constantly. We made endless chutney with our chutney and relish making kit (awesome Christmas gifts for family). But, as well as being seriously prolific, they’re very easy to grow. Courgettes can be used in a lot of recipes, you can use them to substitute as spaghetti *using this tool) and yes they do fill up chutneys rather well too! They’re not necessarily expensive at the supermarket, but as they’re easy to grow, it’s worth trying at least once! Our favourite courgette seeds are here.
Grow Herbs to save money
If, like me, you grew up with dried herbs and found fresh herbs to be an incredible treat, then growing your own herbs can be a complete revelation. The taste is SO different. And herbs are relatively easy to grow. No more throwing down £2 for a pot of parsley or basil, when you can grow your own on a windowsill. I have finally also mastered growing coriander, which is notoriously difficult to grow. Easy herbs to grow include rosemary, basil and parsley. Read about the best grown your own herb kits here
I used to think it would be amazing to work on one of the cooking programs, all the fresh herbs that they use in cooking, as I’d look at the cost of them in the shops and immediately turn to dried herbs. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with dried herbs, fresh herbs add such a zing to dishes. And sprinkling dried coriander on my favourite Indian meals just isn’t the same – thats’ why we’re growing coriander in pots!
For the cost of a packet of seeds, you can grow hundreds of herb plants. Rosemary grows really well from cuttings (so find a friend who’s got a plant!) Sow your own basil seeds in April and you’ll be harvesting in July. It’s also easy to take cuttings from Basil plants and propagate MORE basil plants (cue awesome birthday and Christmas gift!). Check out our Herb Garden Starter kit ideas here.
Let’s look at a cost comparison. We’re assuming that you buy a live basil plant, say 10 times a year from a supermarket. That’s about £2. So a cost of £20 a year. Buy a packet of basil seeds (you can get about 200 of them for about 50p – or take cuttings – read how in our guide on how to grow basil here.). Pop a couple of the basil seeds into a pot, with some compost. Two plants that you grow yourself should keep you going for a year. The rest of the seeds will keep for about 4 years. Grow your own cost for a year? Including compost? About £1. Go on get started growing herbs now! It’s seriously easy.
Grow Potatoes to save money
Potatoes aren’t necessarily expensive to buy, especially if you buy in bulk, but there is a satisfaction about growing your own that I feel can’t be beaten. We also find that we tend to substitute potatoes for chicken and meat, especially if we have a lot that are ready to eat. So, growing your own potatoes helps in a number of different ways! We’ve found it easiest to grow potatoes in specific potato growing boxes, containers or bags. We wrote about the BEST potato grow bags here. It definitely makes it easier to harvest and keeps them well contained. Our full in-depth guide on how to grow potatoes in bags is here.
An average potato plant grows 8-10 potatoes. 8 potatoes on average in the supermarket will cost you £2. You can buy a 1-kilo pack of seed potatoes for £5, which will net you around 15 plants. So 150 potatoes for £5 (plus your outlay for compost and potato bags or boxes). Want to make your own compost? Here’s our guide to the best compost bins to help you make compost with no mess and little outlay!
Grow Tomatoes to save money
In our first year of growing our own vegetables, we harvested 480 tomatoes. We grew them all in our back garden. We thought we might have a lot of failings on the seeds and went overboard. I think we would have looked like tomatoes if we didn’t already look like courgettes. So why grow tomatoes to save money when you can buy cheap tomatoes from the supermarket. Taste is the answer. I LOVE the smell of a tomato just after it’s been plucked off a plant. Here’s tomato seeds that will get you going immediately!
Those plastic bagged tomatoes in the supermarket smell of nothing and taste of not much more. Sure you can buy the vine-ripened tomatoes and they are so much nicer, but boy growing your own tomatoes beats it all. You can even grow tomatoes indoors and not have to worry about the weather!
It will take you around 12 weeks to go from seed to harvest, but you can save not just a lot of money, but your taste buds will thank you forever. (Here’s 10 Tomato Growing Secrets that you’ll want to read!) Plus, if you ever get too many, then think tomato passata, tomato sauce, soups, and chutneys and your Christmas present list will never be empty! > take a look at our jam making kit recommendations for what you need to do this.
Final Words on the Best Vegetables to grow to save money
While the purpose of this article was to outline the best vegetables to grow to save money, its also worth considering how growing your own vegetables can change your lifestyle and the benefits that gives you. Possibly fewer food shopping trips, more fruit and veg in your diet, more exercise. It gave us all of that and more. It made us think more about what we were eating, and how we were putting together the meals that we did. It has saved us money on Christmas gifts for family (who did love the chutneys BTW). We found that by growing just some of the vegetables we also focused on the taste of the vegetable and it changed our eating habits too! But, above all, growing our own vegetables did also save us money!
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