What Growing a Vegetable Garden Can Teach You About Finance

It’s no secret that eating vegetables has significant health benefits, from helping you manage your weight to lowering your cholesterol. Growing your own garden this spring and summer can help you add vegetables to your diet. And if you’re managing your finances, you already have a good idea of what goes into managing a garden.

The basic skills you need to manage finances – like having the flexibility to adapt to new conditions, learn about new products and plan ahead – are equally essential for gardening. Both activities entail accounting for costs and returns, planning short-term and long-term investments and saving wisely.

If you’re looking to brush up on your financial skills, or even want to teach your kids about money, growing a vegetable garden can be a great learning experience. Of course, maintaining a garden isn’t just an exercise in financial education. It can also have a real impact on lowering your grocery bill.

After you invest start-up costs –soil, seeds, plants, gardening tools – the savings can add up quickly. An article on HouseLogic recommends starting with plants that offer a high yield. A $2 tomato plant may yield 10 to 15 tomatoes, saving you from $15 to $23 per plant.

That may not sound like a lot, but you’d be surprised how quickly the savings can add up. “The average family with a vegetable garden spends just $70 a year on it and grows an estimated $600 worth of vegetables,” The Wall Street Journal noted recently, citing the National Gardening Association.

If you’re new to gardening, the Internet is full of tips on getting started. Sites like Garden.org and HGTV.com are good places to start, offering basic information like a Gardener’s Dictionary to step-by-step guides to growing salad greens year-round.

Are you growing your own vegetables this year? Do you have any tips or benefits to share with new gardeners?

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    Your first time around, start with starter plants, not seeds. It will reduce your financial gain because plants cost more but you should have better luck. Seed starting kits can also be a lost investment if they all flop.

    As the years go by and you get more experience, replace some plants with seeds and give them a try.

    Just like financial savings, you have to keep up with your garden as well. Get out there and keep it weeded and watered throughout the season. Don’t get burnt out just planting them and still expect a bountiful harvest.

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