Debt Reduction

Gardening to make a dent in my grocery budget

My husband and I have inhabited our house for about three years now. When we originally moved into the house in August 2007, it was too late to make any changes in the landscape, other than to do some clean up – the type you need to do once a house has been left on its own for a few months. The next year was the start of the Tidy Cat container garden … my attempt to grow tomato plants using the containers that I had lying around by virtue of the fact that we have a cat and the jumbo sizes of Tidy Cat litter come in neat, reusable plastic pails. Last year was a repeat of the container garden, but thanks to an odd summer with little rain and cooler temperatures, my tomato harvest was less than stellar.

This is a picture of the first Tidy Cat garden.
This is a picture of the first Tidy Cat garden. And oh look, an Era detergent bottle also snuck in there.

I’ve learned that I can grow tomato plants from seed and that although I attempt to garden to provide our household with fresh vegetables, gardening relaxes me. And luckily, I have a husband that indulges me (or maybe he wants a repeat of last year’s canned salsa) so this year I’m branching out into a raised garden bed. We have one sunny spot in our backyard and although we had to take down a very unruly lilac bush and tear down some weird structure that the original owner had put up to store scrap lumber (I have no clue …), starting next week, I’ll be able to install a proper garden!

Here are some pictures of this year’s seedlings:

Yes, two trays of tomatoes ... the top tray has some heirloom tomatoes called "Bloody Butcher" and the other side features some "salad mix" tomatoes. The bottom row are all Roma tomatoes.
I'm also trying to grow herbs - I have basil, rosemary and lavender planted. So far, only the basil is showing signs of life.
I'm also trying to grow herbs - I have basil, rosemary and lavender planted. So far, only the basil is showing signs of life.

One of my inspirations with gardening has been J.D. Roth’s website “Get Rich Slowly.” Although I’m sad to report that he’s not doing his Annual Garden Report this year (for the past few years he’s measured how much they’ve spent on seeds, energy, hours, etc., and have weighed that versus how much their harvest saved them overall from buying produce at the grocery store), here are a couple links about his garden project:

April 2010 update

And an excerpt from his new book featured at

What about the rest of you – what are you doing this year for your gardens?

Postscript: The Pioneer Woman is one of my favorite websites – as I was perusing another article of hers, I found this “Why I Love Growing Vegetables” and it pretty much sums up how I feel. 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Gardening to make a dent in my grocery budget

  1. Hey,
    I’m so impressed with your starter pods. You look so organized.
    I remember our whole breakfast nook taken over by my mom starting plants. My dad actually put a scaffold up in place of our kitchen table for her so she could have a few shelves.

    We’ve started a little more modestly in our home, with herbs and pees. We’ll see about more as it’s still going down to 1 degree celcius at night here.

    Thanks for the post,

  2. We’re full throttle on the garden this year, year 2 – planted some raspberry and blueberry bushes, and migrating the seedlings out to the outside. We took last year’s list of failures and replaced them with other things.

    Interestingly, all the herbs we planted last year are already up and going, hadn’t expected that so soon.

  3. We are doing our regular peas, carrots, beans, tomato, green peppers, strawberries this year. We are trying out cucmbers for the first time and basil….we’ll see.

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