My wife and I went to the grocery store the other day and when it came time to pay for all of our purchases, I was a little taken back. I certainly don't have to tell you that the cost of everything has increased here in Montana, and let's just say that a dollar doesn't go as far as it used to.

We are seeing record-setting prices all over the state, from fuel costs to what we're paying for food. For many Montanas, this is a weekly struggle and folks are trying to figure out how they can save when possible. So just how much more are we paying for food?

According to CNN, we're paying about 10 percent more than we did at this time last year, and of course, some folks would say that percentage might be a little low.

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So what can be done about it? Are there any options out there? Well, let me ask you this: have you ever thought about having a garden?  With food prices sky-rocketing, one way folks can save some money is by growing their own food when possible.  In fact, there are fruit trees and several different vegetables that do rather well here in Montana.

Red apples
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Our friends over at Cashman Nursery in Bozeman explain on their website that you can grow many different types of fruit trees here in Montana. Fruits such as apples, pears, apricots, plums, and cherries do well in southwest Montana. Plus, many of these trees are beautiful, spruce up the landscaping, and provide shade.

However, it takes a bit for trees to grow, so that is probably a better long-term plan. What about something you can grow quickly?

Farmer planting young seedlings
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Here is a list of some of the vegetables that you can grow here in Montana and have success with, according to Owenhouse Ace Hardware:

  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Corn
  • Green Beans
  • Spinach
  • Onions
  • Radishes
  • Lettuce
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes

I know, maybe you're thinking, "I live in an apartment and don't have a place to grow a garden."  Valid point, no doubt. However, there are a couple of options. There are community gardens in many Montana cities and towns that allow folks to rent a plot of land and use it to grow their garden.

In fact, the city of Bozeman has three different locations for such a thing.

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Plus, some folks will actually have a little mini garden on their apartment patios with planter boxes and grow some produce that way. So, if you're looking to save some money, and know where your food is coming from, this might be a great opportunity for you.  Who knows, you might have a green thumb and find a new hobby that you're passionate about.

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