This post is sponsored by Tomcat Repellents. As always, all ideas and opinions are entirely my own.
There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it – gardening is hard work! Don’t get me wrong, because I do love gardening. I go overboard planting flowers every year, and we have a few raised beds in the backyard for growing vegetables and herbs. We love eating fresh veggies from our garden, and I enjoy the beautiful flowers I plant all summer long. But as rewarding as gardening can be, it does come at a price. Gardening requires an investment of your time, energy, and money.
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As we know, the goal of any smart investment is to get a return – that is, to end up with more than you started with. But when you make an investment, you assume the risk of ending up with less than you started with. A successful investment strategy involves making educated decisions to reduce risk and (hopefully) maximize your return. You can apply the same strategy to your investments of time, energy, and money in your garden! Today I’ll be sharing how thinking like an investor can help you grow your best garden ever.
Protecting Your Time And Energy Investments
The two biggest investments you’ll make in your garden are your time and energy. And unfortunately, humanity has not yet invented a way to get back the time and energy you spend working on your garden. (You know, beyond the satisfaction of a job well done, or maybe the tan you got while you were working outside.)
The best you can do with your investment of time and energy is to make sure you’re not spending more time or energy than is necessary. In investment terms, this is called “risk management.” So let’s think like an investor! What are some garden-related risks that would require more of your time and energy to sort out, and how can you avoid them?
Risk 1 – Animals
Animals are great, until they’re in your backyard making a snack out of your vegetable garden. Applying a repellent is a simple step you can take to help keep animals away from your precious plants. Tomcat Repellents have essential oils in their formulas that animals don’t like to smell or taste, which deters deer, rabbits, groundhogs, squirrels and other small animals from eating your plants.
Tomcat Repellents are also long-lasting, rain-resistant, and may be used around people and pets when used as directed. Applying a repellent like this is any easy way to reduce the risk of animals roughing up your garden!
Risk 2 – Plant Disease
Plants can get diseases just like people can, and if left untreated, those diseases can wreak havoc on your plants, and even decimate your garden entirely. There are plenty of different bacterial, fungal, and viral infections that affect certain plants in certain areas, so here are some good general tips to follow to help avoid plant disease entirely.
The first thing you can do to avoid plant disease is keep your plants pruned and your garden free of weeds. This encourages healthy air circulation between and around your plants, and that will keep certain damp-loving bacteria and fungi at bay. (Hate weeding? A layer of organic mulch like wood chips or bark can help keep the weeds down!)
The second thing you can do is make your own neem oil soap spray. This spray is easy to make and can treat many forms of blight, rust, and mildew that commonly affect garden plants. It’s particularly effective on powdery mildew, one of the most common fungal infections you might encounter in the garden.
Okay, now that we’ve talked about the risks to your time and energy investments in your garden, let’s talk about your money investment. Unlike time and energy, your monetary investment in your garden is something you can actually get a real return on. By making smart choices about what you plant, you can easily make your money back, and then some!
Maximizing Your Return On Your Money Investment
One of the good things about growing a vegetable garden is that it doesn’t cost that much to get it up and running. You can plant a whole garden for just a few dollars if you plant from seed! And even if you opt to buy plant starts from your local garden center, you’ll still probably spend less than $40 for a small garden’s worth of plants. You can easily double or triple that initial money investment by planting crops that are usually pricey at the store, but don’t take up too much of your gardening space.
Money Crop 1 – Tomatoes
It is almost universally agreed upon that tomatoes are the best crop to grow for your money. (Especially heirloom or hard-to-find varieties!) Even the fanciest tomato plant starts would cost you less than $5. And depending on the variety, that plant could yield about 20 lbs. of tomatoes in a season. Supposing that plant did yield 20 lbs. of tomatoes, and that those tomatoes generally cost about $3.50 per pound at the store, your $5 investment could return $70 worth of tomatoes. That’s a 1,300% return, monetarily speaking. Not bad, right?
Money Crop 2 – Herbs
Fresh herbs make all the difference in many recipes, but they’re quite expensive to buy at the grocery store. Luckily for us gardeners, many herbs are easy enough to grow at home! Herbs like cilantro, basil, thyme, rosemary, and sage can be grown quite easily, and they’ll keep producing all season. (You can even grow them right in your kitchen, if you don’t have space for a garden!)
Related: DIY Mason Jar Herb Garden
Take basil as an example. A 3/4 oz. clamshell package of basil might run you $3 at the grocery store. You would likely be able to harvest that amount of basil from a productive plant each week, all summer long! Growing your own fresh herb plant will likely return 100% of your investment the very first time you harvest. As you can see, herbs are a great choice in terms of getting a return from your garden.
Other Money Crops
Tomatoes and herbs are just the tip of the iceberg for great returns on your monetary investment in your garden. Some other good choices for profitable plants are leafy greens, like lettuces, spinach, and arugula. You can also get a good return on sweet peppers, depending on how they grow in your climate.
(Curious about what crops won’t give you a return on your money? Potatoes and beans are inexpensive at the grocery store, so growing your own probably isn’t worth the effort if you’re short on space. And when ears of corn are in season, you can buy them dirt cheap. You may not want to waste time and space on corn plants either!)
Now take these tips and get out there, gardener! You’re ready to handle the risks and reap the rewards of your investment into your garden. :-)