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Get Growing and Save Big!

I love reading my GEICO NOW Magazine, and checking out all the awesome articles and tips that GEICO NOW has online. I just read a recent post on a really cool hobby I’ve been wanting to try: Gardening. I don’t know about you, but living in a city makes it hard to find quality produce at a good price. GEICO’s got some great tips on how to save money on produce by having your own garden! Check out some below:

Originally Posted by Aime Dunstan on GEICO NOW:

July and early August are prime months for planting an autumn garden. Many cool-season veggies that thrive in spring can also be started in time for fall. Lettuces, Brussels sprouts, some carrots, cauliflower and broccoli taste better and resist wilting if grown after summer temperatures have dropped. They’re even tolerant of light frost, so you can count on harvests through September, October and longer in some climates.

If you’re just starting in August and want to grow plants with a longer maturity cycle, purchase seedlings rather than seeds to give you a head start. (Maturity cycles vary by a lot. For instance, carrots can take less than 90 days to grow from seed, while some gourds require almost twice as much time.) Consult the seed packet or visit websites like The Garden Helper for information on sowing dates, seed spacing and depth, and growth cycles.

You can begin with a few hardy vegetables and expand as your green thumb progresses. But don’t hedge your bets by over-planting on a small site. Crowding can result in spindly, fruitless plants. Check out Edward C. Smith’s The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible to find out what grows best in your zone, along with tips on organic growing methods, planting a raised vegetable garden and crop rotation.

To stretch the season even longer next year, start earlier and plant vegetables that are easy to preserve (a skill our ancestors perfected before the era of evergreen supermarket produce aisles). Potatoes, onions and winter squash have a long storage life. Tomatoes, beets, cucumbers and beans can be easily canned or frozen.

Growing your own vegetable garden is not only frugal, it’s also a healthy, eco-friendly choice. Eating locally and in season means less fuel is used to transport goods to your table. And home gardeners can choose organic fertilizers and avoid chemical pesticides. Best of all, a recent studyshows that kids are more likely to eat their greens when they’re homegrown. And you will be too. The satisfaction of growing it yourself is bound to make that carrot taste twice as sweet.

Thanks for the great tips GEICO!


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