Gardening: the Ultimate Frugal Hobby

Back when I was a kid, my parents had a Garden that started off small, but which kept getting bigger and bigger as the years went by so that now it takes up a huge portion of their backyard. I remember eating peas and raspberries, straight off the plant for a snack when I was playing outside and got hungry. And the compost-turning “garbage” into rich, beautiful soil was always a source of fascination for me. And at my previous job in the countryside, my roommates and I had a big garden where we used to grown lots of vegetables and fruits.

These days, however I live in a big apartment complex and opportunities for having a garden are non-existent. I actually love living in an apartment complex and think it’s far better than the urban sprawl that exists in much of Canada and the USA, but not having a garden does make me kind of sad. Maybe one day!

Gardening is actually the ultimate in frugal hobbies. You have to spend a bit of money to buy a few basic tools (shovel, rake, water sprinkler), a compost and then some seeds, but this stuff is pretty cheap, except for the compost unless you make your own. Then, if you’re smart, you’ll plant stuff that ripens at different times starting with strawberries and greens in early spring and then finishing with zucchini and carrots and onions in the late fall or early winter. In Korea, you can harvest stuff as early as April and as late as November. That’s 8 months of fresh produce that you’re not buying from the grocery store, which can be a significant savings. You can even extend this by doing things like freezing and canning and pickling so you can take advantage of the garden throughout the whole year.

And, don’t forget the other positive benefits such as fresh air and sunshine, exercise, fresh produce as gifts for all occasions, and lack of chemical filled food. Check out one of my favorite books in this area, Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

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