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April 29, 2009


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Ahh, that's a friend to foster :-)

The WSJ forgets to mention one very important investment: time. Weeding can be a major factor in temperate/humid climates (ouch, Michigan). In my experience, the amount of work that goes into a square foot of vegetable garden is at least several times the amount that goes into a normal (decorative) garden (like roses etc.)

It's a terrific hobby though!

We put in a raised bed garden this year as an experiment (along the same lines as J.D. Roth's experiment) to see how much we could save. Even if we don't save money on it, I love gardening and it's a good, healthy hobby.

Save money gardening? Sure if you earn less than 25$ hr. and like being out doors.

Sorry we're lazy gardeners. Starting small in raised containers (large cheap totes)using 'square foot' and 'companion' and crop rotating , a 4' X 4' area
keeps our family in vegetables 6 month a year.
Weeding time about hour week between barbeques.

We've got about $25 in 'start up' costs (seeds and 'top soil') so hopefully we'll get a good return. It's the first time anyone's done a garden in our yard for a while, so we're not quite sure what to expect. Hopefully it works out!

Seems most things in life are affected by who you know. We bought our house next door to an avid gardener. He provided tons of information and free use of his rototiller. So our first year garden (400 sq. ft) cost us $50 for starter plants, and probably $50 in irrigation parts. We had more vegetables than we knew what to do with so it was definitely worth it for us.

The time excuse is only valid if you are paid hourly and don't like spending time in the yard on the weekend. As a salaried grunt, I enjy my evenings and weekends out in the garden (with my family helping of course)!

Working in a Garden and with the Soil can be very Therapeutic. It can take your mind away from the Day's and Life's Troubles. It can be a Stress Buster as well as an Anxiety Buster. It can also add to one's lifespan and to the quality of life.

Plus it can count as exercise as one plants, weeds, maintains and harvests.

For fun and backup of this - Google "gardening as therapy'.

So how much do you pay for a Shrink? Gym Membership?

I only count the Cost of my Time, if it is taking me away from some other
Therapeutic Activity.

Absolutely. Growing one's own garden is cost-effective, therapeutic, stress-relieving, and can serve as a family bonding activity.

In other words, an antidote to the economic crisis.

I'm not sure I'm going to recoup my investment in my vegetable garden this year. I've been gardening in three raised bed plots for 10 yrs. I had to do some major soil enrichment in two of the three plots this year. This required purchasing soil test kit, cottonseed meal, rock phosphate, compost, and peat moss. I'm already out $120 and I haven't even gotten the plants in the ground yet. I've been sowing seeds all week - peas, green peas, carrots, corn and I still have a long way to go. I like to have everything planted by Mother's day. My savings come from the fact that everything my garden produces is organic and I know that for a fact, rather than just paying high grocery store prices for something I can't verify.

I wish it were as simple as " digging up a few square feet of your lawn and sprinkling lettuce seeds in the dirt." If we did that we'd get maybe enough lettuce for one salad. The soil in our backyard is so poor. We've spent a lot of money improving it, so we are currently far from being able to triple our return! Gardening can be a great money-saver, but it definitely varies from region to region.

Your friend has a garden and he shares the excess vegetables, so you decide not to grow them on your own. Is that on the borderline of frugal v/s stingy???
No offence meant, but I would feel uncomfortable...

Last year I dug up a few square feet in my yard and sprinkled seeds in the dirt for my first garden. Most of them grew a little, but I was too lazy to thin the carrots and onions so they were stunted. The jalapeños didn't do anything. But the cherry tomatoes TOOK OVER. We were eating them with every meal and giving out bags of them through the summer until I got tired of it and mowed it down. Not bad for a first try.

I also started a compost last year, and this year I am using the results. I planted strawberries, onions, and watermelons so far, along with some herbs. My investment has been a few dollars for seeds and some time on the weekend. I had grander plans, but it's really just a hobby and I can't devote that much time. I don't think it saves me much money now, but I think it could if I put a little more effort into planning.

Good article on 'economy of gardening'!

Param --

Just to be clear:

1. He grows waaaaay more than he can consume and does so to give to others (it's part of the joy for him.)

2. I give his wife flowers from my rose garden. ;-)

I want a garden but the last time I tried it, the yard and tree pests ran off with the harvest.

I find that fruit trees give the best return on investment. A satsuma tree can be had for ~$30 in my area. All it needs is a nice sunny spot and some water, and it'll keep you in fresh citrus for years. Fig trees also do well here. I think that every area in the continental US has certain fruit trees that do well there and can be had for relatively cheaply at your local garden center. And a lot of them are low maintenance.

We had a friend back home who brought her extra organically grown tomatoes to church for everyone to have.

I toy with the idea of growing my own vegetables, but now that I live in Las Vegas, I'm not sure how possible that will be. I have considered hydroponics, though.

Here is a video I saw on 'How It's Made' that shows hydroponics.

Thanks for clarifying, I feel this arrangement is much more fair to both parties. Couldn't have expected any less from you :)
Apologize if my initial statement sounded offensive...
Regards, Param

Param --

No problem, no offense taken. :-)

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