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Reduce your grocery budget with container gardens

When many people hear the term “container garden,” they tend to think of a large pot on the patio with a big tomato or pepper plant. However, container gardening offers many more possibilities and solutions, no matter how small of a space you have to work with. Growing your own produce can help to reduce your grocery budget, while also providing healthy and fresh food additions to your diet.

This homemade gutter garden is filled with various lettuce plants, as well as rows of strawberries.
Debbie Lundin

The simple containers

There is nothing wrong with the idea of simple garden containers, such as planter pots, filled with plants such as tomatoes, peppers and herbs. Provided you have a patio or area to place these pots, these small produce gardens can be a great way to start. Unfortunately, they can make crops like melons or corn a little more difficult to grow.

‘Lettuce’ begin with something different

If salads are a big part of your daily diet, growing your own lettuce can greatly reduce your grocery budget. While growing lettuce in a small pot is possible, other options allow you to grow more without a lot of space. In this case, recycled or new pieces of guttering offer the perfect growing container. Mounted on an outdoor wall or on a wooden frame, simply fill the guttering with soil and plant your seeds. Soon you will have a thriving salad garden. Simply step out to your garden and cut the lettuce fresh when you are ready to eat.

Hang that produce up

In many outdoor gardens, hanging baskets typically hold beautiful blooming flowers. However, those same baskets make great planters for things like strawberries and cucumbers. Another product, called Topsy Turvy, takes the ides of hanging baskets and growing produce to a different level. These hanging planters turn growing upside down. Instead of your tomato plant sitting on your back patio, it hangs from the planter, upside down. You place the plant in the bottom of the basket, plant side hanging down, and then fill the remaining space with top soil. The plant grows upside down, but yields the same bright red produce. The top space of these baskets also makes a handy spot to plant herbs, such as cilantro. Topsy Turvy also has planters for pepper plants, which can also be used to plant cucumbers and other vine produce.

Use your imagination

When it comes to container gardening, you are not limited to using the ‘right’ containers. Items such as old suitcases, large plastic tote containers, old desk or dresser drawers, recycled 2-liter soda bottles and even a bag of potting soil can work. Just about any container can offer a garden platform for your produce, with a few considerations. When growing vegetables or fruits, you do not want to plant directly in any container made from or previously containing toxic material, such as treated wood or old paint cans. To ensure your plants grow properly, choose containers that will support root or plant growth. For example, carrots grow deep under the soil surface, so they require a deep container that allows the root to grow. In this case, a gutter garden container would not work. Let your imagine soar and create a garden that fits your personality and space, while also helping to reduce your grocery budget.