One money-saving eco-tip I hear over and over again is grow your own food. Ever since I had a plot of land to call my own, I’ve tended a small veggie patch. Some summers my gardens flop, sometimes they take over the back yard—but even on my Year of Abundant Tomatoes, I doubt my homegrown efforts offset my expenses.
Last year’s tomatoes
Now, the good thing is, I am not doing it purely for economic reasons: I enjoy gardening as a hobby, and I like to dart outside to pull a scallion out of the ground or pluck a few basil leaves to garnish that tender homegrown zucchini. And of course it’s great knowing exactly where my food comes from.
So let’s take a look at my last two summers of gardening. Last year I spent over $200 on gardening supplies because we decided to make raised beds and fill them with new four-way soil. I also bought some soaker hoses, seeds, and starts. All of that yielded a great crop of tomatoes and basil—I’d estimate about $40-60 dollars’ worth. The carrots and lettuce flopped.
This year I needed to lay down a lot less cash, but I still spent about $40 on various plant starts, some of which were immediately devoured by slugs. We had a really rainy spring and I didn’t even attempt planting anything from seed. And now it’s August and—due the aforementioned rainy spring and consistent cool temperatures—I’ve yet to harvest a thing!
I know Joy is an expert in acquiring free gardening supplies, which would be a great start to making gardening pay off. Do you feel like you not only break even but actually save money with your gardening efforts? What are the secrets to your success?