Photo by Pixabay/ejaugsburg
Here are our 10 favorite money-saving crops.
1. Leafy Herbs
Leafy herbs don’t store or travel well, so they’re expensive to buy. Gardeners can save money by growing basil, parsley, cilantro and other leafy herbs to harvest fresh as required.
2. Cut-and-come-again Lettuce
Cut-and-come-again lettuce is another short-lived crop once harvested, but by growing your own and harvesting little and often, a single sowing can continue to produce fresh leaves for months. Even just a few containers can produce plenty of fresh leaves.
3. Quick-growing Salad Ingredients
Rapid-growing salad ingredients like radishes, baby beets and scallions grow fast enough to make repeat sowings as you harvest throughout the growing season. You can even grow them in gaps between slower maturing crops so they don’t take up extra space.
4. Pole Beans
Healthy, filling, pole beans are full of plant protein. Beans will produce pods in abundance all summer long, so long as you keep on picking.
5. Fruiting Vegetables
Fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers that can be trained to grow vertically or that climb will produce lots of fruits from a relatively small area. Give them the sunniest spot you can find and feed plants regularly to boost both yield and taste.
Garlic is relatively expensive but takes up little space, and it stores well too. Harvest garlic by midsummer and you’ll still have time to grow a follow-on crop to make the most of your space.
Harvest celery by the stem as required to avoid the waste that often accompanies purchasing whole heads of celery. Self-blanching varieties are the easiest to grow.
Zucchini can be used in just about everything from stir-fries to cakes, and it’s incredibly prolific. Try growing marigolds or other companion flowers nearby to improve pollination and boost harvests further.
9. Soft fruits
Soft fruits are easily damaged, so they require careful handling and packaging. This makes them expensive to buy, but they’re very easy to grow. Freeze or can any excess.
10. Leafy Greens
Hard-working leafy greens such as chard and kale can keep cropping for months, so you can enjoy fresh greens steamed, stewed or blitzed up into your morning smoothie for practically free.
Get More Tips with These Great Gardening Resources
Our popular Vegetable Garden Planner can help you map out your garden design, space crops, know when to plant which crops in your exact location, and much more.
Need crop-specific growing information? Browse our Crops at a Glance Guide for advice on planting and caring for dozens of garden crops.
Watch more videos on gardening techniques and other self-reliance, DIY topics on our Wiser Living Videos page.