Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gardening to Save Money

Back when I was 20, my husband and I bought our first house. I tried my hand at gardening and quickly decided it was way too much work and didn't seem to save us much of anything. The seeds we bought and extra money we spent on the water bill seemed to cancel out any produce we harvested from that garden.

Not to mention the fact that I spent several dollars on Seven dust that year. The moment that I spotted a creepy looking green worm (a tomato worm) near my plants, I turned to my grandfather for advice. He recommended  Seven dust from the local hardware store. It worked. I never saw a green worm again. It also dismayed my husband. "That defeats the purpose of growing your own," he said.

Little did I know, he was right. Statistics show that home gardeners who use pesticides typically over-apply them. Making homegrown produce more polluted with pesticides than those purchased at the grocery store. I didn't know that then, but I do now.

Years went by and I didn't garden. Honestly, I was too busy. Now that I'm 40-something, I have a bit more free time and I've been gardening several years. I'm still not sure it saves me money. It is more of a hobby. I rarely go to the grocery store now. Most of our food comes from our yard, goats, chickens, or trees. We had some significant start-up cost putting up fence for the goats, building a coop for the chickens. Now, we have only maintenance cost, which is basically feed and water. Let's say watering the animals adds an additional $5.00 to our bill each month. Our feed bill is generally $20 per month. The animals cost $25 a month.

I spend an extra $15 a month watering the garden each summer. ($45 per year) and I pay $15 for seeds each spring. The garden costs $60 per year.

If we aren't eating something we grew at home, we eat out. We go out to eat 2-3 times each week. That costs us roughly $40 -60 per week. I'd guess we spend an extra $20 a week on food from a store. That totals $80 per week.

If you add all that together, you will see I spend just over $100 per week on the "farm" and food for 3 people. I'm not sure how that compares to what other people spend, but that is how it works out.

I put a lot of time and labor into my backyard garden these days, as well as caring for my goats and chickens. I don't do it to save money, because I'm not sure it does. Buying seeds, paying for water, feed, etc. plus the loss of time adds up. I garden for fun. I enjoy it. Some people play basketball, others golf, I grow things. I try to conquer a new type of vegetable each year.

Happy gardening!

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