What does it cost you to raise a garden?

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Last week I was talking to my daughter in the city, and told her we grow most of what we eat, or gather our meats in hunting & fishing season. I went on to advise her that we can eat all year on probably $25.00 After thinking about it, that's a little optimistic, what with cost of seed,10 cents/package at the local hardware store, gasolene for the tractor, small amount of fertilizer, and insecticide (if any), canning jar lids, stove fuel, electricity for freezers, hunting & fishing licenses, I guess it all adds up. This year I'll keep track of the expenses. No $150.00 grocery store trips at this house!

Has it been all that financially advantageous for you to raise your own? Of course it tastes better than "rippened/rotted in the box car" store produce. Anybody have good history to share on this?

-- woodsbilly N. Pa. (coleenl@penn.com), February 10, 2002


I think the last two years I spent about 35-40 dollars just on seeds. I would say that eat and put up about $300-400 worth of fresh produce. I probably could cut the cost if I would learn how to save back seeds from what I grew. I wish this is something that is discussed more.

-- r.h. in okla. (rhays@sstelco.com), February 10, 2002.

Thanks r.h.,

Salvaging seed from the garden at the end of the season is one of my weak points, too. I would definetly benifit from a little edu. in this area. I save seed potatoes, and not much else.

I believe that we save a bundle on groceries when we plant a large garden and properly preserve.

-- woodsbilly N.Pa. (coleenl@penn.com), February 10, 2002.

I cant say it "saves" me money,, but I do eat more salads and fresh veggies,, wich in turn should save some DR bills and such

-- Stan (sopal@net-port.com), February 10, 2002.

Don't know what the cost would be. I do like to save and dry seeds but most of us do like hardy hybrid plants and you have to purchase those every year as you know. My garden is not very big either, I guess I spend about $30 bucks on seeds and that includes some flowers. I rely on my bantam ducks for pest control and hand picking of course, don't use insecticides. We do recycle our mason jars(I never use mayonaise jars or whatever for canning) and my cousin and I go together and do the canning which helps cut down energy costs and whatnot. An interesting question. LQ

-- Little Quacker (carouselxing@juno.com), February 10, 2002.

Our garden is normally about 1/4 acre, depending on how carried away with myself I get. We raise a lot of potatoes and corn for starch in our winter diet. We try to raise a large variety of produce to provide a good variety on the table year around. We raise more than we really are able to use, and have gotten to know a number of elderly people in our area who are just delighted to have free, fresh produce like they used to grow themselves.

-- woodsbilly N. Pa. (coleenl@penn.com), February 10, 2002.

Hey woods glad to see ya posting agin , coming back to chat too I hope ? I have nevr added it up what we sell or save .I plant way to much every year and the animals get the excess.

-- Patty {NY State} (fodfarms@hotmail.com), February 11, 2002.

Hello woodsbilly, Last year I spend $28.00 on seeds. This year I spent only $16.00. I grow open pollenated plants so I usually let one or two "go to seed" and reuse them the following year.

I do not use chemicals in my gardens but, I do sprinkle diamastious earth to keep the insects down. That cost me nearly as much as the seeds I buy.

I use cow manure chicken manure and organic compost to rebuild my soil but, all of that comes to me for free.

I believe my yields run me around $500 to $800 in "store value" for produce. If I have a bumper crop, I usually will try to sell it, thus making even more profit.

My only expenses besides the seeds and dimamastious earth is TIME. But, my time spent in the garden is justified as exercise. If I was to put a value on it, I would just measure it at the cost of being a memeber of a health spa, which use to cost my wife and me $700.00 a year. But, that was several years ago while we lived in a city.



-- http://communities.msn.com/livingoffthelandintheozarks (espresso42@hotmail.com), February 11, 2002.

I have only a small garden, that we eat from in the summer. City lot, lots of shade trees, limited space. My biggest expense is WATER since we live in the desert and don't get rain. But it is worth the cost to eat fresh, healthy produce with no chemicals. Plus the joy of gardening. I can't wait to get out there again and dig in the dirt. I grew lettuce in a south window this winter just as an experiment. This year I hope to root my suckers off the tomato plants and grow them inside in the winter. Read about that one in CS several years ago.

-- connie in nm (karrelandconnie@msn.com), February 11, 2002.

Well we have about 1/4 acre in garden. I like to try new varieties. I also like to buy truckloads of soil amendments. So I spend some bucks on seeds etc.. However I feel [like to anyway] that I get good payback nevertheless. Also how do you price the advantages of getting the varieties you like let alone the freshness?? Plus I enjoy raising corn, watermelons, beans, squash, sweetpotatoes, peppers, broccoli and many more.

-- Wayne B. (sueblake@onemain.com), March 05, 2002.

My biggest expense so far has been canning jars. After this year, I should just about have enough.

I can't begin to tell you how much it is WORTH to me. Knowing my family is eating good food that is good for them. Knowing there are no chemicals on the veggies is priceless IMO. It is also the best excuse I have for time outside with my hands in the dirt instead of washing dishes or doing laundry!

-- Mona in OK (modoc@ipa.net), March 06, 2002.

I can't really say, since I'm not doing it at this stage. However, there are a couple of extra points to consider.

My point is that money saved is usually worth much more than money earned, because money earned gets taxed. How much money would you have to earn (before tax) to get to keep as much as you save by doing it yourself? There's also the point that if you're actually doing something as a money-raising enterprise and just using a little of the produce for yourself, then the expenses are tax-deductible as well.

Another point that a few others have made before (one of the younger Georges, I believe, made it particularly well) is that if you're doing something at home, you're not out spending money. For many people, if they have to get home early to put in some time in the garden or with the animals, then that can be a saving of a purchased meal and some drinks, and then maybe a movie and a few more drinks because it's not worth going home - every night. That sort of saving could put you a long way ahead of where you would have been very quickly, even if your garden were costing you $10 or $20 a day, 365 days a year.

-- Don Armstrong (darmst@yahoo.com.au), March 06, 2002.

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