Cultivating cash in your garden


With food costs rising and household budgets tightening, home-grown garden solutions are a great way to both save and get a lot of green in 2009. Invest a little of your landscaping budget in veggie gardening, and you'll reap 25 times that value in a bounty unrivaled by store-bought produce.

Burpee harvested this significant stat at the conclusion of a ten-year-long cost analysis study, in which the seed company determined the cost savings for those growing their own produce instead of purchasing the same items at their local market.

According to the study, spend $50 on seeds and fertilizer, and you'll get $1,250 worth of produce. The only other things needed are a bit of pre-planning, a small and sunny plot (which can also take the form of planters or raised beds lining the perimeter of your yard), and light maintenance during the growing season.

What's more, depending on the vegetable varieties you choose, planting can begin as soon as winter comes to a close, and succession planting will keep new produce rolling into your kitchen once early crops have been harvested.

Vegetable gardening also gives your family a very affordable opportunity to try out heirloom and otherwise-gourmet varieties that can be costly market purchases, as well as assurance of a truly organic product.

So, while it may seem a little early to think about 2009 gardening plans, but it's not a moment too soon if you'd like to plot produce savings for the new year.

Tom Kraeutler is the Home Improvement Editor for AOL and co-author of My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure. He delivers expert home improvement tips each week as host of The Money Pit, a nationally syndicated home improvement radio program.

Originally published