Gardening can be a great way to reduce the cost of feeding your family while improving the quality of food your family is receiving. Planning a garden intended to feed your family can be easy with a little thought and preparation. Just like every family, each garden is unique and full of possibilities.
The garden is easily more than just a play area for the children. It can provide you with food that not only saves you money but we are more likely to eat and try food that we have grown ourselves. We might not buy wonky veg in a supermarket but if you have grown it in your garden I bet you will eat it!
First things first, decide what you want to grow in your garden. Fun new foods are always great for making things interesting but the majority of your garden should be things you know for a fact your family likes. This will keep you from wasting time and resources to be left with a pile of food no one will eat.
How much you need to grow can vary by many factors. How many people in your home eat each food? Do you wish to store food for the winter or are you wanting to use your garden only as fresh produce? If you are looking to lower your food budget during the gardening season you can grow considerably less than if you are trying to feed your entire family for a year. Most families do better growing for the season rather than for the year while growing in their backyard.
- To make the most of the space you have grow vertically whenever possible, beans are great for this. My children used to love popping the peas from their pods for me! Take advantage of companion planting to allow you to put more plants in a smaller space while giving your plants an advantage is surviving pests and disease.
- To grow more food and have a consistent harvest throughout the gardening season stagger your planting every couple weeks for plants you intend to grow many of. This will keep a consistent harvest going to feed your family without any waste from produce you can not eat or have the time and resources to preserve from all being ripe and ready at once.
- Eating seasonal is much better for us and more natural. The foods that are easy for beginners to grow include strawberries and tomatoes both can be grown in containers stored on a patio. These are also fun for the children to grow as they grow fast and produce berries quickly. I spotted that LionsHome sell complete berry planting kits. I am always encouraging my kids to eat fresh fruit and veg and this would help them.
- If you end up with a glut of one particular produce, see if you can swap with a friend or neighbour. They may not be growers but maybe they make jam or even bake cakes!
- Growing herbs is also really quick and easy and can jazz up the most standard of meals. Many herbs can be grown on a windowsill and save even more space. They make great additions to summer salads or jacket potatoes.
Planning a garden that will feed your family just makes sense both for your finances but also for the environment.