With a high rate of unemployment and talk of food prices rising, many families are looking for ways to cut and stick to their grocery budgets. Unfortunately, for many this means that fresh produce is cut out of the menu. Luckily, there is a way to work around that and planning should begin now. In times of high produce costs, the best, and healthiest, place to turn is your own backyard. Growing your own produce does not require a lot of room but does require some planning and commitment.
Evaluate your needs
Even though snow may be covering the ground, the winter is a great time to begin planning your own backyard garden. Think of the produce that your family eats on a regular basis and decide what you want to grow. If salads are a staple in your home, lettuce is a good place to start. Visit your local nursery or garden store and talk to a garden specialist about what grows well in your area and when the recommended planting times are.
Look at your yard. Do you have room to dig up a large garden or are you limited by a small porch area? If you have the room, decide where you want to dig. Make sure the area will have adequate sunlight for your plants to grow. If you are limited to a porch, look at purchasing small planters or reusing old containers to hold your various plants. Peppers, tomatoes, lettuce and strawberries are examples of plants that work well in pots.
To wait or not to wait
Once you have the what, where and when figured out, you are set to start when the spring arrives. If you are impatient and want to start growing produce sooner, indoor gardens are always an option. These can range from simple window planter pots to full gardening systems. Products like the AeroGarden provide artificial sunlight and automatic watering system to create a mini garden indoors.
Enjoy fresh produce
With a little bit of planning and care, you garden will be up and growing in no time. There is nothing like going out and picking your very first piece of produce fresh from the garden. You may find that even if the food prices drop, you will prefer fresh from the yard better than the produce section.