tips for a profitable garden

how to create a profitable garden

Gardening is a fantastic summer activity if you have the outdoor space available. It’s a way to get outside, involves light activity, and can easily be done with little ones. But a garden can quickly become an expensive chore if you aren’t careful. My husband and I started off with homemade raised garden beds at our rental, and three years later we’ve got a pretty huge garden at our home. Along the way, we’ve made a few mistakes and done some things right to where I’d like to share tips to create a profitable garden.

1. grow the most expensive produce you eat

Do you shop at Aldi? If you do, you know the produce selection is good, but limited at best. There are a handful of fresh vegetables available, but nothing like a specialty grocery store would have. Take any “fancier” produce you would purchase (or like to purchase but it’s too expensive) and grow those first. Here are a few examples in our garden.

image via Home Depot

Now your top choices might look totally different, but whatever it is you want to eat, prioritize the most expensive items first.

2. use seeds if possible

Full disclosure that the first garden we had we used all starters and it was PRICY. While starters are much easier, they are also much more expensive! If this is your very first garden, starters can help you feel more confident. If you’ve had any garden experience, try seeds first. Read the directions and follow them as closely as possible. The easiest ones (in my opinion) are the ones which say to “sow directly into the ground.” Most herbs, squash, and greens tend to be easy like this. Last year, our yields were extremely high from seed packets I found at Dollar Tree for $0.10 each. It was amazing!

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3. skip the cutesy things

I know, those adorable chalk labels are just SO cute. But you seriously only need a handful of things to manage a garden. A pair of gardening gloves, basic garden tools, and some way to water your garden. All the cute gnomes and signs won’t grow you food. Sorry. IF you like those things, great! But don’t consider it an essential.

4. repurpose containers or materials

Last year, my husband took old apple orchard crates and turned them into raised garden beds by cutting them in half. They were FREE and saved us about $100 in wood. Check on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace for free wood, pallets, etc and get to work! If you don’t want to get that handy, look for containers to re-purpose and use for a container garden. Many greenhouses offer a “recycling” area for plastic containers that they will happily allow you to take and use. Other examples would be to use cardboard egg cartons to grow seedlings instead of purchasing “seed containers.”

the four square older boxes were our beds from 2018 made from apple crates. As you can see we drastically expanded for 2019!

5. ask for help

It’s perfectly fine to admit that you aren’t a gardening expert. This is especially true if your’e in your first 5 years of gardening. Join a Facebook group or other online forum in your area. Look for helpful tips there and ASK questions. What I’ve learned is that gardeners are a very kind community of people that really want others to succeed. I’ve received free plants and loads of advice. And it didn’t take too long before I felt empowered enough to share my own advice too. So ask someone if you feel stuck, or seek out more information online. Best of luck with your garden!

-Rachel

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