Gardens save you money!

2:18 PM

Today I plugged all the numbers into an Excel sheet and guess what...

The value of vegetables I grew (so far!) minus the cost it took to grow them equals over $150!

In this photo from Oliver's birthday party you can almost kinda see the organic jungle that is my veggie garden. I think in the bottom right photo I may have caught Chris stealing a tomato. Or it could be a water balloon:

I encourage you to do the math on your garden, every year. It's so excited and that much more motivation to keep doing what you're doing and to encourage others to garden as well.

To find your profit just write down your yield of each veggie. Multiple it by the cost in a grocery store of that product (for example, 1 bulb of organic garlic x $1.99 at Loblaw's) add all of those numbers up, then subtract your expenses. Those might include buying a new hose, gloves, trowels, soil, and of course seeds. If you want your profit to increase you need to of course grow more, but also spend less. Here are some easy tips for making gardening cheap:
  • Make your own compost by throwing veggie scraps, coffee grinds, tea bags & egg shells into a makeshift bin. After a year, dump it on top of your existing soil - no need to buy anything new!
  • Take care of your hose and other equipment so you don't have to buy a new one
  • Make a rain barrel out of any old barrel you can find, and you won't see an increase on your water bill
  • Host a seed swap so you can give seeds away and get new ones for free -- combine this with seed saving and you won't need to spend a penny at all!
I find some veggies easier to seed save than others. For example, beans and peas can be left on the vine and once they dry out you just pick them off, open them up, and save the dried seeds for next year. I think I have an inventory of scarlet runner beans in my seed envelopes that will last for the next 3 years minimum, including sharing. Peppers are relatively simple as well, save them while you're chopping one up for dinner - it should yield like 10 seeds which is enough for 10 plants next spring. Squash is majorly easy - even if it's a pumpkin just eat most of them baked with cinnamon and sugar, and save a few raw to dry out for planting next year. Garlic's the easiest - plant a clove and it turns into a bulb before your eyes. Some, like chives and basil, likely go to seed and self-plant themselves for next year. Pretty much the hardest is tomatoes - I have never experimented with fermenting and saving the seeds, mostly because Oliver eats EVERY tomato as soon as its any shade of red, whole, right before my eyes. He easily eats 5 whole tomatoes - not including the cherry tomatoes he eats - per day, unless we spend most of the day away from our backyard. In this case, I just seed save the varieties I can, and I bring them to swap with my friends at my annual seed exchange party, hoping I can pick up some tomato seeds from someone else, in exchange for say, something easy like sunflower seeds. All else fails, I order from The Cottage Gardener.

Now tell me about your gardens and how they save you so much money!

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