The Grocery Garden

How Busy People Can Grow Cheap Food

by Elise Cooke


Book Details

Spend more time dining than digging.

Finally there's a gardening book for people who want to eat, but don't need another hobby. The Grocery Garden is the definitive resource for growing real food with little effort and even less expense. You'll learn what's really important to plants, how to work with your local climate and conditions, and where to get supplies dirt cheap. This "knowledge first" approach makes all the difference in eliminating most of the work of growing your own fresh, delicious, healthy meals. You'll be amazed how much you can produce, and how easy it is.


Book Excerpt

How empowering is it to grow your own food? Well, we won two world wars that way.

With armies “marching on their stomachs,” fresh food quickly became scarce and even rationing wasn’t sufficient to feed the soldiers and the home front. There were also shortages in labor, fuel, trucks and airplanes to transport food from farm to table. Enter the Victory Garden. Governments in the United Kingdom and United States issued a strident appeal to private citizens to plant fruits, vegetables and herbs anywhere they could.

By 1944, nearly twenty million patriotic Americans had responded, producing upwards of forty percent of the produce consumed nationally, freeing up commercial crops to keep our forces fighting.

Fast forward to now. The hue and cry to renew the Victory Garden movement is coming from many voices; from Slow Food advocates, to health experts, to the Green faction, to economists concerned about our high trade imbalance and to patriots concerned about all the foreign oil we burn to farm, fertilize and transport our food long distances.

The “call to arms” also issues from those concerned about alleviating food shortages throughout the world, debt-ridden householders cutting expenses, apocalyptic self-sufficiency types building up their larders for the Big One, and even from simple folks who just like the taste of fresh produce. Pick your worldview. A food garden fits into it quite comfortably.

While I may touch on some of the other issues, my enthusiasm for vegetable gardening boils down to this:

  • Growing your own garden gives you a surprisingly-large amount of healthy food

  • in a surprisingly-small space,

  • involving surprisingly-little of your direct involvement,

  • while saving you a surprising amount of money!

That’s my personal struggle: the constant tug of effort versus outcome and nutrition versus expense. The purpose of this book is to prove the efficacy of a vegetable garden tactic in that fight. But, regardless of what trench you’re in, growing your own food is a solid step on the path to winning your war.


About the Author

Elise Cooke

Elise Cooke is also the author of Strategic Eating, The Econovore’s Essential Guide. As a time-crunched tightwad most of her adult life, Elise now writes regularly for various publications about how to get more out of less. Readers enjoy her informative, inventive and very humorous approach to all aspects of frugal living. Visit her website at

Also by Elise Cooke

Strategic Eating
The Miserly Mind