I love life!

Hi, I am Jo and this is my blog about my life. Here you will find entries on cooking, gardening, food safety and the interesting things happening in my search for an inexpensive and healthy way of living. My home is located in North Florida and I am relearning how to take care of myself at almost 50. This is the deep South so my garden and season may be a bit different than yours. I look forward to seeing what you have to say as time passes. Read on and have a beautiful day!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Saving $$$ with a Garden

Last fall I started questioning if I was really saving money by having a garden. It seemed like I was always putting money into the beds and not getting as big of a return as I would have liked. To figure out if it is worth it I started logging just how much produce was coming from the garden and yard. Let me add here that many of the trees and plants we have in the yard have taken a while to produce appreciable amounts of fruits.

I started seeds the middle of September and have been continuously planting every week to ensure a steady supply of produce throughout the growing season. The sweet potatoes I dug in September were volunteers in the spring. I did not need the bed so they simply took over.

Since mid September I have harvested:
7.5 lbs sweet potatoes
9 lbs Barbados cherries
5 lbs limes ( my neighbor picks them as well)
2 large avocados
7 bunches arugula
1 bunch lettuce
2 bunches green onions
1 bunch Maruba Santoh (Chinese Greens)
1 ginormous radish
Countless Herbs- Basil, Zataar Oregano, Mint, Lemon Basil, Purple Basil, Cilantro.....

That is roughly 27 lbs of produce from the garden in a little over a month and a half. That is around $100.00 in groceries we do not have to purchase and that is estimating with Sweetbay prices not Whole Foods prices.
The best part is the garden is not really producing a lot yet.

We added 3 new beds this year. One was a gift and the other two cost $60.00. We also had to purchase soil and amendments as my composter, though great, can not keep up with the volume necessary for 3 new beds. I also purchased a rain barrel to help save on water usage. Total cost for everything (seeds and soil pots included) $195.00.  Another good month and we have paid off all expenses for production. I am not counting the $$$ spent on the landscaping as that is a separate issue. If I did another month of production will offset the cost.

The beautiful part of all of this is those cherries will become jam thus increasing their value and saving even more money. Tomatoes will become sauce and the herbs dried for cooking and teas. Fresh herbs will be chopped and mixed with oil then frozen to be enjoyed year round.  That means I am saving even more money than the $100 plus dollars on groceries.  


  1. You go, girl!

    I keep meaning to keep track of what has grown to see if I'm even breaking even. I don;t think I did this year. I got 25 pounds of potatoes from 6 pounds of purchased seed potatoes, and some of the little ones I left in the ground for new potatoes next spring. We'll see if I get anything. I got about 5 pounds of peas. And maybe 25 pounds of onions from 2 bundles of purchased onion plants. And then summer hit, killing nearly everything. This fall I've gotten a good broccoli harvest and 9 pounds of cabbage which is becoming sauerkraut. I got enough hot peppers for one pint of hot pepper spread. I don't think my beets, carrots and turnips were planted early enough to make anything but greens before a hard frost comes along and kills them all. I guess some of the cost, we can chalk up to "education".

    I'm glad you got a rain barrel. You will love it. Hugs!

  2. Thanks Ilene!
    Well, using Whole Foods prices I bet you more than broke even. :)
    The homemade sauerkraut almost makes it all worth it anyway. Turnip greens are really good as are beet greens - really good for you too. Maybe you can get a few "baby" beets and carrots out of the garden yet.
    I think we both have racked up "educational" costs. Last year the whole garden froze here as well. As long as we keep trying all is well.
    Hugs Back!!!


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