NEW YORK ( MainStreet) — If you want organic food but don't want to pay organic prices , you might want to start growing your own. Organic gardening is less expensive than you think .

What's more , it can be a relaxing way to spend your time.

"Just taking a few minutes every day to reconnect with the earth makes a big difference in how we view the world," says Craig Jenkins-Sutton, co-owner of Topiarius, Inc., a landscape design company in Chicago.

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Get great food. Take some time to reconnect with the earth. Save money. It's a no brainer. Here's how to make it happen.

Check Out Your Local Community Garden

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Nicholas Staddon, director of the New Plants Team at Monrovia, points out that 38% of people who are gardening are growing things for eating. To that end, he says, " interest in community gardens is going to the stars ." Not only can you get an allotment at a community garden there to till, you can also use the gardeners as a resource.

"The gardening community is very sharing," he says.

He advises just showing up on a Saturday morning or afternoon and asking around.

"Gardening can also be a great social experience," he says.

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Start Simple

Jenkins-Sutton points out that most people who are growing their own organic garden start with herbs and tomatoes -- both of which are easy to grow, even for the novice.

"To get a tomato on the shelf, it needs to be handled so many times," he says, "So tomatoes are grown more for durability than flavor."

A tomato grown in your own garden is going to be head and shoulders above anything you're going to find, even in the organic produce section, even at your local market.

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Even though tomatoes are simple, you're still going to have to ask questions to make sure that you get the right one.

"When does it ripen?" says Staddon. "What's the best variety for my area?"

These are questions that you can ask down at the local community garden or at a local independent gardening center.

Why to Go to the Independents

Staddon isn't one to knock the big box stores; however, he does believe that you get a higher level of service at the local independent gardening center.

"You want to go armed with information about the space that you're growing in, what direction it faces, what hours it gets sunlight during," Staddon says.

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