This is nothing like FarmVille. I feel deeply deceived…

$105 – soil, compost, manure, vermiculite, pete moss – 2 bags each
$20 – seeds and vegetable starts, one flat of broccoli
$19 – 3 beams of wood, nails, brackets for raised bed construction
$13.75 – increase in water bill for the month watering garden
Total $157.75

Labor – 5 hours on first day constructing bed, laying soil, sowing seeds and planting starts. Daily labor 30-45 minutes every morning watering, looking for weeds and bugs and nodding my head “Yup” satisfyingly.

Edible food produced over the course of a month = zero.

I clearly lack the patience for farming. Calculating the cost I’ve already spent, this amount would have fed my son and & I for a month or bought 14 boxes of wine!

I thought growing your own was supposed to help reduce the cost of groceries. Maybe I should be growing a vineyard instead or distilling moonshine. The ABC Store doesn’t let you run a tab, you know.

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  • Katie O’Keefe

    You should check out the following book: “Carla Emery’s Encyclopedia of Country Living”.  It is an invaluable resource for folks such as yourself, who are trying to reduce their grocery bill or eat better food.  It gives a clear, no-blinders, step-by-step way to do *everything* from have a really great garden, to being a subsistence farmer, to living off the grid.  (Disclaimer: Carla was kind of a hippie-chick, so sometimes she gets a little earthy, but take what’s important and leave the rest – it’s a good resource). Now, that being said, my father gardened for years and a couple of those years, we literally lived off of the produce from our garden.  The key to not having to wait around is making the investment, tending the garden with crops (yes, crops) that can be preserved either by canning or freezing and the SECOND year, it all feels much more productive.  Yes, it takes some patience.  But, it really is worth it in the end.  I encourage you to hang in there.  

  • GeekLady

    You might enjoy this analysis. After looking at a couple of years of their data, I think fruit is clearly the way to go:

    I only wish raspberries grew in texas.

    • JaneC

      That’s a great link.  The more I read about growing your own produce, the more I think that for those of us who have limited time and space, it’s best to focus on growing things that would be expensive to buy at the store, like bell peppers and strawberries, rather than carrots and cabbages that are quite cheap in most places.

      Of course, we looked all this up AFTER we shelled out $200 for raised beds, soil, fertilizer, seeds, seed starting kit, drip irrigation, etc, only to get nothing but basil out of the garden.  The summer was unusually hot, we bought the wrong vegetables for our climate, and we had tons of insects under the dirt where we didn’t see them until it was too late.  Unfortunately, we won’t get a chance to try again this year, because we’re moving.

  • Jeanne Chabot

    Wait a minute.  IT’S MARCH!!  And EARLY March at that!!!  How can you expect to already have food from your plants?!!!  (We won’t even be planting anything outside until late MAY here.)

    Plus from the looks of your plants, they are still WAY too young to be producing.  Summer is when you get the food lady!

  • Well, filling your raised beds with bought potting soil is expensive. From now on, plan on building up your soil with compost (which you need to start now)

    You won’t see a return on your investment in March – unless you’ve sown some spinach, maybe some lettuce… but come April and May, you’ll be getting some of that broccoli, plus peas and lettuce and spinach (I’m planting mine tomorrow morning).

    Then in late March/early April, you can plant beans, squash, summer peas (black-eyed), etc. directly into the ground. Don’t try to do squash sets; they grow well from seed, here in our area. If you have a LOT of room, you can plant a few dense rows of corn. In mid-April, after the threat of frost has passed, you can set out your tomatoes and bell peppers and eggplants.

    By June, you’ll be eatin’ high on the hog, and lovin’ it.

  • I don’t pay for dirt. I make it. I get free horse poop from the local horse therapy center. They will even load it for me they are so desperate to be rid of the stuff. I supplement it with my goat and chicken manure, then let it set over the winter under mulch which I get for free from the town’s mulch yard. You need to cultivate two friends: a tightwad gardener who can teach you where to be cheap locally, then a nice understanding pickup owner you can bribe with surplus veggies and a complimentary truck wash.

  • Charles

    I bought and consumed red wine from NC in Fayetteville just last June. Also flew outta Charlotte shortly thereafter, sorry, couldn’t visit.
    I have also sampled the shine, geography aside.
    I endorse the latter part of yer “maybe I should have….” Just sayin’

  • That’s the beauty of living in CA.  We have a garden year round 🙂  Here is what it looked like at the end of January. 
    Don’t forget to plant seeds every two weeks to continue the season.  Here is a helpful tool and they have a free 30 day trial.   
    Good luck!  Yes, I think the drive for gardening is somehow God’s way of saying – “Here, you need some patience.”

  • Rfrendz

    I think you could be over watering.  5 minutes or 10 at the most would suffice.

  • Here you go, courtesy of an instapundit link:
    Because I’m sure the ONLY thing that’ll help you is MORE STUFF! Yeah, that always  works for me. MORE STUFF!

  • Lydia

    My husband and I live by the seaside and have the most rubbish sandy soil you can imagine. It’s totally devoid of nutrients and holds no moisture. We have built up the soil by mixing in compost (from fruit and vegetable scraps), sawdust (left over from his work) and horse manure from the local racecourse. Each bag of manure cost $2 and weighed about 10 kilograms, so it was quite cheap. Don’t waste money on expensive soil. It’s better to build it up yourself. It will take time but it’s worth it. We plan to be as self-sufficient as possible in future, but you have to learn the skills first. Growing your own food is a long-term project. Over time you can save seeds from your own plants so you shouldn’t have to buy them anymore. Use discarded timber, or other materials, for plant beds.

    Here’s another tip: urine is full of nitrogen, which plants love. Should be diluted with water though, before sprinkling on plants.