During both world wars, the U.S. government promoted “victory gardens” to ease the pressure of public food supply. Citizens who grew their own vegetables, fruits and herbs became more self-sufficient and less vulnerable to economic hardships.

“Today, as growing economic strain collides with growing concern for the environment, a modern-day victory garden movement is emerging,” says  Jack Olive, a master gardener who founded MasterGardening.com.

“Unlike the original victory gardens,” he explains, “modern-day victory gardens focus on environmental and financial victories. However, self-sufficiency, especially during a time of war, benefits everyone.”

Starting a vegetable, fruit and/or herb garden requires “a modest financial investment, mainly in the beginning, but the long-term benefits are amazing,” Olive says. “You’ll save money on groceries, while providing easy access to healthy, even organic, produce. Plus, gardening is a fun, rewarding hobby for all ages.

“Produce bought at grocery stores can travel hundreds of miles from grower to grocer, wasting gas and energy,” he continues. “This is not true of food harvested from your home garden. You can further benefit the environment and your wallet by limiting your water usage, avoiding harmful chemicals and using natural compost. And if your garden produces large harvests, you could sell or donate the leftovers.”

To get started, consider which type of garden would best suit your lifestyle.

“Container gardening on a sunny patio or balcony is great for individuals who don’t have much yard space,” Olive says. “For an outdoor garden, choose a sunny, level, easily accessible location. Using a raised bed is very convenient, and the added height helps if you have back problems.”

Tools come next.

“At the bare minimum, you should have a shovel, a wheelbarrow, a spreader, a hose with a spray nozzle and a hoe,” Olive says. He urges consumers to buy high-quality tools—a worthwhile investment because they’ll last for many years.

“Once you have tools, choose which vegetables, fruits and herbs you’d like to grow,” he says. “Herbs, tomatoes, sprouts, wheatgrass, lettuce, peppers and strawberries work well for indoor and container gardens. Outdoor gardeners will need to consider planting seasons and climate zones. A little research on proper planting times can save you a lot of money and trouble. Libraries and the Internet are great for learning when to plant which seeds. Read your seed packets for specific instructions on planting depth and spacing.”