With inflation getting higher and paychecks not stretching as far as they once did, many people are taking the initiative this year and starting their gardens to produce a portion of their families’ food. You don’t have to own significant land to garden – you can grow on a balcony, grow indoors, and have smaller gardens if your yard is limited in space. Even if money is no issue for you, the rewards of gardening are immense from improved physical health, organic and healthier groceries, and just spending quality time with loved ones if they join in on the hobby with you. Let’s look at some of the best foods you can grow this summer at home to keep your budget and your body healthy.
For novice gardeners, tomato plants are incredibly rewarding because they are easy to cultivate. They grow well in the ground, in containers, and even hanging upside down. You don’t need to invest a lot of money keeping your tomatoes alive. Additionally, tomatoes are a smart choice economically as they can be used in various dishes and canned to be used later. You and your family can enjoy them in fresh salads and tomato sandwiches immediately, and you can make your own salsa or pasta sauces to be saved for the winter months.
While lettuces take a little more TLC, the great thing about them is that they can also be grown year-round if you invest in covers for your raised beds or wherever you plant your greens. Most of us eat a salad at least once a day – and if you’re not, you should be! Investing in various lettuces is worth it as they yield year-round and are eaten almost daily.
Depending on which zone you live in, fruit trees are an excellent investment. While purchasing a tree upfront is more costly than vegetable seeds, you get years and years of delicious, fresh crops from them. Don’t be intimidated to plant apple, pear, or peach trees virtually anywhere – your local nurseries can advise you. And, if you live in a warmer climate, citrus trees are well worth it. Even in colder regions, small lemon trees can be brought indoors during winter, and you’ll still have fresh lemons or limes each summer if you take care of them year-round.
If you’re an experienced gardener looking to take things up a notch, you can always experiment with more exotic plants. Depending on where you live, you may need a greenhouse or invest in specific lighting and other equipment to grow indoors – but acai palms, soursop, or jackfruit don’t need to be limited to their native climates. With some research and trial and error, you too can enjoy your favorite exotic fruits grown from the comfort of your own home.
If you’re a parent, you want the best for your baby, and if you’ve done some research, you may be concerned about heavy metals in baby food that can be bought at the grocery store. Growing nutritious greens like broccoli, peas, and squash in your garden is easy, but you have complete control over what your baby is consuming – talk about peace of mind. Grow enough, and you can puree and freeze them, so you have plenty on hand long after the season is over. And if you planted the fruit mentioned above, homemade applesauce or pureed pears are some of the top foods babies enjoy.
Keep Things Spicy
Another straightforward plant to grow in your garden is any variety of pepper plants. Whether you want spicy poblanos or chiles to sweeter bell pepper, all varieties are easy to grow. These plants produce a lot of vegetables, so while you may be tempted to buy several plants, going with one of each variety you and your family enjoy is more than enough.
Growing a garden is a rewarding and fulfilling hobby, not to mention saving you a ton of money from the grocery store. Additionally, you control the pesticides used and can rest assured you’re eating the healthiest and freshest produce when you grow your own. While it does take some research and hard work, your efforts pay off in spades, self-confidence, and most importantly, health. Now get growing!