As the economy continues to challenge us, more and more local folks are learning how to raise some of their own food by planting vegetable gardens. Even apartment dwellers are discovering that it doesn't take up that much room to raise a few tomato plants or peppers. Herbs are also easy to grow at home in limited space and can make a huge difference in both your budget and the taste of your meals.
Where many homeowners used to spend time and money planting flowers, many are now turning their energies now to raising food instead. A packet of seeds is cheap - most are less than $2 - and can produce a crop that will save you many times its cost. Gardening can be very relaxing and there's very definitely a certain satisfaction in watching a barren patch of soil transform itself into a lush crop of veggies.
Many vegetables will climb a trellis if allowed and can greatly increase your usable gardening space. The Kentucky Wonder Pole beans shown in the picture are taking up less than 6 square feet of space but will produce beans until well into the fall. This particular set of plants were all raised from seed saved from last year's crop, so their only cost this year is the small amount of time spent weeding and some water. A single planter of beans last year provided beans for dinner for three every few days - compare that to the cost for fresh green beans at your local grocery and the benefit of growing your own vegetables at home should be obvious! And if you've never had the pleasure of tasting vegetables that are picked just minutes before dinner, you're in for a real treat!