Grow your own food

March 31, 2009 5:09:41 PM PDT
Vegetable gardens are popping up all over the country. According to a survey by the National Gardening Association, food gardening will jump 19% this year over last year. That's 17 million more gardenersBut for those who don't have a green thumb, is it hard to get started and is it expensive?

Initially you are going to make a small investment, but gardeners we spoke with say the return is huge. In fact, a pack of seeds is estimated to produce $50 worth of veggies. For first timers the key is to start small.

If anyone knows how to stretch their dollar, it's Super Saver Erin Libranda. While she uses coupons to get most of her groceries, produce coupons are hard to come by so she turned to gardening to get fresh fruits and vegetables.

"It saves a lot of money in the long run," she told us.

But where do you begin? First some basics:

Pick a sunny location for your garden - most plants will need 8 full hours of sun to grow Next, choose soil specifically for gardening

And when it comes to watering, one inch of water a week is adequate for most vegetables Finally choose the right plants that work in in this texas climate.

"Some of the no fail things are sugar snap peas, green beans, tomatoes, peppers," the Super Saver told us.

Erin says if you're overwhelmed by the idea of digging up a garden container gardening may be the way to go. For this type of project, you'll plant several seeds of the same plant in a single container. You'll need a pot, some dirt, potting soil and seeds. In about five minutes, we have our green bean seeds planted. This project costs $15.

"I am going to start these out in a container and once they get bigger, I am going to transfer them in the ground," Erin told us.

Erin also suggests using saplings from someone else's garden to plant other varieties of fruits and veggies.

"It's no expense, all you need is the pot you are going to put it in and some dirt," she advised.

Because she got the saplings for free, this project cost $5. If you want to build a larger garden like Erin's, it requires more work and more money but she says it worth it.

Her 8x16 foot garden cost her $100 in planting soil, $15 for materials and another $15 in seeds. Erin also saves by trading fruits and veggies.

"I have about five neighbors that we all share our garden stuff, they plant different things and then we all do a swap on our own," she told us.

Erin says you have to maintain your garden, but she says her cost is minimal. She uses straw to keep weeds out and uses rain water to water her plants.

Here are some of the easiest fruits and vegetables to plant in Texas.

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