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Gardening… a good investment?

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As I said in an earlier post, my husband and I planted our first garden this year. Correction… my husband planted a garden this year.

For the sake of the plants, I keep my distance.

He started early in the season and used a mix of seeds and small plants rather than buying large overpriced ones. He carefully chose the healthiest plants and worked hard to care for them. He used a thick mulch as a weed barrier and water saver (Sunset Magazine reccommends using gray water for gardening but I’m still on the fence about it).

Not wanting to be left out of the joy of growing greenery, I planted one single flower.

Here is my flower now…

I killed it with too much water.

Here is my husband’s garden….

Perfectly controlled and growing beautifully.

Is it worth it? Yes. He loves that garden and enjoys spending summer evenings puttering around the big green leaves. But are we going to harvest the value of the plants in their fruit? I’m not sure. I guess we’ll see in a few months. I’m going to keep a tab on our expenses (including the higher water costs) and see if we break even.

For the experts out there… is it worth it?


14 Comments

  • Reply jaye |

    Yes! It’s worth it!

    Try thinking about this holistically. Think about the quality of the food, the fact that you are controlling what goes into it, and the fact that it doesn’t get trucked all over the country. You may be using more water, but the fact that pesticides, commercial fertilizers, and gasoline are being saved should make you feel really good! Don’t forget that the food will taste better, too. Give your husband a big kiss.

  • Reply E.D. |

    I think it’s worth it if you don’t have to be constantly on the watch for critters. My neighborhood has a rabbit and deer problem, so I would have to build a wire cage and still be on the lookout.

    I do have an herb garden though, since the animals leave that alone. It’s worth it, especially since most herbs I planted survive the winter in Delaware.

  • Reply Caitlin |

    Define “worth it”. If you mean “will I make back the cost of plants and supplies in fruit and veggies this year”, the answer is usually no, at least for the first year (or couple years until the plants fully mature).
    However, if you include the enjoyment your husband gets out of it, then the answer is an emphatic yes.

  • Reply Craig |

    The costs and time put into a garden strictly for food purposes is not worth it with the return. But that’s not why people want to have and tend a garden. It’s a hobby for them, something to do and keep up and can be proud of. So for those reasons, it’s a good investment.

  • Reply Honey |

    You should check out the gardening posts at Get Rich Slowly. The author of that blog and his wife, Kris, have been tracking their expenses and output for years.

  • Reply Lisa |

    Jaye’s got it right. Gardening is worth it in a lot of ways – even in terms of money. But, it depends upon what you plant and if you freeze or preserve any of the bounty as well.
    Green beans for example…a few seeds in the ground produces lots of beans. Eat them fresh and enjoy. Freeze them for winter use (less work and no additives like if you canned them) and save a few seeds for next year. Same with tomatoes – I grow a lot of these, but I freeze the extras for use all winter in sauces, chili, etc.
    Needless to say, I’m all for gardening and have been working to make our landscape edible as well. Strawberries for ground cover. Blueberry shrubs, raspberries adorn the fence, Apple trees, etc. These are an upfront investment but pay for themselves in the long run; especially at nearly $3 and up for a pint of raspberries!

  • Reply Honey |

    Yeah, I live in Arizona so the work to make anything grow is just not worth it…I planted some herbs and some marigolds and nothing even sprouted.

  • Reply Family Man |

    I love gardening. My wife is also the “plant and flower executioner.” I love to plant vegetables, and flowers. I think the working outside with my hands is relaxing. My wife will look at a garden and ask waht all the “green crap” is….

  • Reply Diane |

    Also, think of how you’re also helping the environment by letting a little more green grow. =)

  • Reply Gayle@TheGroceryCartChallenge |

    Oh it’s SO worth it financially. My raised beds and fence were all built with free found materials. My plants are started from seeds (it’s too expensive to buy starts) and some of the seeds are harvested from last years bounty. I live in wet Washington so I don’t have to water everyday. And I only spend about 30 minutes to an hour per week in maintanence. It saves me at least $20 per week on my grocery budget to have organic, homegrown produce.

  • Reply Jeanne |

    Absolutely. I’ve harvested more value than I’ve spent on: potatoes, tomatoes, raddishes, lettuce, beans, peas, carrots, zuccini, to name a few. I have also purchased and planted seeds that never grew into anything that we’ve eaten, but over all, we’ve saved much more than we’ve spent. My only regret is that we can’t do it year round.

  • Reply Nicole |

    That is too funny! You’re sad little plant made me laugh:) Glad your hubby is getting so much enjoyment out of gardening.

  • Reply Mar |

    Your husband is enjoying it, so that alone is probably worth it. You’ll be harvesting fresh produce that ends up on your dinner plate that night, so that’s worth it. You can freeze or can any excess and that’s worth it. Try to eat the produce that you all grew and preserved on either the first snow day of the winter or on Thanksgiving – it’s a terrific feeling!

    For those who don’t have a garden plot, but do have a suitably sunny spot no a deck or porch, we just bought a second Topsy Turvy tomato planter (the thing that grows them upside down) and planted an heirloom tomato plant in it. I planted one during the week after Mother’s Day and now that it’s been fertilized and the weather has warmed up, that plant has totally taken off! It has probably quadrupled in size and we have a bunch of blossoms on it. I hope they produce actual fruit! These planters might take a couple years to pay off (presuming we do get tomatoes) but I do think they will pay off.

So, what do you think ?