Editor’s Note: This is a guest post written by Rhonda of Growing Herbs for Beginners.
Will growing your own herbs save money? Absolutely!
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.
Download: The 23 Day Frugal Living Challenge Daily Goal Sheet
Connect With The Community: Take a few minutes and head over to the forum. Share your “Frugal Living Daily Goal“, encourage, and support one another.
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.
I expanded my herbs three fold this year and dried many this fall. I have been so pleased to use my own herbs in the dishes I prepare for my family and had plenty left over to provide me with gifts for family and friends during Christmas. Growing herbs is very rewarding!
Couldn’t agree with you more Jenni!
Judee @ Gluten Free A-Z says
Great post! I have mint in my yard that has been growing and coming back for 18 years. I also have some thyme. I want to expand..thanks for the great info.
Thank you for commenting Judee:) I love thyme! Did you know that it contains one of the highest amounts of vitamin C!
Emily @ Random Recycling says
I can’t wait till spring so I can grow more herbs this year. I recently got a dehydrator so I’m curious to test out drying herbs in that so I can then use them for tea. Plus I can dry my orange rind and then grind it up too for an orange spice tea.
My basil went nuts this past year and I used my dehydrator to dry enough basil to fill a quart sized jar! In the middle of winter it’s so nice to have my own homegrown seasonings:)
Marie at the Lazy W says
Great topic and photos, and how very cool that you put numbers to it for us! $$ Thanks! I’m all geared up for our gardens this year, can’t wait to sow that first little seed!! : )
I’m so with you on that!
I always grow a lot of basil in the summer and make pesto for the freezer. Talk about saving a lot of money! We don’t think you can ever have to much pesto.
I also dry dill in my dehydrator for winter use.
For some reason I can’t get Rosemary to grow here. A friend a few miles away has huge Rosemary bushes. We’ve moved it all over the yard but it never seems to really take hold.
Funny, me either, I have tried Rosemary a few times, but it doesn’t grow well. I had thyme for years but it stopped growing now it is an overgrown area of Lemon Balm- which I believe it is Melissa, right? I will dry this year, think I might find out how to make essential oil from it since Melissa is an expensive EO to purchase… This inspires me to grow herbs again, I had some health issues that prevented me from attending my garden so this spring I will put in some herbs, defiantly Basil, Cilantro, Marjoram, Dill, Chives…can’t think of the rest of the herbs I used to grow…
Lemon Balm does well in here in central Oklahoma. However, last summer we had record heat, it reached 115 several times and along with a severe drought. Even watering it was not a good summer to garden. The peppermint even died out. The Garlic Chives, Oregano and Sage were partially shaded and made it thru. Hopefully we’ll do better this year.
Rosemary likes a hot, dry place. I have mine planted next to the driveway where the asphalt makes it nice and hot. I rarely water it unless we have been a few weeks without rain because it would rather be dry. If you have a heavy soil you may want to amend it with sand to make the water drain away quickly when it rains. Where mine is near the driveway there are alot of rocks in the soil so even though we have clay here it does not have wet roots because of good drainage.
Patee Ramsey says
This is a great post! Herbs are so wonderful because they pack a lot of punch for a little space and a little investment! I will share this post!!
[email protected] says
I grow some herbs in the spring and summer– it is a definitely a savings. Plus, they look so pretty in pots!
I read that Rosemary likes to be up against a wall for good results. I didn’t have luck with mine, but it was before I read that. My parents have a plant against the side of their home that flourishes. Am going to give it another try to see if I can have some success. Thanks for all the helpful hints!