I wondered about writing a blog post on growing herbs and saving money for two reasons.
- I have grown herbs for a very long time so it does not seem new or remarkable.
- I have not checked the price of fresh and dried herbs at the grocery store in a long time. Yowza! Talk about sticker shock.
After getting all gussied up (clean jeans and shirt) we went to town on our mission to check out herb prices. We visited three grocery stores and a small health food store. At all four stores I looked at fresh and dried packaged herbs and checked the prices of medicinal herbal teas. The fresh herbs at the grocery stores were small packages- each contained a mere .75 ounce of ‘fresh’ herbs. The least expensive store priced each package at $1.99 and the most expensive at $2.79.
The teas ranged in price from $4.59 (on sale) to nearly $7.00 for a single BOX of teabags and most only had 16 teabags per box. Ouch.
Honestly, I was stunned by the prices. Even a lone container of mint or Lemon Verbena can provide you with a lot of herb. Dry it yourself and you will have fresher tasting tea than anything you can buy in a box… and you’ll have a lot more of it.
Grow Your Own
If you purchase your plants in the Springtime you can expect to pay $3 or $4 per live started plant. Starting your own plants from seed will save you even more, especially if you have a place to start seedlings. You may have an initial investment for things like pots and soil, but being frugalites we know that so many objects can be re-purposed and used as containers.
Growing and harvesting your plants over the summer will make your investment money back quickly. After all, those little grocery store herb packages each contained just a few snippings, so regularly pruning your herbs would provide as much, or more than those packages.
Things to Consider
In most areas perennial herb plants don’t need replacing yearly and most annuals will set seed for you. This means you won’t have to replace plants and buy seeds every year. A biennial like parsley will provide seeds every other year and edible leaves all of the first year. That’s a heck of a deal!
We often have people ask about garden space and herbs. Many people believe you need a lot of space for an herb garden and don’t realize that many herbs are happily grown in containers. You absolutely don’t need a huge herb garden to grow teas, medicines and gourmet herbs for your family. Many of the larger herbs like fennel, bee balm and marshmallow are perfectly content in big tubs or even 5 gallon buckets. If you only have room for a few herbs, think about what herbs you might use the most. Many herbs can be used both in the kitchen and medicinally. A few dual purpose favorites are mint, thyme and sage. All are helpful medicinals and wonderful for cooking.
Anything you grow and dry for yourself will help keep the family budget in check and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing where those herbs came from.
So, do I grow all of my own herbs? No. There are somethings that just cannot or do not grow well here and so I buy what I can’t grow. Do I save money growing my own herbs? Evidently much more than I thought!
Now It’s Your Turn
Daily Goal: Head over to Growing Herbs for Beginners and sign up to get the FREE online herb gardening video classes! Yes they are completely FREE! You will learn how to start growing herbs indoors, in containers or in your garden.
Subscribe: Be sure not to miss a day of the Challenge! Click this link to receive the 23 Day Frugal Living Challenge by email.
Rhonda is a Midwestern Organic Master gardener, farm gal, homeschool mom of six, artist, and commercial herb grower turned teacher. Besides her garden she raises poultry, Angora rabbits, and livestock for milk, meat,eggs and fiber (spinning, weaving, crochet). Learn from her through her website and join the facebook community.