Keeping Food Costs Down While in College

Many college students find themselves short on funds on a regular basis.  Whether it is long hours of studying that limit one’s ability to work, or the high cost of attending classes, finding ways to help bring certain costs down can make a big difference for a student on a budget.

One way to keep costs down, even for students in dorms, is to consider starting a small container-based vegetable garden.  Not only can this help improve the food costs down by providing a supply of fresh vegetables, it can also bring in a pleasant, natural element into a living space.

Keeping Food Costs Down While in College

Preparing for a Garden

In order to get the most use of your indoor container garden, it is important to plan for the basics.  First, you will need to determine what you would like to grow, as this will help determine the size of the containers you will need.  In cases where space is limited, it will be wise to use container sizes to help determine what plants will be ideal.  Vegetable plants may be available in dwarf sizes, allowing them to be more easily planted in small containers, allowing for a wider range of options than if only full-sized variants are considered.

Since the plants will be placed in containers, you can choose to gather and prepare the soil in multiple ways.  Some soils can be purchased by the bag from home improvement stores, though it is important to examine which options are best for the vegetables you are looking to grow.  If you want to improve the quality of a soil yourself, creating your own compost may be ideal.

Jora makes a great composter for looking for a simple option to start composting on their own as long as you have the outdoor space.  For those living in student housing, consider speaking with decision-makers at the university about starting a composting program using cafeteria waste for use by students or the public at large.

Planting the Vegetables in their Containers

In order to plant the vegetables in the most ideal fashion, you will need containers with drainage holes in the base as well as a dish to catch the water runoff.  In the base of the container, you will want to add a layer of gravel to further promote proper drainage, followed by a layer of the proper soil.

Carefully remove the plant from its original pot from the retail store by gripping the plant firmly, but gently, near the roots to remove it from the pot.  Place the root ball in the middle of the new container making sure it lies approximately two inches below the rim.

Add or remove soil accordingly to fill the space, and then press down firmly on the soil to compact it a bit in order to provide the necessary support to the plant.  Water the plant where the base of the plant meets the soil, adding more as necessary based on the needs of the specific variety.

Maintenance and Harvesting

Continue to water the vegetables based on their individual needs, and consider adding an appropriate fertilizer on approximately a month basis to provide additional nutrients.  As the vegetables reach the desired size, carefully remove them from the rest of the plant and enjoy the results of your hardwork.