Do you want to be healthy and to save money at the same time? One of the best ways you could target both of these goals is by growing your own organic vegetable garden. It has been estimated that, for every $50 you invest into growing your own vegetables, you will reap about $700 worth of food. Plus, you probably won’t be able to enjoy fresher produce than ones you grow right in your own backyard. Successfully embarking on this project is all about starting with a plan, and being committed towards carrying it through.

Know what vegetables need to grow

In simplest terms, here are the requirements for vegetables to flourish: about 8 to 10 hours of sunlight; water; fertilizer; healthy soil; and constant and proper care and maintenance.

Use natural compost

Before you start planting your vegetables, prepare the soil to make it healthy and more nutrient-rich. If you want to grow your garden organically, you should stick to natural compost materials. Some natural fertilizers you can use include the following: fresh chicken manure (very high in nitrogen; apply it four weeks before you start planting); cow manure; chicken manure pellets; and seaweed.

Know what vegetables to plant

What vegetables are most cost-effective to grow on your own garden will depend mostly on where you live. Check this out with your local nursery or with experienced gardeners and vegetable growers in your area. Here are some of the crops that are simplest and least expensive to grow and maintain: vine vegetables such as cucumbers and zucchinis; lettuce; herbs; and bell peppers. There are particular crops, however, that are best left to the professionals, and these include the following: carrots; asparagus; potatoes; celery; and wheat. These are notorious for being “picky” about growing conditions and for requiring lots of care and attention.

Combine vegetables

There are some crops that, when they are planted together, tend to thrive inexplicably more or taste better than if they were just planted alone. Some combinations you could try include the following: climbing beans, squash and corn; onions with summer savory and chamomile; and lettuce, with broccoli, cucumber, radish, strawberries and beets.

Select a good spot

Make sure that the plot where you will grow your vegetable garden has access to at least eight hours of sunlight. If you don’t have enough space in your backyard for a garden, consider growing vegetables in containers. Check out this article for some helpful tips about container planting.

Use natural pesticides

If you eat commercially-grown vegetables, chances are high that you’d be accidentally ingesting some traces of harmful chemicals used as pesticides. If you’re the gardener, however, you could be sure that your produce is free of these pesticides. Stick to natural insect repellents such as lemon grass plant (which discourages mosquitoes); garlic plant (which repels borers from fruit trees); and even lady bugs (which voraciously eat small, invasive garden pests).

Preparing an organic vegetable garden will certainly take a lot of effort and time on your part, but consider it time well-spent if you are able to enjoy the savings and health that growing your own vegetables will score for you.