erins327
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Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

I keep a little excel spreadsheet of how much I buy for the garden, and how much money I save growing my own stuff. I started in 2014, with a $64 profit (spent $207, but got $275 back).

2015 was better of course, with $230 spent but $340 back. ( $110 profit)

I know it certainly is not running a farm numbers, just me, and little 300' square foot garden.

Anyone else have 2015 numbers to share??
#foodisfreeyall

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digitS'
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

I don't have 2015 numbers to share, haven't done my taxes, yet!

Knowing what we save on the food budget through the summer and from storage veggies would be difficult to assess. You are to be commended for keeping track - and it should be an inspiration!

My gardening is probably best described as "market gardening" in that we sell surplus at a farmers' market. Income counts as "farm income" for the 1040.

When that market was first starting out and as an "active" retired guy, I had a role in administration and was interviewed by the local ag newspaper. The story was never published probably because I couldn't embellish it enough with numbers. I was doing my best to promote the new market and had been speaking to a group at Cooperative Extension and the reporter was in the audience.

I thought it had been a darn good year for an olde guy with about a half acre and a 5hp rototiller. (We have never done better since.) I told him that we had grossed about $15,000. He asked, "And, how much of that did you take home?" Me, "About half of it ..."

I'm hard of hearing but he startled even me when he slapped his notebook closed. Hey, working for less than minimum wage isn't crazy ... is it :? ?

Steve :D
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

no not crazy, when the "work" is so much fun and so mentally and physically healthy!

Never occurred to me to try and figure out what the produce I grow is worth in dollars and seems like too much of a chore to try. It is priceless in taste, nutrition, CO2 saved, etc.!
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lakngulf
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

I have never tried to figure it out, but:
1. I would have a hard time buying a tomato as good as the ones we grow
2. Knowing what veggies are in the garden and ready for picking helps determine menu
3. There is no price I could place on the good will from giving my tomatoes and other veggies to friends and family
4. The pleasure of scratching in the soil, watching a seed grow, and finding a fresh veggie, is great.
5. I agree with rainbowgardener "priceless in taste"

When my son was in high school and college we were able to go dove hunting a time or two during season. The meat resulting from a dove = two small breasts, weighing almost nothing. A coworker and I tried to figure the cost per pound of those dove breasts. When you consider tractor work, seed planting, fertilizer, shotgun, ammunition and a LOT of missed shots, the cost was unreal. But, great food when grilled in a shiskabob with pepper, onion, pineapple and venison tenderloin cut about same size as the dove breasts.
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imafan26
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

I used to keep track of my garden expenses. It was a labor of love and it was not all vegetable gardening. I had a garden allowance of about $200 a month. I grew more than I ate or gave away.

These days, I don't have the luxury of a garden allowance so I have cut back a lot. I save seeds and friends give me seeds and produce and I give away some of my extras. I did 4 soil tests and found out I was really over fertilizing so I cut out a lot of the fertilizer. I only fertilize complete fertilizer for potted plants and I actually have been starving my orchids and they are declining. I need to feed them more. I still buy seeds and compost, potting soil, and tools, but my out of pocket expenses are about $80 a month. Most of of that is for water.

My community garden plot costs $80 a year to rent.

I do sell herbs at the garden, but all of that money goes to the garden. I put out about 20 trays a month. Mostly $1 herbs, some $3 gallons of mostly peppers. Some plants like the super hot peppers and bay leaves and specialty items like pandan are higher. I sell about 50% but most of the herbs will keep another month. I sell a few vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, Japanese cucumbers. They do not keep so I only offer a few and I do experiment with some new things but most vegetables do not sell well so I only offer 10 of each at most. What doesn't sell goes to the volunteers or goes into the herb garden. the pots and potting soil are recycled. The garden allows me to buy perlite, peat moss, and fertilizer when they put in their order. That way, I get their discount so it is better than retail. I bring my used potting soil to the garden and have it sterilized in the steam sterilizer to kill the weeds and then I bring it back home again. I do get reimbursed for seeds I order and they buy the pots, media and most of the fertilizer. I am using some of my fertilizer, media and water growing plants for them at home. When I did keep track the herb sales between $2000-$3000 a year and expenses were about $1000. 10 hours a week for 11 months. I'd say way below the minimum wage. It is probably higher now because the sales are more established and we have a regular customer base that come to our one day a month sales. I am not the only one bringing plants to the sale. Someone brings a truckload every month and the other garden volunteers in the nursery also grow a variety of landscape plants, trees and edibles so there is a good variety.

I do not sell my plants or vegetables, I either use them myself or I give them away or I get something in trade. Now days, I try to grow what I will eat and less to experiment to see if I can grow it. With the rising cost of food, I think I am saving about $100 a month. I grow most of my herbs, eggplant, hot peppers, green onions, ginger, fresh beets, tomatoes (90% - I still buy a few when I don't have any, but I do feel guilty), fresh corn, Meyer lemons, calamondin, figs, Satsuma mandarin, chayote and shoots, squash, most of my cucumbers, daikon, and some seasonal Asian vegetables.

My friends give me avocado, papaya, eggplant, limes, basil (I can't grow it because of downy mildew, but my mom can), more daikon, some lettuce, lychee, mountain apple, pomelo, dragon eye, some bananas, and more eggplant.

I can get lettuce, watercress, cucumber and some fruit from work. Sometimes they give it to the workers.

At the garden we have an orchard. Most of the fruit is given to the food bank now, but occasionally I can get some mango, grapefruit, cannistal, guava, and I have a variety of different hot peppers and herbs that I grow in the herb garden and the Brown Turkey fig. Sometimes if I have vegetable starts left over from the sales, I will put it in the herb garden if I have an empty spot or give it to the other volunteers rather than wasting it.

I do agree that nothing compares to the taste of fresh picked fruits and vegetables. Corn on the cob just picked doesn't even need cooking, crisp young asparagus spears, fresh beets and greens, watercress. There can be too much chayote and eggplant. Sweet currant tomatoes, crisp cucumbers with spines still attached, fresh herbs snipped right before they are added to the pot, and ripe figs.
All this for about 16 hours of my time a week. I think I am still making less than minimum wage after costs.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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digitS'
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

Imafan26 Mon Jan 04, 2016 6:24 pm
... I still buy a few when I don't have any, but I do feel guilty ...

Not feeling guilty about buying food may be one of the advantages of living where the period between frosts is only 150 days :).

I make the joke that we sell vegetables so we have enough $ to buy broccoli in the winter. It's only half way a joke. We eat a lot of fruit and only have one small peach tree :D .

Harvesting early varieties of potatoes, and not quite the right storage conditions in the basement, means that the spud patch is limited to what will provide us with potatoes until about now. Onions do better down there but we like the sweet ones and getting them completely through winter can't happen. Some varieties of winter squash do okay but much of what I grew in 2015 had such large squash that I cut and cooked them since we are not able to eat 10# of squash at once. That's in the freezer.

We do not can so there is a fair amount of food in the freezer but DW and I eat most of our veggies stir-fried. For the past three winters, the benches in our 180 sqft greenhouse have been replaced by beds growing Asian greens, mostly bok choy. This year, I'm trying lettuce also. We had plenty for stir-fries in December but there is almost no growth in there through January. I don't turn the greenhouse heater on and just cover the plants with a low tunnel. An additional tarp will go over that when temperatures drop below zero. In February and March, we will have fresh greens again ;)!

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

imafan26
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

Potatoes, carrots and onions, I usually buy. I cannot grow them year round and I don't even have a basement for storage. Onions I grow must be eaten or pickled within two weeks. Then they are sweet and not eye burning, after that they get very hot and our humidity makes it hard to dry. Carrots can only be grown in the cooler months, they are bitter in the heat of summer and they cannot stay in the ground too long or they get woody. I don't eat that many potatoes so I would rather grow sweet potatoes but they sprawl and take up too much space. Besides, most of these staples are relatively cheap to buy and not that easy for me to grow.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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jal_ut
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

I have in the past kept track of everything that came off the garden. Sorry no number to share. I have lost those old records.

When you buy a lil bag of small onion sets for a couple of bucks and end up with this, though I would say the rewards are there?

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imafan26
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

Well, you are a great gardener and you have long days in your short season. the first time I planted garlic, I had the right kind by accident. The market ones are the right kind for me, but I did not know about the short day and long day varieties of onions and garlic. The walla walla never germinated, and the garlic cloves I started in June actually shrank because I planted them at the wrong time of the year. I planted elephant garlic (which I now know won't grow where I live), and it shrank too.

I actually keep most of my garden receipts but I haven't done anything more than put them in an envelope. I used to give someone at work a lot of my hot peppers and he would in turn give me pepper sauce. I told him, I pick them but I don't clean them. He once asked me if I knew how expensive they were to buy at the market. I told him, I don't buy hot peppers so I had no idea. He said jalapeno's were about $2.99 a lb but the small hot Thai and tabasco chilies sold from anywhere from $6-$12 a lb depending on the time of year. Eggplant sells for about $1.69 lb, green onion $1.79 a bunch, herbs are about $3 a bundle, cilantro is $1.39-$2.50 depending on the size of the bundle, chayote $1.69 lb, when it is in season, sweet potatoes $1.79-$1.99 lb, tangerines $0.89 lb, Papaya $1.19 lb, Mango $1.50 each. Leafy greens on sale $1-$2 a bunch, Watercress $2.99 a bunch, green oniono $1.79 a bunch. I do save some money growing my own especially the longer lived plants with multiple harvests like the hot peppers, eggplant, tomatoes and swiss chard. Not so much on the low yield short crops that are once and done and bolt before I get to them. I eat all the corn I grow but if I used the same space for eggplant and then I would probably come out with more yield and savings per square foot. I am definitely losing money on zucchini when I only get 2-4 zucchini for all the space they occupy and the cost of the seeds.

The cost of seeds has gone up considerably in the last 10 years. Saving seeds has reduced the cost for me a lot, but I cannot save hybrid or parthenocarpic seeds and they are usually the most expensive. That an the superhot peppers and stevia which has a low germination and costs about 50 cents per seed. I bought Bhut Jolokia when it was the world's hottest pepper for $1 each and the germination rate on that one is not the best either.

I am saving money, but it is a toss up to say that I am actually ahead of the costs. Some experiments did not work out, some plants grew well. There were just too much or I did not really like them. (purple top turnips and some of the tomatoes I have tried.)
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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digitS'
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

Highly perishable vegetables tend to be expensive even if they are very productive per square foot.

Highly "storable" vegetables tend to be cheap, at least in supermarkets.

If you are in a household eating lots of one and few of the other, it makes financial sense to garden with that in mind. However, this financial advice is from someone who thinks of "stock" as something useful in soup.

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

imafan26
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

True, but it is better to 'stock' your garden with what you like to eat . The trick is to learn to plant in succession so you have some of it on hand all of the time but don't get such a glut all at once that you cannot eat or give it away fast enough. It is just a waste of space to plant anything you would not want to eat.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

imafan26
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

True, but it is better to 'stock' your garden with what you like to eat . The trick is to learn to plant in succession so you have some of it on hand all of the time but don't get such a glut all at once that you cannot eat or give it away fast enough. It is just a waste of space to plant anything you would not want to eat.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Taiji
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

I have never kept track either of garden finances, but I suspect that I'm not in the black, but in the red. Because here in Arizona, we have to water so much. I have to pump water from 300', which actually is not that deep around here anymore. And you have go do it every couple of days. The Arizona sun is relentless. The water table is dropping significantly since so many people are moving here and using it up. My electric bill goes up significantly during summer.
At a new location where I'll be doing some of my gardening this summer, I expect the electric bill to be much less. There is a much shallower well. I've already been using it quite a bit for trees and other plants I planted at the new property. The electric bill is almost insignificant. Maybe I'll break even financially.
But, you can't put a price on working with the soil. :D

imafan26
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

Water is one of my biggest expenses. When it rains a lot, I only use 3K gallons a month but when the sprinklers are on it goes to 11-13 K gallons. The water charges aren't bad but the sewer charges are ridculous and I am being charged for water that does not go down the drain. $70 on a low month and over $200 on a high month ( it is especially bad if I forget and leave the hose or sprinkler or the toilet runs). I recycle as much water in the house as I can, so I am only using about 1000-1500 gallons in the house, the rest goes in the yard.

My second highest cost is for media. Potting soil, perlite, peat moss, and cinders. I have a lot of pots in my pot graveyard so I only buy a few pots and most of those are the bigger ones. I use muck buckets for 20 inch pots since they are cheaper than buying planters and the planters these days are so brittle they don't last long anyway.

I bought more rubbermaid tubs to make earthboxes. They use water and fertilizer more effficiently so I am hoping to save more using them for tomatoes. I might be able to convert the muck bucket to earth boxes. I might try that or try a wicking container. I tried the hydro gels. That works in summer but will kill plants in the pots and in the ground in the rainy season so it only would work where you have total control of watering.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

THREE THOUSAND gallons of water a month, when it rains a lot?? and you are not talking about acreage... I really don't understand. I don't water at all when there is any rain in a week. Cincinnati gets 40" of rain a year pretty evenly distributed and summer is humid. Many weeks I didn't water at all. Other weeks the only thing I watered was hanging baskets and a few of the smaller containers which dry out faster, and the compost pile. Maybe our household used 3K gal per month, but if so that was mainly showers/baths, dish washing, laundry etc. I think my garden contributed very little to that (and I NEVER water lawn - if it can't maintain itself on rain, it can die).
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applestar
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

Hahaha -- I wasn't going to comment, but I guess I will.

Fact is, I try not to think about it, :oops:

Sometimes, we are flush or I recklessly spend -- sometimes, I feel guilty of the expenditures, and try to conserve, use a lot of recycled and DYI items. I'm generally and naturally spend-thrift about needlessly throwing away stuff anyway.

I definitely have something edible to harvest year-round. Sometimes a lot, sometimes not. Some are favorites and mostly saved for my DD's to eat. Some for DH. I might have a taste. Other times, NOBODY wants to eat whatever it is, and I end up eating it by myself. (I mostly don't grow things that even I don't want to eat :lol: )

I couldn't tell you how they compare to store-bought because I don't buy them from the store when I'm harvesting them from the garden. But I would guess mine can be considered more-or-less organic produce -- certainly don't use any chemicals but wouldn't pass the standards regards surrounding influences and buffer zones.

When really busy, I can barely keep up with the gardening and harvesting and don't have the energy to weigh and record, let alone research prices and compare... though I do take photos of almost every harvest for my own amusement.

I water as needed from the hose following the municipal summer water restriction, but I mulch and dig swales and catchments, save and direct rainwater from the roof gutters to use so most of the water is not wasted running off property.
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j3707
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

Great topic - being the start of a new year, this has been on my mind. I garden for more than financial reasons, but I definitely expect to turn a net profit, even if amortized over several years due to initial expenses. Steve Solomon said he calculated he earned something like a dollar per square foot of garden space back in the 80's (1000 foot garden, in 80s dollars).

I am expanding my garden space by 400 square feet this year, so I expect to have a large initial expense. I am bringing in soil for raised beds and will be buying some cattle panels for trellising. On the other hand, I am using logs felled on my own property to create terraced beds and litter from my own coop for compost. I will keep track of (at least on a rough basis) how much value in produce I pull in this year. We buy greens year round for our daily shakes and that adds up quick. I am trying for a 9 or 10 month harvest of greens in 2016.

Not to mention fruit! That takes a bit longer, but over 10 years or so, an apple tree ought to be a strong net gain.
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imafan26
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

The initial expenses usually put you in the red. But some things are durable like fencing, trellises ( if made well) raised bed edging, irrigation system. Some things still need to be replaced pots wear out especially the new ones they are so thin and become very brittle, tools have to be maintained and replaced, and then their is the costs of seeds, media, fertilizer and compost if you don't make your own. I think most of us would probably break even or maybe earn a small profit. But, most of us get more out of just growing things and knowing how hard we have worked for our food, and what went in it and that is the greater reward. In terms of hourly pay, we are all slaves to our gardens.
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Gary350
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

When I was young my Grand parents saved seeds from every years garden to plant the next year so they did not have to spend money on seeds. Back then people grew a garden so they could save money not buying it at the grocery store. There were no hybrid seeds then. All was good.

I save seeds too it saves me money plus it saves me a trip across town to buy seeds. I have never kept track of costs vs profit I know there is not much profit but the benefit is healthy safe home grow vegetable that taste much better than the grocery store. I toss a hand full of tomato seeds in a hot bed they come up in the spring all I have to do is dig and transplant with a tiny hand shovel. The larger seeds I save are easy just plant in rows. 4 ears of corn is plenty of seeds for next summer crop. I save egg shells from the kitchen for tomato plants. I always Can 100 pints of tomatoes, 20 quarts of tomatoes, 65 pints of green beans, if I plant more corn than we can eat we will probably get 50 pints of corn too. Garlic is already planted and looking good I have 75 plants coming up planted from last years crop. I got a load of free used windows from an old house next fall I will have hot beds and maybe a small green house to plant things I don't usually plant. We hope to have a winter crop next year. I pee in 5 gallon buckets of organic material all winter to make my own high nitrogen fertilizer. Yesterday I paid $11 for a bag of 15-15-15 fertilizer and I still need to buy 2 bags of peat moss for bell peppers. I will probably have $30 invested in this coming years garden not counting gasoline for the tiller. You I compare my canned food to grocery store prices I will probably have 225 jars of food 75 cents each = $168. minus the cost of gasoline, peat moss, fertilizer = about $100. saved. You can not put a price on good healthy food that you know has not been sprayed with something toxic. My garden is 40' x 80' but I have not been planting the whole garden for the past 7 or 8 years. I will probably plant 40x40 this year. My son wants to plant his own garden so he can have the other 40x40.
Last edited by Gary350 on Thu Jan 07, 2016 4:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

PaulF
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

I happen to be one of those anal people who try and keep track of everything. An economist by schooling, I love inputs and outputs....but not in this case. Gardening is my attempt to separate myself from thinking in terms of profit and loss. While I do track every tomato by weight, the financials for a backyard gardener are completely meaningless for me. It's like trying to decide the profit and loss of going to the movies; cost vs. enjoyment received.
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imafan26
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

Most people also forget the cost of the land. Around here real estate is the hardest thing to get. People living in apartments and those that don't have access to community gardens just finding a place to garden with enough light, air and water can be challenging.

For small space gardeners you have to choose wisely which plants to grow to get the best value for space and yield. Growing corn in a small garden does not yield much per square foot but it is yummy but it is at the opportunity cost of growing something with a higher yield like tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, and herbs. Fruit trees are good because they don't require as much maintenance as annuals, but do take longer to produce fruit and unless they are kept small they can swallow up all the light and space in a yard.

A one acre lot residential lot in my area is listed for $420,000. Hawaii is unusual, the land value can 30%-50% of the value of the entire property. It gets worse in the urban core.

A farm lot is on sale fo $250,000 per acre. Which would be about $25,000 for a 5,000 square foot plot. (0.11 acre)
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jal_ut
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

Many of you garden in containers and buy the planting medium? Your costs will certainly be high the first few years till you get set up well. For me, I garden out back in the soil left on the lot by the creator. We do have sprinkler irrigation from the reservoir and canal system. Yes, there is a yearly maintenance water fee, but it is not bad considering we get all the water we need for our acreage.

Some have said: "You are not a gardener, you are a farmer!" Perhaps so, but I do raise vegetables for self and also for sale. The fact remains, the techniques and tools used to grow things pertain no matter where you grow it. We can learn from each other, keep those tips coming!
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jal_ut
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

Silly software is frustrating. Posted my comment twice. Can't delete, so will edit!

HNY
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lakngulf
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

I try to be as frugal as possible with my gardening, but then some of my purchases are just because I want them. I get some great soil/compost from the farm where I grew up, have some concrete reinforcement wire tomato hoops that have lasted for years, collect leftover cattle panel pieces from construction sites, etc BUT there are new expenses every year. Couple years ago I bought a electric fence charger, used it with mixed results because I could not run electric wire around the entire garden (it is on the banks of the lake). This year I will add a bit more expense and completely efence a larger section inside the garden. Hopefully, this will improve production for me and diminish harvest by raccoons and squirrels.

RE: Saving Seeds -- I just get a lot of pleasure out of saving seeds the way I watched my Mom and Dad do over the years. I can still picture my Dad pouring thrashed pea seeds from one bucket to another, using the wind to discard the chaff. I now save okra seed, rattlesnake beans, and many varieties of tomato (brandywine, Cherokee purple, Gary O 'sena, amos coli, lush queen, indigo apple etc). I have not had luck with peppers but perhaps I have not grown any heirloom peppers.

RE: Profit from Gardening - The smile on friends face when I take them a bag full of fresh tomatoes, and the taste of a mid summer slice of tomato lapping over a slice of bread, silver queen corn microwaved in the shucks, watching a three year old enjoy fresh rattlesnake beans (when he refuses most veggies), etc are profit enough.
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digitS'
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

People without land, I want you to think about this: GOOPP. That is "Gardening On Other People's Property."

I have done GOOPP for years. At first, it was just opening my back fence gate and walking across the alley. There was a vacant lot. Twenty plus years later - it's still a vacant lot! I never met the owner as he lived about 40 miles away but his name was in the county court house records and they were available to the public. After all, I was a neighbor, altho' none of the neighbors had ever met him, as far as I know.

When I moved, I was motivated to find another location - in time, I built a gate in my back fence and garden in part of that neighbor's garden! Ha ;)!! He is a single guy and I cover two of his beds in combination with a shed, for protected growing in the early spring! This is beside (about 5 steps) from the two beds I cover in my own yard!

My own yard is only a city-sized lot. So, I get in the pickup and drive two other places. One is a single family home on 4 lots the size of mine. My second (or 3rd) place is on several acres. The owners' household once included children who have grown up and have families of their own. I think the parents will move to a smaller home within the next few years but they were gardeners and downsized their garden about 10 years ago. I arrived about that time ;).

You have to make some plans and commitments if you GOOPP. First of all, you aren't there to do their yard work. You always refer to it as "their garden" but if they grow things on one end, the boundary is clearly laid out. Give them a little something from your garden whenever they show up but, just as you aren't their groundskeeper, you aren't growing the produce for the property owners. I spend enough money on gas just getting out there!

The guy who owned the property across the alley - I made 3 pints of apricot jam, from his apricot tree (!), and sent it to him with a thank you note every year. Currently, I pay the water bill on one place but not the other.

I'm appreciative of what I have and try to never be in the way, never wake people early, and never make any unsightly mess. They look at bare ground through the winter months. You know, I wouldn't be very happy with that but I'm not there! Besides, it must be better than looking at weeds!

:) Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

imafan26
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

People actually commandeer the buffers along the highways for gardens, but they often get raided too. Ag workers in the sugar and pineapple fields used to grow squash, and bittermelon in the fields and occasionally a wild pig would come by especially in the drought looking for food so they would capture the sows and any babies and build pens for them and feed them the weeds and sweet potato leaves growing nearby.

There are 9 community gardens run by the city and a couple of private ones and some churches also have gardens for their members. The wait list on the community gardens has been as long as 2 years in some places. It depends on how aggressive the garden is at making sure the members make the minimums like paying their fees on time and making the attendance and cleanup requirements.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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digitS'
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

I had a community garden plot for several years. It was during that first time, I had the GOOPP garden through my backyard fence ;).

The community garden was actually some unused land that was part of a public park. The city used most of it for a storage yard and their trucks would haul soil, mulch and such, in and out.

Because it was beside the park, people would walk through often. That was usually part of the fun.

One day, I found a guy standing outside my little chicken wire fence. I stopped before I went through the gate. "God grows these, right?"

I didn't think fast enough to do more than agree. What I could have responded with is the old farmer joke: "Yes, but God wasn't doing too much good here when he was running things by himself."

We had some theft at that garden. One lady had a little sign about it in her garden.

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

erins327
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

I love everyone's replies, great read!

I myself try to be as reusable and stingy as possible. I would say my biggest expense was soil, would truck in a cubic yard or so every year to upkeep the soil. We compost, but not really enough for 400' to upkeep. I guess transplants on some stuff would be my next cost. I seed out my own tomatoes and peppers, but I don't have access to a greenhouse and live in an 800' house with my hubby. No real room for inside growing!

Water is essentially free. Our 100 gallon tank plus another 30g of buckets catching rain water takes care of most of the year. The only time the hose is needed is in the heat of the summer, and by then the plants have usually given up.
#foodisfreeyall

sepeters
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

imafan26 wrote:Water is one of my biggest expenses. When it rains a lot, I only use 3K gallons a month but when the sprinklers are on it goes to 11-13 K gallons.
My husband would divorce me! I don't feel so bad about my water usage now. ; )
I am for sure in the red with gardening expenses. I live in the city in AZ and have no "lawn" (it's gravel). After building raised beds, buying soil, amendments, fertilizer, fancy pants heirloom seeds, pots galore and having to water all the dang time, it'll be several more seasons before we pay off the initial investment. Even then the savings would be marginal, but somehow worth every penny! : D

PaulF
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

After using my old Sears rototiller I am considering a new one. This would really throw the cost situation a curveball. I probably would have to place this input on a seven or nine year depreciation schedule and use the trade-in value this year to offset the initial expense then deduct a user fee over the next few years of useful life of the old tiller when it is employed for minor jobs.
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Gary350
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

sepeters wrote:
imafan26 wrote:Water is one of my biggest expenses. When it rains a lot, I only use 3K gallons a month but when the sprinklers are on it goes to 11-13 K gallons.
My husband would divorce me! I don't feel so bad about my water usage now. ; )
I am for sure in the red with gardening expenses. I live in the city in AZ and have no "lawn" (it's gravel). After building raised beds, buying soil, amendments, fertilizer, fancy pants heirloom seeds, pots galore and having to water all the dang time, it'll be several more seasons before we pay off the initial investment. Even then the savings would be marginal, but somehow worth every penny! : D
What part of Arizona do you live? Are you in the valley, Phoenix area? I lived in west valley 3 years then moved back to TN. I planted my garden in November and December. I was able to grow many plants that I can not grow in TN. Plants are extremely expensive in AZ tomato plants $5 each so I bought seed on ebay. Best melons, broccoli, chard, Spanish I get grew was in AZ. Corn grew but never make ears. Water is cheap $1 per 1000 gallons but sewer is $2 per 1000 so you call the water/sewer company tell them your using 1000 gallons every month for the garden then you don't get charged $2 for 1000 gallon of water for the months that you garden. My yard was covered with 3" of gravel too. I put an AD on craigslist, FREE gravel in back yard, Mexicans came and took gravel away they make money selling the gravel.

TareqPhoto
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

I am not good in calculating things, i just grow so i can save little money of what i buy, it may not save me much for one year or even two, but sure for long time it will show some saving, if i can grow tomatoes and onions and some herbs every year then i can save nearly $50-100 per year, we have them cheap here except tomatoes, but fruits are most expensive here and i can't grow most fruits, fruits need years to grow which means i have to live longer to see any saving, and i don't think i am able to sell what i grow, asians [mostly indians] invaded all markets with plants of all kind so i can't compete with them at all, even some friends growing by themselves too.

I think last year and maybe this year i am going to spend a lot on plants then i stop, i won't spend more next years.

imafan26
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

I just harvested my first Poamoho beans. So, I saved a couple of dollars, maybe closer to three.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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jal_ut
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

I am sure the situation varies all over. Here we often don't get any rain at all in July and first half of August. With temps in the 90s, we would not grow veggies at all without irrigation. Some years back the farmers put together a reservoir and canal project. The reservoir holds 13,500 acre feet of water and it is distributed via a canal system. I bought shares in the system and get my water from the canal through a pipeline, gravity fed, so I have sprinkling pressures. The acre out back gets a 12 hour sprinkling once a week with rainbirds. That puts a little over an inch of water on the area. Yes, there is a yearly fee for maintenance, but it is not bad considering what we get from it.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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digitS'
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

Since I have been doing this "gardening on other people's property" for quite some time, my irrigation situation has varied. The weather situation is much like yours, jal_ut. Someone might say, we are in the "same boat" ...

At one location, my 25' by 300' garden was in the middle of 9 acres. Irrigation water came from a private well and the sprinkles covered the entire 9 acres through the growing season.

Two locations, including one of the current, are part of rural water districts. The property owners would pay for water whether they use it or not. The owner says that he "never even comes close" to exceeding the maximum allowed without additional payment. I think he does that by not running irrigation on about 1/4 of his property. He considers the fees a tax and I am not expected to pay.

BTW, the property owners just over the fence to the west use no water except for their home, lawn and swimming pool. They put no water on about a two acre field, I'm sure, just to avoid mowing it more than once or twice a year. This sort of thing is common. In fact, the people across the road to the south not only do not irrigate about 3 acres but spray it with weedkiller. Yep,that is their view from their front windows for the last 10 years - acres of dirt.

At my smallest garden, the water department turns the water on and off for the outdoors, each year. This is the one home and one detached garage on 4 lots. The property owner and I use that outdoor water and I pay for it. With the drought, 2015 was the first year I have had to pay above the minimum but I've never paid more than $200 for a season since 1996 ;).

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

imafan26
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

My water charges are about $20 a month. What drives the bill up are the sewer charges for water that is primarily going into the yard. When I use 3-4 K gallons a month, my irrigation allowance is 0 even though most of that water is going into the yard. My irrigation allowance is probably what I use in the house ave 1-2 K when I have an allowance. Base sewer charges are $65 just to have an open account and an empty house. There are additional charges per 1k gallons. So when I use 13 K gallons a month. $40 is the water charge, sewer charges, taxes and other special charges are about $60-$70, so my monthly bill is usually around $100-$120 , closer to $200 if I have a leak or leave something on by mistake. I am considered a low user. Other families average bill is anywhere from $240-$400+ a month. The higher bills are usually the haciendas that have multiple families living in a partitioned house on a single family lot with one meter. It would not be uncommon to find 17+ people living in those houses.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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kayjay
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

Pardon the necro-thread; I wasn't around in January and missed this interesting conversation. I actually do track all of my spending on personal finance software, though I never thought of tracking my garden's output. I'm going to try that this year - I have a notepad and a digital kitchen scale handy.

Since moving into the house three years ago, I've spent $180 on the garden. This is a space about the size of a large closet, mind you. Most of the expenses were initial set-up. So far this year, I've spent less than $20. Our water is included in our condo fees, so I don't count that as an expense. I guess one expense to consider is the electricity on the grow lights, but it's a pair of 36-W bulbs being operated mostly during off-peak time. It would be hard to estimate the exact cost since they weren't on a timer.

I easily got over $10 worth of zucchini last year off that single plant, probably $15 worth of tomatoes, maybe $5-10 worth each of butternut squash, cucumbers, greens and peppers. You could value it at three times that if you consider the cost of organic vegetables. Mine aren't exactly organic, since the only fertilizer available for me to buy was Miracle Grow, but pretty close.

I may be working for minimum wage, but I don't know. It really doesn't require much effort or labour to take care of. And of course, most hobbies cost money. You're lucky if you get something tangible in return.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

Just want to second this:

I may be working for minimum wage, but I don't know. It really doesn't require much effort or labour to take care of. And of course, most hobbies cost money. You're lucky if you get something tangible in return.

I don't keep records and personally, trying to record all the produce from my garden would take a lot of the fun out of it! :) But clearly if you paid me for my time at minimum wage, the net result would be either down near zero or in the negative.

But all that time is time on my feet, away from computer/TV screens, out in the fresh air and sunshine, doing moderate exercise. People pay money for all that. So I get the health benefits of doing the gardening and then the health benefits of eating the fresh garden food. Win-win for sure!
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imafan26
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

My garden does save me money for sure but I actually appreciate it more because it tastes so much better when it is fresh picked and eaten. I do get sticker shock at the store though especially since food prices have trippled

Cabbages 59 cents a lb
carrots 79 cendts -$1.29a lb
watercress $3.99 a bunch
jalapeno peppers $2.99 lb
other hot peppers $4-$12 a lb
Chayote $1.69
Long squash $0.89 a lb
tomatoes $1.29-1.99 a lb
Eggplant $1.69 a lb
green onions $1.29 a bunch
Cut herbs $1.99-$3.99 a bunch
ginger $2.99 a lb.

I grow most of my herbs although I do sometimes have to buy cilantro for the recipes I find to make when I don't have any
I have never bought chayote, but it is regularly stolen from the community garden and I am sure somebody is selling it to the stores.
I rarely have to buy long squash, beans, tomatoes, green onions, ginger, most of the herbs, or hot peppers

I do buy onions, garlic, carrots, bell pepper, occasionally cabbage and beans.

I sometimes buy bananas but I can get some from my friends when the trees come in. I can grow or get long squash, eggplants, most of the tomatoes, asian greens, strawberry, taro, lettuce, daikon, fresh beets, hot peppers, peas and beans.

I grow citrus trees so I do get lemons, limes, mandarin oranges and can get limes, graprefruit and some other citrus from my friends and family. People ask me for calamondin. I also grow asian specialty herbs Curry leaf, bilimbi, ginger, hot peppers, kaffir lime, lemon grass, kale, asian greens, daikon, chayote, beets. Seasonally I will grow carrots, onions and garlc, but not enough for year round use.

I used to grow more basil but with basil downy mildew it has been hard to get it to survive. But my mother can grow it, I just have to drive 7 miles to get it.

I grow green onions chives, Indian curry leaves, thyme, marjoram, oregano, lavender, hot peppers (different varieties but mostly I use super chili), mints, and ginger.

In summer I can grow gourds, squash, sugar baby water melon, passion fruit, bush squash, butternut.

If I grow tropical corn I can get up to 3 crops a year.

I do have to work on timing though since I don't get to use it all before it bolts. I could probably get an even more cost efficient garden if I did that. I just picked 4 Kai choy cabbage a couple of weeks ago. It took me a week to eat it and the rest of the patch bolted and became compost. I basically harvest about 2 sq ft of a 3x12 ft bed. So, definitely over planted and could not harvest it fast enough. I regularly have more beans than I can use and I have nine vines. It is why I prefer to grow things that are not so perishable and produce over a long time. So, I don't grow a lot of lettuce or beans and more eggplant, gourds, peppers and herbs. I have been at this a while and I still have to work on getting the quantities down and to plant the garden slowly instead of all in one day (my usual). Too many things end up needing to be harvested in the same week and I can't use it all.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

pepperhead212
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

Besides tomatoes, which would be impossible to find as good and as varied as I grow at home, there are many things that I grow that, even if they could be found online somewhere, would be so expensive that just a few of them would pay for the rest of the garden. And some,while available 20 miles away, require driving there and back. Then, how do you put a price on what fresh cut herbs are worth?
Dave

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