10 Vegetables and Fruits That Are Cheaper to Grow Yourself

Cherry tomatoes growing
Growing your own food can be rewarding and economical. Certain plants are especially cost-effective, saving you money over buying them at the store. Here are 10 things that are cheaper to grow than buy, perfect for gardeners looking to stretch their budgets. AUTHOR: Chris Phelan

1. Zucchini

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Is there anything better to snack on than grilled or sauteed zucchini? I think not! Fortunately, it's easy to get plenty of zucchini in your body by growing it yourself; according to many amateur chefs, it's their favorite vegetable in their garden because it's so cost-effective! While buying zucchini at the grocery store won't necessarily put you in the poor house, you can save tons of money by growing it yourself.

2. All Herbs

Fresh Herbs
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Countless chefs agree you're throwing money away if you're still purchasing herbs from your local grocery store. No matter what time of year, growing your herbs yourself is always cost-efficient, from basil to cilantro and everything in between. "I cook with a lot of herbs, and they're bloody expensive in the winter ($3 or $4 for a few sprigs), so I grow them in window boxes inside my kitchen," confesses one woman. "I will save over a hundred dollars annually on those."

3. Snap Peas

Snap Peas
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As one of the most criminally underrated vegetables in the world, snap peas are delicious, nutritious, and exceedingly inexpensive to grow in a home garden! Think of all the dishes that would be at your fingertips if you began growing snap peas. Everything from classic stir fry cuisine to fresh salads would be easily manageable. In addition, many men and women consider snap peas to be one of the easiest veggies to grow, which is fantastic to hear.

4. Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash
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Butternut squash soup is my favorite appetizer ever, and the thought of having more than enough butternut squash that I'd know what to do with is a dream to me! "Butternut squash this year required almost no maintenance and yielded about 30 squash, from two to five pounds each, from about a dozen vines," reveals one woman. "Now I'm having it several times a week, instead of buying one every couple of months."

5. Cherries

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Take it from a former bartender: Cherries are very expensive! While it's not feasible for a popular nightspot to grow its own cherries, it's far easier for an aspiring home chef. People swear their homegrown cherries taste better than the store-bought alternatives and reportedly taste fresher (which shouldn't be surprising). I can see myself growing cherries and reaping the benefits in the form of picture-perfect martini garnishes at home.

6. Tomatoes

Raw Tomatoes
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As someone who grew up in New Jersey, I have an unhealthy obsession with tomatoes (or Cherry tomatoes), and I'll never pass up an opportunity to eat freshly grown ones. As it turns out, I'm not alone. "Tomatoes have to be the best thing to grow yourself instead of buying it in the store," admits one man. "I grew over 100 pounds this year, and they taste much better than tomatoes from the store, and they were so easy to grow."

7. Mushrooms

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Growing mushrooms at home gives you the flexibility of always having the specific type of fungus you need. Countless kinds of mushrooms are commonly used in a variety of dishes (my favorite being porcinis). Being able to grow a variety of mushrooms in your backyard garden and avoiding going to the supermarket to buy them would make cooking much more manageable!

8. Raspberries

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According to many gardeners, raspberries are the perfect fruit to grow at home because of how much fruit you get from a relatively small amount of seeds. That sounds good to me! "Raspberries grow like a weed, so once they're established, you don't really have to do anything except pick them." For someone averse to any gardening, the ease of growing raspberries appeals to me.

9. Lettuce and Leafy Greens

Fresh Iceberg lettuce
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Please stop buying lettuce and other leafy greens in grocery stores because that is arguably the most enormous waste of money a shopper can experience. Greens can be grown for literally pennies in any typical garden. Let me say this: How many times have you paid $3 for a bag of pre-made salad in the produce section? If you're anything like me, being more frugal starts with growing greens in your garden.

10. Blueberries

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Unfortunately, blueberries seem to be inching higher in price in 2023 with no signs of slowing down. However, in this case, there is a foolproof method of combating fruit inflation: Grow them yourself! Not only are blueberries undeniably delicious, but they're also an incredibly versatile fruit. Blueberries are a must-grow for any amateur chef's garden, as you can incorporate them in everything from syrups to desserts to sauces (and everything in between). You won't be disappointed. Source: Reddit.

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