One of the best things you can do to help your grocery bill along is to grow your own food. Packets of seeds and plant starts cost merely a fraction of the price of the fully-grown product, and will produce food for hundreds of meals. Of course, the prime weather for growing your own food, either in a garden or on your porch, is the spring and summer, but don’t let the cold weather stop you from supplementing your groceries with home-grown food.
All you need is some high-quality potting soil, containers with drainage, (empty cans and jars with a hole drilled in the bottom work just fine. You can even use yogurt containers), vegetables and herb seeds or starts, twine, and some sunlight. If you’ve got a south-facing window, you’re good to go.
Beans are one of the easiest things to grow inside. They do need support, though, unlike some other plants, but that’s pretty easy to secure. The best way to grow beans is to set them in an empty milk carton or similarly shaped pot with some quality potting soil in a window sill, string up some twine in the window, and watch them clamber up the twine. They might obscure your view for a bit, but they add a pop of green to your home in the cold, dreary winter months, and it’s basically free food.
Arugula really spices up your salads, and what’s more awesome than being able to pick a salad from your windowsill in December? You can put arugula into your sandwiches, too, to give them a bit of a bite. The best part? Arugula is crazy-easy to grow. All you have to do is sprinkle it into a box or planter and pretty much forget about it, since it’s really easy to drown arugula. Water it every once in a while, and once the leaves grow a bit, you can clip them off. They’ll regrow, giving you salad for months to come.
Cabbage, Kale, and Lettuce
Cabbage, kale, and lettuce can all be grown easily indoors. All you need to do to grow lettuce is to get a packet of mixed cut-and-grow-again seeds. Throw them into a planter, and regularly water them, and you’ll see sprouts within a week, and have lettuce to eat within a month. Kale and cabbage work the same exact way, except they need more room. So, just sow them a little bit further apart, and you’ll have all sorts of greens to munch on in a month or two.
Peppers and Tomatoes
Tomatoes and peppers are fairly easy to grow in planters on a windowsill. You’ll probably want to grow cherry tomatoes, as they ripen better indoors. You can grow one plant in a 6-inch pot, or two plants together in something larger. They do need support, but it’s easy to use dowels or even old rulers to do so. Many stores sell “window-sill tomatoes” that are made specifically for growing indoors. They won’t get very big, but they pack a tasty punch.
Peppers can be planted just like tomatoes. Keep them moist, and these plants will need support once they start to fruit, too. Peppers like wet soil, so thoroughly soak the soil every few days.
Herbs are insanely easy to grow indoors, and they’re totally worth it. Having fresh herbs on hand is a great way to take your cooking to a whole new level, and packaged herbs are pretty expensive. Guess what’s not expensive? Growing your own! You can grow just about any herb you want in a window box, especially rosemary, thyme, and oregano, which do very well indoors.