These seven cost-effective vegetables to grow in your garden will not only save you money, they’ll offer you year-round harvests from your own garden or balcony.
Growing vegetables is a rewarding thing to do, in both a financial and satisfaction sense. The feeling you get plucking a lemon off your own tree, picking some salad leaves to have with dinner or even unearthing potato treasures from your soil is unrivalled, and made all the more satisfying knowing how much money you’re saving in the process.
These seven cost-effective vegetable staples are easy to grow and really versatile in the kitchen when it comes to feeding the family.
Whether you live in a house, share house, apartment or acreage, these seven must-haves will have uses in the kitchen all throughout the year – and you will have just as much success growing them in a pot or tub as you would in a vegie garden.
Harvesting your own produce to use for your next meal is a great way to make sure your food is nutritionally dense, full of life and has the added bonus of saving you money.
Lettuce is one of the easiest vegetables to start from seed and with a huge range of intriguing heirloom varieties available, they’re fun to grow as well as being cost-effecient.
Lettuce can be grown all year round and by removing only the lower leaves to eat instead of cutting the whole head will ensure you get an extended harvest time.
You can achieve more successful germination during the colder months by starting your seeds off indoors and in full sun and transplanting into pots on your balcony or straight into your garden bed when they’re between three and four centimetres high.
Sowing half a dozen seeds every few weeks will ensure a economical year-round supply of leaves for salads, sides and sandwiches.
Also called Sunchokes, these delicious tubers are actually a member of the sunflower family and a great money-saving staple for your garden.
They love a sunny spot and don’t mind narrow beds or being grown in a container – which is a better idea as they like to spread and take over a section of your garden.
As well as nutrient-dense edible tubers, the tall stalks grow to 2.5 metres high and offer shade and protection from winds at their peak in summer. They’ll offer some colourful blooms to your patch too, with up to five miniature sunflower heads developing on top of the tall stalks.
Dig up in late autumn and winter when the leaves start to fall and the stalks dry out and enjoy them roasted, fried like chips or turned into a soup. Jerusalem artichokes are high in inulin, minerals and vitamins, making them a great cost-effective plant to have in your garden.
This popular and versatile vegetable is one of the easiest to grow and because it’s high in carbohydrates, it’s a great cost-effective staple to have in your patch.
Ideally started in Spring from seed potatoes, but they can actually be planted any time of the year. always use organic “seed” potatoes as these are usually certified disease free – avoid the temptation of planting potatoes that developed shoots in the bottom of your pantry, these may have been sprayed with chemicals to kill off the top growth for easier machine harvesting.
Place your seed spuds in tubs with a small amount of potting mix and half fill your tub with more potting mix. Once you notice green shoots popping up, cover with a thin layer of potting mix and keep repeating the process until your tub is almost full, then cover with straw.
You’ll be able to dig around for small spuds once your plants have started to flower, but if you want to harvest the whole lot at once, wait until the tops start to die down then tip the whole tub out and harvest. But be aware that they’ll keep better and longer underground than they will in your pantry.
Check out our in-depth guide to growing potatoes here.
Obviously a herb, not a vegetable, parsley will nevertheless give you bang for your buck! More than just a 1980s garnish, it can be planted in any garden gap or pot and is rich in vitamins A, C and K.
Not only can it be made into bold, standalone salads like tabouli, parley can be added to soups, stocks, smoothies or juiced, or even dehydrated and mixed with salt.
Allowed to go to flower, it will encourage pollinators and predator insects and parsley seeds are great added to spice rubs or even homemade exfoliators.
Want more cost-effective vegetables to grow at home?
In Issue #24 of Pip Magazine, we bring you three more economical vegetables your patch needs.
You can access this article online here as part of our digital subscription offering, or subscribe to the print version of Pip Magazine here.
And don’t forget we have loads of other vegie-growing-related content, including these articles: