When is the last time you left the grocery store smiling at your bill thinking "wow, that was cheap, should I have bought more?"  Buying food is commonly considered the most expensive household cost endured each month.  A lot of this perception is based on food not being a "fixed cost" like other expenses such as cable, internet and rent.  Because of this fluctuation in cost, it can cause stress, anxiety, as well as, a nice dent in the bank account.   So why not change it?   Well its not as difficult as it may sound, and its as easy as growing most of the food we buy each week!

Not a avid gardener?  Don't worry, if you have access to water and have even ONE square foot of available space you would be surprised how much money you can save.  The post below describes how common recycled or household goods can be used to grow food, and that's only the tip of the carrot.

Vertical planting, container gardening and hanging planters are all great ways to plant vegetables in limited space.  But even then, you don't need to do that much!  Some people think that because they have never touched soil with anything other than the bottom of their shoes, they have no business in the garden.  However, planting seeds and growing vegetables is so easy, that even a Vegetable can do it!  No joke!  Vegetables in the wild that are not harvested grow on to produce seeds, drop the seeds and continue the ongoing cycle of life.  And if a carrot can plant seeds and grow vegetables, I am confident you can too!

The only thing that you need to take into consideration is plants like water and plants like light!  So if you don't have time to water, set up a drip irrigation system (that can be easily found online, or ask me!) and if your in a basement suite you may need to invest in some iridescent lights.  But if these issues don't apply to you...why are you still here, get growing..

Finally, quality takes time.  Unfortunately just like we need time to grow and mature, so do pants.  And rushing this process, just like life can ultimately speed things up too fast resulting in low quality in the overall product.  This does not need to be a bad thing at all, because if you plant your seeds periodically, you can ensure an ongoing harvest and growing process with different plants phasing out old plans, and an ongoing variety of new fruits and vegetables throughout the seasons.  Not to mention the tranquility, peace of mind and undescribable self confidence and reward that will soon follow

So that's the dirt of it!  Get some soil, fill up an old coffee tin, planting pot or even an old boot and start growing your greens and start cutting back your grocery bill!

That's the dirt, dude.

             Believe it or not, most of the stuff we recycle and continuously purchase from the grocery store can be grown ourselves in our own homes and apartments!  In fact, we can grow most of this produce in the items we are recycling!  These ten items found in a typical grocery bag can all be used as great ways to plant and grow healthy food for you and your family.

Milk Jugs             Many different plants can be grown in an empty 2 liter milk jug, with the most ideal being carrots.  Carrots are a perfect depth for a milk jug and easily provide spaces for 8 or 9 carrots comfortably.  The handles also make for convenient transporting for following the sun around your patio  Start your Organic Carrot Jug today.

          Bread Bags             Though it may sound strange, bread bags are a simple and inexpensive planting solution.  Simply filling a bread bag up with your soil mixture and then cutting small holes in the top for the seedlings, and it’s ready to grow!  Double bagging the soil will help prevent punctures in the bag and slipping firm base in the bottom of the bag will help give the planter greater stability.  The bread bags will hold a handful of small narrow rooted plants, such as lettuce, various herbs and snow peas being the ideal choice.

          Peanut Butter Jars             Many different jars are great for planting seedlings before transplanting into the garden or a bigger pot.  Because of the clear plastic on most peanut butter jars, it is good to paint the jars white or cover them up to avoid sunlight exposure to the roots, as well as, preventing any undesirable growth to be visible. 

          Muffin Trays             The many muffin slots provide a great solution for starting seeds, with many individual spaces for seedling growth on one convenient tray.  Trays can easily be stacked and covered with other muffin trays acting as a greenhouse aiding in germination.

          Coffee Cans/ Containers             Like peanut butter jars, coffee cans are another great recycled planting container for your home or patio garden.  The larger plastic coffee containers are even better, as they provide more room for the roots and are generally more colorful.  Some plastic containers can also be adapted into DIY strawberry planters or hanging baskets.

          Pop/ Juice Bottles             The common clear 2 liter bottles have been long used as recycled goods for the home-gardener.  The plastic bottles can be cut up in many ways to create endless uses for growing food.  Cutting off the bottle tops and flipping them over, they can be used as mini greenhouses to raise the temperature and help speed up the growth of smaller plants.  Using many of the bottles together can create a bed of small planting pots that can be filled with soil for planting.  Hanging the bottles can also provide a great way to grow strawberries and other hanging fruits and veggies. 

          Wine Boxes             Even with a narrow and fairly shallow depth many vegetables will not only grow but thrive in the wine box planter!  Carefully peel apart the glued cardboard of the wine box and then tape the box back together inside out creating only the cardboard to e seen.

Snow peas work well as they have a narrow root system and by incorporating a bamboo steak or trellis system the peas will soon be quickly climbing.  Leafy greens, carrots and low growing herbs are also a great choice for the wine box planter.

          Water Jugs             Large water jugs are perfect for creating planters when converted.  If you can get your hands on a cheap water jug you may decide to trade the deposit for a new planter!  By simply cutting off the top spout of the jug, you now have a large planting container ready for soil!  Again, because of the clear plastic, UV Rays will penetrate the soil and possibly damage the roots.  This can easily be avoided by applying a thin coat of white paint to the exterior of the container to reflect the light.

          Clear Egg Cartons             This is one item that you have probably seen or heard before.  Egg cartons have long been filled with soil to create a seedling or germination station.  However, there is one extra tip you may not have seen!  The clear plastic egg cartons can be reused again and again for germination season after season.  Not only that but the egg cartons have two clear plastic lids that both keep in the heat and moisture and also let in the light.  Be sure to check it out next time your in the dairy isle.

          Grocery Bags             Finally we get to the bottom of the grocery bag.  There are no more items in the bag, so… lets fill it up with soil!  The cloth or re-usable shopping bags are a great way to incorporate inexpensive and effective planters.  Just roll the top of the bag down to achieve the size or depth you want, and the fill the bag with your soil mixture.  The weight of the soil will keep the sides of the bags from falling in creating an excellent planter for your food to grow in!  If you have a garden you can even cut the bottom of the bags out, to allow continued root growth into the soil below!

There you have it!  10 items from your kitchen recycling bin to help you grow your food at home.  Take a look in your blue bin and see what good stuff you can re-use to start growing!

That's the dirt, dude.



    I am a Dirt Worshiping Tree Hugger.  Stick around and soak up some knowledge on growing food so you can cut your costs and enhance your life!


    June 2012