Groceries can be very expensive, even more so if you often lean toward buying fresh organic produce.
But you may be able to get in some very healthy options without putting as much of a strain on your budget if you do some careful planning. Gardening is a great way to get healthy food as the long-term cost of food tends to be lower if you grow things yourself instead of buying it when it is already grown. Yes, it is a time investment and as they say “time is money”, but if you want a lot of produce for less money and go about it wisely gardening can still be very much worth it the time and effort.
To the most out of gardening financially I have noticed it is generally less expensive to buy the seeds of the kind of plants you want to buy instead of buying the baby plants already sprouted that are sometimes sold in the gardening section of some stores. There is some risk of weeding out the wrong plants if you are not familiar with how the plants you want to grow will look at various stages of development. You need to be really careful that you don’t mistake your new plants with weeds. An easy way to avoid confusion would be to start the seeds in pots away from the possibility of contamination with weeds and transfer them to the ground after they sprout and are big enough for you to recognize and differentiate from other plants during weeding.
However, before you buy anything at all it is vital to do some careful planning. Not all plants grow as well in all climates and soil conditions so you need to be sure you are investing your time and money in something you can actually grow successfully. Also, you need to take into consideration how large any plant will get at maturity and the amount of space you have to grow it. With limited space be very careful in your selection to ensure you are making the most of the space you have by picking the most practical plants to meet your dietary needs. Even if you do have a lot of space you still shouldn’t don’t get too carried away. Don’t start a gardening project that is larger than you have time for. Remember it will need maintenance. Also remember one seed can grow into a plant that could produce much more than the one item you planted.
Focus on more on the things you consider to be staples in your diet. If you don’t eat a lot of red peppers there is no need to get ten plants if you may not eat the amount even two would yield. Plant according to your dietary needs to avoid food waste. And in the event that you still end up with extra food there is a principle in the Torah that should be followed. “When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow.” Deuteronomy 24:19-20 When you have so much food you can afford to overlook some you should share with those who cannot.
In modern times it may not be likely that needy strangers will just happen upon your garden with the understanding that they are free to help themselves to the excess so if you don’t gather it the food rot and go to waste. And of course, if it goes to waste that would contradict the point of the Torah which is to use your excess to help the needy. So, we should honor the principle of the Torah the best way we can and actively seek to share what we have with others. Even if you can’t find anyone desperately in need you can give to you can still share with someone and invite hungry people over to eat the food you cook. By growing a garden not only can you save money you can be a blessing to others as well. If you only buy one vegetable and do nothing more you will have to buy it again, but if you plant one seed more can continue to grow for you and others.
Picture originally found here