Thursday, July 15, 2010

Is Veggie Gardening Frugal?

You've read it a hundred times: grow your own food to save money on your food bill. But is growing your own food really cost-effective? Sometimes I have my doubts.

Certainly some gardens are worth it, especially if all you had to buy was seeds and garden tools, but when I think about the costs of the containers, plants, potting soil, fertilizer, etc.that went into my small container garden, I have to wonder. I mean when locally grown cukes are only 33 cents each at the grocery, the paltry four cukes I've harvested aren't even worth the water bill. Of course my cukes are completely organic. Which means they're probably worth like 75 cents easy.

I don't grow veggies to save money though, I grow them because of the convenience and it's fun. Oh and home grown vegetables taste better. I love not having to worry about if I have enough cukes and tomatoes for my nightly salad and being able to just walk ten steps outside to pick more. Plus did I mention how awesome homegrown tomatoes taste? It is disheartening though when disease or the dreaded powdery mildew cut my harvest short (like I see signs of this year).

In order to get a better idea of just how much I do harvest in a season, I'm going to try to keep better track of it right here.

Veggie harvest 2010:
  • Cucumbers: 5
  • Lemon cuke: 2
  • Lemon boy tomato: 7
  • Tomatoes: 12
  • Green onions: Didn't count, definitely worth the cost of bulbs.
  • Basil: Loads
  • Cilantro: 5 bunches
  • Carrots:
  • Jalapeno peppers: 3
  • Habanero peppers:
  • Tomatillos:
Veggie count updated 7/17/10


  1. Wow - the video you linked to is pretty impressive. I agree that it's not really frugal -- particularly in the startup years. Between buying the products for a raised garden, soil, etc -- my current vegetable count is probably working out to about $20 each. But -- over the years, as the start up costs decrease and the production increases, maybe it will be more economical.

    For me, I think the other thing is more of an identity thing -- I want to be more like the family in the video (taking a step back from modern conveniences to produce things more independently).

  2. I agree, what that family accomplished on a city plot is amazing. Somehow I think my neighbors might revolt if I tried that, but I'd like to try it sometime (maybe not with a day job..).

    Growing veggies has taught me to be amazed at what our farmers do and that we have enough food at all. My own experience is usually more work than reward (lemon cukes are such a tease).

    I understand the identity point, and that's true for me too. Plus, after watching Food, Inc. it's nice to know exactly what has gone into your food. I can only know for sure what has or hasn't been used on food I grow myself.


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