Monday, August 19, 2013

Gardening: Does It Save Money?

So, Jack and I have discussed this a few times - does gardening save money in the long run?

It certainly has the POTENTIAL to save money.  But it can also become a money pit.  It's all in how you approach it.

You can buy expensive potted plants or you can use seeds.  You can buy expansive raised bed kits, or you can use scavenged lumber.  You can buy expensive organic fertilizers, or you can start your own compost pile.

For most of these there's a trade off.  If you use seeds then it takes a lot more time and effort on your part instead of just popping the plants into the garden.  If you get a raised bed kit, then your raised beds look really nice instead of like crap.  And so on.

I definitely come down on the side of cheaper-is-better and personally I am completely willing to put in more time and effort to save a chunk of money.... except when it comes down to having to wait on something.  It cost $4.25 for 20 asparagus seeds and $31.95 for 25 asparagus crowns, but I do NOT want to plant asparagus seeds and then have to wait 3 years before I can eat some.

As the time when we're going to clear our land looms closer, so does the time when it is finally possible to plant all the permanent things we've been waiting, and waiting, and WAITING to plant.  The fruits, the nuts, the perennial vegetables...

And (sadly) none of these things are cheap.

Fig - $18.50
Honeyberries - $80 (4x at approximately $20 each)
Serviceberry - $11.50
    Ashmead's Kernel - $24.50
    Belmac - $24.50
    Honeycrisp - $24.50
    Melrose - $24.50

                                                Fruit Total = $208
Hazelnuts - $71.85 (3x at $23.95 each)
Almond - $23.95

                                                Nut Total = $95.80

Jersey Knight Asparagus - $53 (50 crowns)
Alpine Strawberries - $50 ($5 per plant)

                                                Perennial Total = $103

That's over $400, and that doesn't even including shipping costs or fill dirt for raised beds or.......... all the many other things that cost money.

HOWEVER, once I get things planted and they start to produce well I do plan on using the excess as cash crops.  The only nuts I see at my local farmer's market are pecans, and I've NEVER seen anybody with serviceberries or honeyberries.  Nuts especially tend to sell at a decently high price-point, so I feel like I can recoup my start-up costs in a few years.

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