6 Most Cost Effective Garden Vegetables

Written by Urban Sherp on March 26th, 2011

This is the time of year when all of the magazines feature these amazing, perfectly organized backyard gardens and every spring about this time, I fantasize about what it would be like to have my very own vegetable garden, but then am reminded I live in a city, where rodents roam free and the backyard could be practically be an archeological dig for the layers of trash buried beneath the layers of soil. But then I think, what if I did a raised bed? Or the gutter garden (sounds bad, but really is a clever idea)? Or the Woolly Pockets? Or a pest-protected GrowCamp Kit? A self-contained mobile planter? With the prices of food, especially good for you healthy food, skyrocketing maybe this is the year I’ll get over my fear of city gardening. Do you have a city garden? Would love to hear about it!

Here are 6 cost-effective vegetables recommended by EarthEasy that may prove that money does kind of grow on trees……

There are many benefits to growing your own vegetables, but saving money is not necessarily one of them. Some vegetables are simply cheaper to buy at the grocery store, and no amount of gardening savvy will result in a cost-saving benefit.

Over the years we have experimented with many vegetable crops, and while saving money is not the prime reason we grow vegetables, it is a consideration in our choice of what to plant. Although we are fortunate to have plenty of ground space for gardening, the work required to keep the beds fertile and weed free discourages us from planting some crops which are ‘dirt cheap’ when bought in season.

If you are growing vegetables in the hope of saving money, or want to make the most from limited garden space, here are some suggestions for crops which have delivered real cost savings for us. When planning your garden and buying seeds, however, be sure to choose varieties which do well in your growing region.

1. Lettuce

A typical head of red Leaf lettuce in Boston ranges from $1.49 to $2.49. A $2 package of lettuce seeds can last months if you plant a small amount of seeds and replant every 2-3 weeks and you’ll have fresh lettuce to harvest throughout the season.
Try Magenta or Concept.

2. Bell Peppers

Green peppers can range from $1.49 and up, sweet delicious red and yellow peppers run even higher. You can buy pepper plants already seeded for about $1.50, so if it yields at least 2 peppers, you’ll make your money back, hopefully you’ll see at least 6 peppers/plant. Let them turn to red and you’ll have an even bigger return on your investment.

3. Garlic

Garlic at the grocery store is usually about $2/bulb, but if you start growing garlic, you’ll have it running wild in no time at a cost of less than $.50/pound! Replant the following year with cloves saved from the last and you won’t have to buy garlic. My dad grows garlic and it grows like crazy! And the garlic scapes, that curly end part, make for an intense flavorful cooking ingredient.

4. Winter Squash

Estimated price of winter squash ranges between $1.29 and $1.99 a pound, but squash is another plant that grows like weeds. Eartheasy estimated that their four squash plants yielded about 40 squash about $200-$300 worth of squash for $8 ($2/squash plant)!

5. Tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes, big beef tomatoes, so many varieties and so easy to grow. Eartheasy’s garden estimates for $40 in plants and supplies, their garden had a final yield of $160-$320 worth of tomatoes. My dad grows cherry tomatoes and they are just so deliciously sweet and there is about a 3 week period where you can’t even keep up with how many tomatoes are produced. They always taste best straight from the vine. That’s how my nieces became cherry tomato lovers – picking their own!

6. Broccoli

Broccoli costs about $1.50 a pound, which is pretty cheap. Eartheasy’s ten broccoli plants produced about 2 pounds each, so about $30 worth of broccoli for a cost of about $10 in soil amendments, and it can be grown spring to fall which means fresh broccoli for a long time.

These are some great suggestions for a starter garden, easy to grow plants, that can help you save money, but for us it just taste better from the garden, so even if we are saving money it’s worth the cost for sweet, delicious home grown vegetables. You’ll never look at a store bought carrot the same way again.

1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Apr

    Thanks for the list! We just made a square-foot garden last week, and I am starting to plan what to grow. I’m happy to find your list, because I want to grow vegetables that are more expensive to buy at the grocery store than it is to grow in our own garden.

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