With the steadily rising prices of groceries, many people are looking for creative ways to cut corners and save money at the grocery store. One of the easiest ways to save money on grocery bills and to receive the additional benefits of healthier foods is to grow certain vegetables in your own home garden.
Unless you live in an area where the soil is extremely sandy or hard clay, you most likely would be able to successfully grow quite a few vegetables. Contrary to the concerns of some people who have never tried to grow a garden, many vegetables are typically very easy to grow.
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Lettuce, for example, is an extremely easy vegetable for just about any home backyard gardener. Lettuce does not require a lot of space, just some decent soil, a little watering, some sunshine, and you will have a crop of lettuce plants that will faithfully provide you and your whole family with a tasty serving of lettuce greens for many many meals.
It is a good idea to plant a group of lettuce seeds at time intervals such as 21 to 30 days apart, so that when one section of your lettuce plants stop producing, you have another area of lettuce plants that are ready to provide you with salad greens and sandwich fixings.
The cost of a bag of lettuce at the local grocery store is approximately $3.00. If a family consumes five bags of lettuce a week, that is $15.00 spent on lettuce alone during the course of a week. This turns out to be an astounding $780.00 per year.
With the price of lettuce these days and the amount of lettuce that a typical family consumes, it just makes sense to grow some leaf lettuce, at the very least. According to a report in October of 2005 by the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center of the University of California, the 2004 consumption figures for lettuce was 34.5 pounds per capita.
Lettuce is a healthy food that is fat free and low in calories and is a good source of Vitamin A and folic acid. An additional and little known fact about lettuce is that it also contains an element called “lettuce opium” which is a mild sleep inducement substance.
There are different groups of lettuce:
- Butterhead, also known as Bibb or Boston
- Romaine also called Coe
- Chinese (commonly used in stews and stir-fried dishes)
- Summer Crisp
The simplest lettuce to grow and the quickest to provide you with salad greens is Looseleaf lettuce. For this lettuce there is no need to wait for heads to form; you simply pick the leaves from the plants, wash them, tear the leaves into the desired size of pieces, and toss your salad. You may wish, of course, to grow some lettuce plants of each of the groups, which will give you more variety in your salad greens.
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Now since growing some homemade lettuce is so easy, why not also consider growing a few carrots, radishes, green beans and peas for starters. You will be pleasantly surprised as you enjoy tasty fresh vegetables as you save money at the grocery store.