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Lower Your Grocery Bill by Growing Your Own Food

Guest post from Angi of Schneider Peeps

Having six children, three of whom are teenage boys, I often get asked how we keep them fed. To be honest, it’s only by the grace of God. Growing children can eat a lot and teenage boys, well, they take eating to a whole new level.

Growing our own food helps keep our grocery budget down.

However, if we’re not careful, we can spend way too much growing our food and gardening becomes a hobby instead of a budget helper.

So, how can we have a low budget and productive garden?


It’s been said that 10 minutes spent planning will save you an hour. I think that applies to gardening as well.

  • Start with finding out your planting zone and times and what grows well in your area. No sense in planting watermelons if you live in Siberia, unless you have a greenhouse, because they probably won’t ripen.
  • Find a good gardening book that is written specifically for your area. This book should make you feel good about what you are doing. So if it leaves you feeling guilty, find another one. If you live in Texas a good one is The Organic Gardener by Howard Garrett.
  • Talk with other gardeners in your area. Most county extensions have Master Gardeners programs and they are very helpful, so is the county extension agent. Also, don’t overlook the local nurseries and feed stores. These people have a vested interest in you succeeding in your gardening.


Now that you know what you can plant and when, it’s time to decide what you actually will plant.

  • Decide how much space and time you can devote to your garden. Maybe you have some space on your apartment balcony or maybe you have some acreage. It doesn’t really matter, but you need to make a decision about space. Also think about your time. It’s better to grow a few plants well than to have a huge garden that you can’t tend and feel guilty about.
  • Decide what you really want to plant. Although we have lots of space we don’t have lots of time so we’ve decided to only plant those things that we like and eat regularly. When we need to make a decision between two plants, we plant the one that is more expensive to buy. For instance, we’ve decided that we will not plant corn this year. Although we love corn, we only eat it once or twice a month. It also takes up a lot of space and it’s hard to keep the worms out. Plus, we can get local corn still in its husks 10 for $1 around July 4th. If I want to can or freeze some I can just get it then and use the space to plant something else like tomatoes that we use almost every day.
  • Decide what to start by seed and what to start with transplants. Starting plants by seed is definitely the cheapest way to go. You can use all kinds of containers to start seeds: empty toilet paper rolls, newspaper pots, yogurt containers, even egg shells. You can also purchase peat pots or a soil block builder. It’s best to start with seed starting soil. It is finer and the seeds have an easier time germinating. Although it’s cheaper to start with seeds, don’t feel guilty buying some transplants especially if you’re getting a late start. Gardening with transplants is still cheaper than buying produce.

Plant and Tend

Now it’s time to actually put the garden in and care for it.

  • If you’re new to gardening and need things like pots, spades or even a tiller, ask around and post on Freecycle. There are often people who used to garden and for various reasons no longer do — and have stuff they will gladly give you.
  • Start collecting leaves. We use leaves to mulch our garden and keep the weeds down. We also let it compost down and it makes great soil. Once word gets out that you want leaves people will start calling you telling you they have some for you. Although we have quite a few trees on our property we don’t rake. We let our neighbors do all the hard work and just go collect the leaves from the curb.
  • Use newspaper to keep weeds down. We lay a thick layer of newspaper down in between plants and cover it with leaves to keep weeds down.
  • Start composting. Even if you don’t have a spot for a large compost bin you can compost right in your garden by burying your scraps (don’t bury anything that will attract animals). Or you can worm compost in a very small space.
  • Spend a little time each day or every other day checking on your garden. Look for bugs that need to be dealt with, pull weeds, pick veggies and water. Try to stay on top of the weeding otherwise you’ll wind up with a big weedy mess.


After all this research, planning, planting and tending it is important to not get too stressed out if things don’t go quite like you planned. There will always be something… pests, too little or too much rain, or bad seeds that will impact our harvest. All we can do is our best and leave the rest to God.

Angi is a pastor’s wife and mom of 6 children who spends her days homeschooling, crafting, gardening, playing chauffer, keeping chickens, trying to learn how take better pictures and blogging at SchneiderPeeps.

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  • Leighann says:

    I started my own garden this year. Because we don’t have much land to plant on, and because we’re going to be moving in the next few months, I planted everything in containers. So far I have several little sprouts! Hopefully this will save my family a lot of money, and because I know exactly how the plants are being treated (without pesticides) I feel a lot better about them eating it.

  • Daily Citron says:

    If you’re looking for gardening resources, I just recently posted Top 10 Websites for Gardening Tips. The list of websites includes websites that have tips for container gardening, gardening with children, window gardening, kitchen gardens, you name it. I visit those websites regularly when I need tips or inspiration (although I haven’t gone as extreme as window gardening, where you rig up a vertical garden in your window).

  • Rebecca says:

    1. I would love to know more about composting. We just have a quarter acre lot in a subdivision so we don’t want anything big but what I have read makes it sound like a big, long-term thing, so I’d love to know how to do it on a smaller scale

    2. Can you give any advice on when we should start planting seeds?

  • Melissa says:

    Thanks for this post! I just reserved my plot in a community garden, so this will be our first time gardening. I am looking to grow organic food rather than paying the high prices at the grocery store.

  • Allison says:

    We just started square foot gardening last fall. We have had great results! Do an internet search or go to your local library if you are not familiar with it… a little work and cost in the beginning (we already had the boards we needed from a home renovation we did) but maintenance is very low and everything we have planted (both plants and seeds) has produced well!!

  • Meredith says:

    Also, if you can’t garden because of an hoa (our problem) or live in an apartment, look around, there are community gardens everywhere. We pay 30 a year for a 10×10 plot of land and we get to keep what we grow. In return, we have to work 20 total hours in the main community garden that helps a local shelter.

  • Danielle B says:

    Great article! Because we rent and can’t do anything to the landscape, we have to only use containers for our gardening. In 2009, I grew 7 tomato plants and even though I didn’t have enough to can, we still didn’t have to buy tomatoes for about three months! The last two years we’ve lost our entire tomato “crop” due to various fungus and pest infestations, but my learning curve changed significantly due to those experiences.
    I love gardening and growing our own food, so when I’m planning what we’re going to grow I have to restrain myself and really strategize based on what costs the most fresh even during peak harvest months in the grocery store. Then I focus on what things we’ll eat the most of, and lastly what I can grow enough of to possibly can. This is just what works us, since our space is so tiny and it all has to be in containers. 🙂
    Another great site I love for being encouraged in strategizing your garden plans is at The Prudent Homemaker’s website.

    • It’s amazing what you can grow in containers. We rented for a couple of years and grew some citrus trees in containters. There’s a book called Growing Tasty Tropical Trees that is all about growing in containers and mostly inside.

      The Prudent Homemaker’s site is very, very inspirational!!

    • I agree about PH’s website – she is amazing! I’ve sometimes wondered if she ever has thought about doing other people’s yard as a business – if I had the money, and lived in her area, I’d hire her! In the meantime, I love looking at her website and dreaming about what our garden could someday look like.

  • Bri says:

    oh, and 1 last one- check out the Victory Garden project- all about creating an organic garden for $25! (I did it too)

  • Jamie says:

    Composting does save a bundle. We have a pile fenced off with chicken wire in the corner of our yard. We never have to buy dirt anymore and the soil quality is so much better. Dirt isn’t cheap! And it makes me feel good knowing even our scraps, lawn clipping, etc. are all being repurposed. We’re squeezing extra value out of all the produce we eat. I’d recommend buying a little covered bucket for your kitchen unless you plan to take several trips to your compost pile a day. It can get smelly.

    • Good dirt in our area is $75 a cubic yard!! Crazy. We also have a bucket under our sink we take out each day – to the chickens instead of the compost. We just use a gallon plastic ice cream container. Someone mentioned lining it with newspaper that’s a great idea.

      • Jamie says:

        We used to use a covered gallon ice cream bucket too. Then my parents gave us a very chic stainless steel bucket with odor absorbing pads for Christmas. I would have never splurged for it myself, but boy do I enjoy it!

  • Angi- thanks so much for mentioning the opportunity cost of time. All it takes is one impulse trip to Lowe’s or one Saturday when you order pizza instead of cooking because you’re tired from the yard work for gardening to go from budget helper to expensive hobby!

  • Sarah says:

    It is worth keeping records of gardening costs and what actually saves money. We found that we did really well with somethings e.g. basil but spent far more growing others than it would have cost to buy them e.g. tomatoes. My son did the maths for us as part of his home education. We still plan to grow tomatoes this year but already had seeds and plan not to use expensive gro-bags.

    • Momof5 says:

      That’s a great point – plus it’s so much fun to find out what you’re saving. I was feeling like my garden was just too expensive a hobby, so two summers ago I kept track of what I harvested and in the fall, I added up what I likely saved, using Farmer’s Market prices. It’s true I probably wouldn’t have spent $750 at the Farmer’s Market, no matter how beautiful the veggies, but knowing my tomatoes and lettuce and raspberries had added up to a meaningful dollar amount made the weeding seem less miserable 🙂

      Also, when you’re figuring your costs, remember two things: Some big expenses, like building raised beds or a bringing in a load of good dirt, really make a difference over many years, so the cost of one year’s worth of tomatoes doesn’t really take that into account. And whatever you would have done with the sunny space otherwise should be accounted for, too; when I buy a flat of veggie starts in the spring it seems like a lot of $, but compared to the many pots of geraniums or other pretty things that I might have bought to perk up that space if it weren’t growing tomatoes, it’s pretty even.

      One last thing about cost: feeling pinched this winter when the seed catalogs started arriving, I made a complete inventory of my seeds and supplies. I’d expected to need 100 bucks worth of seeds, seedlings, and supplies, but it turns out I already had almost everything I wanted. I’ll need to spend $10 or so on seed potatoes later this month, but my many-year-old tomato and pepper seeds germinated happily under a plant light last week. A single packet has a hundred or more seeds in it; unless you’re on a small farm, that $1.69 should last 3 years or more. Seems like a bargain!

  • Wendy says:

    Also remember it’s not always necessary to start seeds in special soil or containers. We plant most all of our garden from seed planted directly in garden soil…no transplanting involved. It really depends on your area. One other thing, when looking at gardening websites, be sure to go to ones with “edu” on the end. These are affiliated with educational centers and are more reliable then others. Just make sure if it is a college site, that it is one from your area of the country. It makes a big difference when you plant in the north east vs the south. Better yet, just ask an elderly gentleman. Most of them grew up working in a garden or even have one now. My grandpa taught my husband to garden. My husband had never worked a garden growing up. Now he loves it.

    • Absolutely! I only start some seeds early – because I’m impatient. But most get planted right in the garden. That said, if you have a really short season you should consider starting seeds indoors.

      • Wendy says:

        You sound like my husband. He would love a small green house so he could start early planting. He just drools everytime he sees the small one my uncle has. Maybe one day we’ll break down and get him one. 🙂 In the mean time, he can be content just planting seeds in the garden. Fortunately we live in the south so we have a pretty long growing season anyway.

  • Peggy says:

    I have four raised bed gardens and a patio full of containers. I do grow some less expensive things, like perennial onions, but mostly I focus on things to can for winter. Our local produce is great, plentiful and inexpensive, but unless we eat exclusively seasonally, good produce is crazy expensive out of season.

  • Katie L says:

    Great post! Thanks for the gentle reminder not to make it (another) thing to feel guilty about. Sometimes I think about how great it would be to grow our own food, but right now, with very small helpers in a very small apartment, we’re sticking with herbs in the window. This first step has saved us a lot of money, flavored up some really simple meals, and revealed a real love for growing things in my 5yo.

    • Every little bit helps. What doesn’t help is feeling guitly about what God hasn’t put on your heart to do. I should mention that while I have 6 children 5 of them are older (10yo boy, 12yo girl, 14yo boy, 16yo boy and 18 yo boy). They are a lot of help with the garden and the 2 yr old. When my older children were little and we lived in an apartment we didn’t even grow herbs so you are way ahead of me.

  • Chris says:

    Another good way to keep costs down is selling any excess produce. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. I live on a main road, and when I have extra tomatoes, peppers, or whatever I put a table out near the road with a “produce for sale” sign. I just leave a coffee can on the table with a note that says “please pay what you think is fair”. Everyone thought I was crazy and that all my produce AND money would disappear, but I stuck to my faith in the honesty of others and guess what, I think I actually made more money that if I had set the prices myself! 😀 I also used to sell the extra eggs out of my home when I had chickens. Boy do I miss those fresh eggs!

  • Lettuce, green onions, Swiss chard, and herbs are easy to grow, and really pay off financially in the garden. My green onions were bought as starts from Home Depot 5 years ago–and they reseed themselves in the garden every year. For $4, I haven’t had to buy green onions for the last 5 years–and I can harvest them year-round.

    Lettuce is a great one to grow. Seed packets are $1.29 to $3.99, and they contain 200-750 seeds each. Even if only 3 of them grow, you’ll come out ahead of grocery store prices.

    Many herbs are perennials, so once you’ve planted them, you don’t have to plant them again.

    Swiss chard grows about 10 months before it bolts, and you just keep harvesting the outer leaves until then. It will grow all the way down to 15ºF, so for many people, it can be grown year-round. We’ve been harvesting several times a week right now.

    We grow lots of fruit at our house, too: grapes, peaches, plums, pomegranates, cherries, pears, Asian pears, apples, blackberries, and more.

    I spend an average of 1 hour a day in the garden–but there are days when I’m not out at all, and days when I am out more, at planting time and pruning time. I can be out with the children while they play, or at naptime. In the summer I go out in the early morning or late evening. It’s satisfying work, and much more fun for me than taking a walk! (I prefer exercise that involves getting something done at the same time!)

    • Andrea says:

      What you can grow easily really depends on your local climate, the amount of sun you get and the pests in your area.

      A few years ago, I thought tomatoes and cucumbers were easy to grow, because I’d had great success with them for years. Then we moved. Now, I think peas and peppers are super easy. I’m going to try lettuce again this year, but it’s failed for three years in a row, so we shall see.

    • I love repeater onions. We haven’t planted any here (we moved last fall) but we will remedy that this weekend.

    • leah says:

      Yes on the swiss chard! we love it in tarts and a sweet potato/chard gratin recipe from Smitten Kitchen. It is a biennial so it grows a long time!

  • Andrea says:

    One thing not mentioned in this article…choose your garden spot with care. Don’t plant on top of your septic system leach field, in easements on your property or any other area that might cause headaches down the road.

    Also consider the amount of sun and shade in your yard. Most plants need 6 to 10 hours of full sun every day. If your lot is shady, you might not be able to plant much of a garden, but you may be able to container garden along the edge of your driveway or on your deck. The opposite is also true: if your yard is super sunny and hot, you might have to provide some shade/cover for tender plants.

  • We’re planning on starting our first herb and vegetable garden in a few weeks. My cousin also gave us some Topsy Turvy strawberries and tomatoes so we’ll have those as well. We’ve never used these before so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll be successful at growing them.

  • Lucky says:

    Here’s a list of things that are easy for me to grow in Virginia:
    From seed — lettuce, swiss chard, peas (in the fall only), green onions
    From starter plants — peppers, lavendar, rosemary, strawberries, oregano, celery

    Everything else has been so-so. I’ve had my garden for about 10 years now, and mostly I just stick to what I know works and forget the rest. Even though I’m not getting the big crops of tomatoes and squash I first pictured, I still do really well. It took a few years and some trial and error though!

    My favorite book is Burpee’s Organic Vegetable Book.

  • Penny T. says:

    I found something on Pintrest about taking the bottoms of organic celery (I only buy organic so there’s no pesticide worries) and planting them in a container (or garden). You can regrow the celery. I planted two in a container and they are definitely growing. Place them right side up in the container or garden and cover with about 1/2 in. of soil or less. Very excited about that discovery.

  • Camille says:

    I’m starting a gardening adventure this year. I’ve grown things but this will be my first large garden. My dad has gardened every year and his garden is half the size of his huge back yard, so I’ve had a good teacher. Don’t forget about all of the wonderful exercise you get when you garden and how much better it is for the environment. Also, there is nothing better than the taste of a tomato picked off of one of your plants. With a little planning and effort it’s a great way to save money, save the environment and save your waistline all in one.

  • Stacy says:

    great article and useful! however, I’m sorry. I can’t get past the fact that you make your neighbors rake up all the leaves that have fallen from your trees after they’ve blown over to their property and then you just collect them off their curbs? I’m sure they love that. why not just pick them off your own property and give your neighbors a break?

    • Michelle H. says:

      I believe Angi meant the neighbors’ are raking leaves from their own yards to clean up, and then letting Angi take the bagged leaves. I don’t think it means that Angi’s trees are dropping leave in everyone else’s yards. We don’t take our leaves either – we mulch them with the lawnmower instead, so I often get leaves from neighbors who prefer to rake their yards.

    • I think the idea presented was that you could post for wanted leaves and anyone else in the community who has trees you could go and pick them up…I have seen this where I live and many have replied they have leaves if you come rake…we are out in the country, but in the city, many people will rake them to the curb and it is easy to go by and pick up..

      It is possible that the trees on their property are not easily accessible to get to the leaves….I have tons of trees in the woods of my property but the undergrowth is too much to try and get to the leaves.

      • Stacy says:

        yeah I get the whole idea of using other peoples leaves. the same can be done here in jersey. anything is possible as far as where the trees lie on the property and not raking them. I have wooded lot next to me (dont own it) that we obviously dont rake, but we do rake what comes onto our property. I wasn’t getting that in depth with the particulars, rather just looking at the info presented.

    • oh, Stacy, I’m so sorry I’ve given that un-neighborly impression! Sometimes humor doesn’t come across online very well. We live on one and half acres and we don’t rake because we don’t mind leaves being on your ground. We mostly have pine trees in our front property and our back is completely fenced in. I don’t *think* many of our leaves are blowing through the neigborhood. Most people rake leaves and put them in brown paper bags on their curbs. We collect those when we see them. My boys hauled over 100 bags of leaves last year that were destined for the city dump. If they have a choice between raking up our leaves in the back or hauling already raked up leaves from the city, they would much rather just haul the already raked up leaves.

  • We are in Zone 8 in Texas so I just started planting a few weeks ago some of the cooler weather plants like broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, onions & potatoes (posted pics as well) In the next couple weeks I plan to start tomatoes, peppers, squash, zuchinni and okra. All of these grew very well for me last year. I use a Raised Bed garden that we started last yr. We have 2, 4×4 beds and you would be surprised at how much you can plant in there! As another poster said, once you set up the garden and fill it the first time, the cost is minimal the next year to just add a little more soil and compost and then buy your plants or seeds.

    We also grow a few herbs in containers like Basil & Cilantro. These are the herbs we use the most. Basil is usually $3 or more for a bunch to use in just one recipe, and the plant I buy usually is around that much so it more than pays for itself!! There is nothing tastier than fresh Basil in your pasta dish!!!

    One thing I would love to try is composting but just haven’t had the time to get it going. Maybe after this baby comes (due in April)!!!

    • The great thing about gardening in Texas is that you can probably keep your garden going year round. Last year we made tons of basil pesto and froze it. Sunday we opened our last gallon bag, I’m hoping I can make it last until our plants get a little bigger.

      • True! However last summer was SO hot that several plants stopped producing until it cooled in the Fall and then died once it got below freezing. But my Swiss Chard is doing amazing!! It has lived continuously the whole year and is still producing!

        Yum Basil Pesto sounds good!

        • The only thing that still produces for us in August is okra and peppers. Somtimes our tomato plants will be alive but not really producing anything until it cools off a bit. I’ve never had swiss chard but I think I’ll plant that this fall. We’ve had good luck with spinach making it through the winter. It’s much hardier than lettuce.

  • Michelle H. says:

    This is our second year with a small backyard garden, and we’re trying to go for the most bang for the buck. Grape tomatoes, lettuce, green onions, jalapenos, and cucumbers did well in our garden last year, but squash and radishes did not. We love bell peppers, but we paid more for the 2 plants we put in last year than we would have paid to buy 3 peppers at the store, so we’re skipping them this year in favor of more tomato plants. My kids could eat their weight in “baby matoes” if I let them.

    It’s funny how our little vegetable garden has started to affect the rest of our landscaping. Instead of greenery and flowers we’ve been going with edibles whenever possible. Herbs now grow in the front flowerbed instead of annuals, and when my husband wanted to put in a flowering vine along our chain link fence he decided to go with grapes instead. I find myself looking around the yard trying to figure out where I could put a raspberry patch, but I just don’t think we have the room. : )

    • The gardening bug has caught you! There’s a book called Eat Your Yard that is all about edible landscaping.

      Next time you buy a bell pepper at the store, plant some of the seeds. Peppers are usually not ever hybrids. We’ve planted many pepper seeds from peppers from the store and its worked great. I husband also has planted the seeds from the crushed red pepper bottle that we put on pizza. And the grew just fine.

  • I’ve always had a garden!
    I can’t wait to start it up this year and of course share pictures on my blog 🙂

  • Jenny says:

    Definitely look into Square Foot Gardening if you are limited on space (or even if you’re not). Also, to compost quickly, just turn the compost pile daily and keep it slightly moist. You can have usable compost in about 2-3 weeks.

    • Square Foot Gardening is great. We use some of the methods but I don’t plant lots of different things in one bed. I tried but it was too chaotic for me. We’re gardening about 1/4 acre so we have lots of beds.

  • Lorna says:

    Does anyone know of an inexpensive, not too difficult but REALLY effective way of making a rabbit proof fence? I live in the middle of the English countryside and anything I plant gets decimated by the local wildlife. Many times when I drive home after dark I spot ten or twenty rabbits on the lawn, plus game birds and the occasional deer! The deer are occasional visitors but I want to enclose a veg patch with a rabbit proof fence, only I’m not sure how to make a gate for it and if I spend too much on it I won’t have any budget left for seeds!

    • Good question. Have you tried “chicken wire”? I don’t know if it’s called that in England. It is lightweight metal fencing that has small octogon shapes. We’ve used it at the base of our chicken yard to keep the small chicks in the yard. My husband just bought some plastic fencing (40 inches tall) that has squares that are about 1″ wide that we will use in our new chicken yard to segregate the larger birds from the babies for a while. We’re using T posts to put it up. Maybe you could use something like that and then as you can afford to build a proper fence with a gate you can. For a “gate” with the plastic fencing maybe you could use some kind of clips can can easily be latched and unlatched to the T post to get in and out.

      • Chris says:

        I tried the plastic fencing one year, the rabbits chewed right through it. If you’re going to try fencing, better stick with something metal like the chicken wire.

    • Andrea Q says:

      One solution: get a dog.

      Flexible mesh netting might be an option.

    • Heather says:

      We had a bad rabbit problem until our neighbors got a cat.
      I’ve read that you should bury the fence so that they cannot burrow underneath it. There are pics online. Looked like a lot of work, which is why we never did it. Cayenne pepper sprinkled all over the plants helped a lot, but you have to do it after it rains.

    • Sara says:

      In all seriousness, you can also look into buying predator urine. (bobcat,etc). There are several websites, mostly to cater to hunters. It’s a great deterrent.

  • Pam says:

    Let’s forget community gardens for all those who can not grow one in their yard. I have a niece who rents an apartment in the city and they grow their garden in these type of plots.

  • We created a small garden a few years ago! I love it 🙂 We mostly grow tomatoes now. Here are a few photos of our garden:

  • Stephanie says:

    We are starting a lasagna garden this year, For the first time. I was intrigued by the idea of the soil block starter, but the link (on your site) wasn’t working. Where do you get one of these?

  • Brighid says:

    I love in the north so starting seeds is pretty much a given for me. I reuse tons of containers, especially the 4 pound strawberry containers from Costco. (They already come with drainage holes and a plastic cover to keep moisture in!)

    Some amount of trial and error is necessary: deer will come on our deck to eat strawberries so no berries for us. This year, I’m not planting tomatoes in the main beds due to last year’s fungus infestation. They’ll go in containers with fungus-free soil.

    I agree with others about planting the expensive crops or the ones that are easy to grow and your family eats in quantity. Peas fall into both categories for my family!

  • Maya says:

    Loved the article Angi! It definately made me think of what was the best things to grow based on how much it costs to buy the same produce.

  • K says:

    I don’t know whether or not it’s too late to post a comment/question, but here it goes:

    1) Does anyone know about tillers and which are the best?

    2) What should one expect to pay for a used tiller? I’ve looked on Craig’s List and briefly browsed I even looked at some on The prices vary, greatly.

    3)What are some of the basic features one should look for in a tiller?

    4) Will a garden aerator (sp?) work just as well? My garden will only be about 7ft x 7ft.

    4) Would I even need any type of motorized equipment in order to work the soil and form rows, for this size garden?

    5) Where can you get soil for a box garden? Unfortunately, we don’t have extra soil in our yard that can be used. It’ll cost about $100 to buy the bagged soil at Wal-Mart.

    • For a garden that size I would not buy a tiller. You might be able to borrow one or I know you can rent one. You can also use a shovel and “double dig” the ground – but that’s a bit of work. For the garden soil I would try some of the local nurseries that would sell it by the cubic yard instead of by the bag. Although $100 is alot of money it is cheaper than buying a tiller and it will be a one time investment. You can start composting and have lots of good garden soil for next year to add to it.

  • Katie says:

    Yea Angi! Good job on a great post with clear instruction. You already know that I’m a “Square-Foot Gardener.” We are having fun watching the garden grow. The Swiss Chard is looking poor though, and I can’t figure out why. We haven’t had any pests. Any ideas?

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