Stretching Pennies

I got curious about how much you can save by gardening, and this Wall Street Journal article was very interesting:

The nonprofit National Gardening Association just produced a study – sponsored by ScottsMiracle-Gro Co. – that found the average family with a vegetable garden spends just $70 a year on it and grows an estimated $600 worth of vegetables.


George Ball, chairman and CEO of seed giant Burpee, can rattle off the savings for dozens of homegrown crops. Green beans will generate $75 worth of crops for each $1 you spend on seeds, Mr. Ball calculates. Even the lowly potato will generate $5 of spuds for each $1 you invest in seeds.

The article goes on to discuss the added cost of tools and equipment, but as second year gardeners, we’ve saved all our fencing and tools, so all we need now is seed, and the cost of some stepping stones and a little extra fencing since we’re expanding the garden. And since we’re getting mostly heirloom seeds, we plan on saving them. So the year after that, if we don’t plan on adding new plants, our garden will be free. People should really start taking advantage of their yards, I know it paid off big time for us, and it wasn’t as much work as the article describes. An hour of weeding a week maybe if you mulch properly, not back breaking labor by any means.

It’s also a fun way to get your kids involved in eating more healthy food. It’s been shown that getting kids involved in the growing and preparation of food they’re more likely to eat it. I’ve volunteered before getting kids to grow food before and seeing how excited they get over something like a tomato plant is really awesome.

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