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

I just thought I'd update this with my results. In total, I grew over $72.00 worth of vegetables at local grocery store prices in the quantities at which I'd buy (no 10-lb bags, for example), and over $180.00 at organic prices! Not bad for such a small space.

Biggest winner is tomatoes. I grew just shy of 30 lbs from 5 plants. The 2 Brandywines produced 22 lbs alone. I was a little disappointed in the Rutgers and Bush Beefsteak, but they were in containers and I might try changing the conditions next year before I write them off. I already know I fertilized them incorrectly.

Second biggest crop was cucumbers. I got 30 off of 2 plants. I counted fruits instead of weighing, because that's how they're priced at the grocery store. I think I'll only do one plant next year, though. I was thoroughly cucumbered-out by the end of July. Most of them went into the dehydrator to become chips.

I was surprised that I only got $5 or $6 worth of zucchini, but it was a LOT of zucchini. Many, many delicious side dishes. I could never get sick of zoodles (zucchini noodles.) The fruits were not huge, but that's fine, seeing as I was usually the only one eating it.

Another pleasant surprise was the 'Cute Stuff' peppers. I had bought 6 seedlings for $2 at my local hardware store on a whim. I put 3 in containers, and they did much better than the 3 in the ground. It could have been a difference in soil, I guess.

Biggest failure was the sweet potatoes. The plants looked sickly, and the roots were poorly developed. They were the size and shape of a big thick magic marker. I'm pretty sure it was because the soil was way too dense and clay-y. I noticed even when watering, everything else needed a drink but the soil in the sweet potato container was still wet. I'll retool that next year. I'm disappointed in this one because we had a hell of a hot, dry summer - should have been perfect for sweet potatoes.
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lakngulf
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

I would think you would have more from your garden than $72.00 worth. When I sit down to a garden meal,
Tomato sandwich
Corn cob soup
Green Beans, Fried Okra, Corn on Cob, sliced Tomato
Veggie Soup
ETC
I know the garden is worth it.

Or when I pull some weeds from the garden and see those little plants transform from seed to production, I know it is worth it.

Or when I plant veggies at my Mother's house, and she (91) can't wait to get out there each morning to see what has grown, I know it is worth it.

Or when I can give tomatoes and peppers to my friends and they love it, I know it is worth it.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

One way my garden saves me tons of money is at Christmas. For years now mainly I have given people Christmas baskets full of goodies:

herb infused oils and vinegars
home made soaps and candles with my herbal essences
homemade jams, jellies, pickled veggies
jars of dried garden herbs
herbal tea mixtures
syrups
biscotti (e.g. lavender biscotti, with garden lavender)

see also:
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... ts#p373979

A nicely packet basket of goodies (baskets are easy to find and cheap at thrift stores) would easily be $50 at store prices and makes a nice gift.
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Meatburner
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

My motivation is not financial but all about growing healthy food for my family.

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

My motivation is also not financial at all (hence the fact that I have never kept any track of that kind of stuff), but it was the topic. I was just trying to contribute to the topic.
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gumbo2176
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

Like most that have replied, I've never tried to assess a price on what I grow as opposed to what I spend in the garden. I do know that some of the things I grow save me a ton of money in the quantities I get out of my garden.

This past summer okra and cucumbers alone made the effort worthwhile for me in the amount I put up pickled in jars and stewed okra in the freezer for later use, plus the goodwill of sharing with friends and family. I live in an area where okra is very heavily used and even during peak growing season I'd see it in the market for over $3 a lb. and I was picking 10+ lbs. of it a week. Cucumbers were priced at 2 for $1 at their lowest and generally in the $.85 - $1 each range and I must have picked hundreds of cucumbers between pickling and slicing varieties.

Of course, my garden is now over 20 years in the making and the initial costs of buying tools, equipment and material for trellises and such are long behind me, so that cost does come into effect with new gardeners.

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

Sometimes it is hard to put a price on intangibles. I harvested corn about 20 ears (I only had 39 plants and the storms knocked a few down). At my prices 75 cents each, it would have been about $15 and it took half my garden space, so opportunity cost. But, the corn I grew was sweeter than what is sold in the market and there is the satisfaction of growing it.

Chayote sells for $1.69 a pound and I can't use it all. It takes no effort to grow it since it lives on rain and neglect

Meyer lemons and Bearrs lime they sell for almost a dollar for the lemons and three for a dollar for the limes. The Meyer will fruit 2-3 times a year and the Bearrs, I get from my moms house (I raid her tree, so does her neighbor). I get over 50 lemons from a 3 foot tree, hundreds of calamondin ( retails for $1.69 a pound), and over 50 limes from my mothers tree. I'm guessing if I had to buy all of that it might come close to $100

Hot peppers sell for $7-$12 a pound. I probably harvest about $30 worth, the rest the birds get. Jalapeno's are cheap at $3 a pound but they aren't very hot so I don't grow as much. They are heavier so maybe $5-$6 retail
Herbs at $3 a bunch, I save a lot. I use bay leaf, curry leaf, lemon grass, green onions, chives, thyme, basil, cilantro, Italian parsley, cutting celery, cholesterol spinach, Jamaican oregano, marjorram, culantro, ginger, turmeric, and roselle. I probably save about $75 a year on that.
Vegetables I do grow but, since I don't time them well and most are highly perishable, I probably am running negative. I cannot eat all of the lettuce or Chinese cabbage I grow. I do give away daikon, eggplant, peppers, and eat most of the beets, spinach and araimo. I do save about $30 a month because when I don't have vegetables or herbs, I have to buy them.

I can't say I come out ahead pocket wise since this year I spent
$139 on mail order seeds and about another $30 for other seeds locally.
Water costs - $100 a month.
Slug bait $58 for 20 lbs. I have probably spent over $100 this year alone on slug control
Replacement tools (broken or lost) $200
Fertilizer and pest control- $200-$300 over the course of the year
Compost / Peat moss/ Perlite/Cinders - Peat moss $18-$24 per 3.8 cu ft, Compost $14-$16 per 2-3 cu ft, MG potting soil $17 per 2 cubic ft, Cinder $5.50 3/4 cu ft. Perlite $32 for 4 cu ft bag.

Like most people I am probably working for less than the minimum wage in the garden, but if you are doing something you enjoy doing, it really isn't work, even if it really hurts at the end of the day (Masseuse $75 an hour).

In the long run I probably don't save a lot of money growing my own food since the costs are also very high. I can spend almost $200 a month on garden related things like seeds, fertilizer, amendments and sprinkler parts and I know I don't spend that much on produce ( I buy bananas, onions, garlic, and other fruits). I probably do save $100 a month on produce I grow that I don't have to buy like the citrus, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, chard cucumbers, and herbs which I use a lot. I don't save as much on things I grow too much of like beans, lettuce, Kai choy cabbage or things that are perishible; have a short window to harvest and do not cut and come again and have to be replanted often like spinach, greens and beets. These things I still haven't figured out the optimal amount or remember to plant on time for succession. It has an opportunity cost as well since unlike James, I don't have a lot of land so anything ends up compost is a lost opportunity to grow something else.

Still what I grow tastes so much better than what is in the market that it is worth it. Except for some of the tomatoes I tried, some are great but others are just so-so. I can never really get a cucumber, pepper, bean, snowpea, or herb as good or crisp as the ones I grow myself.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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Gary350
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

I did the math this morning. I spent $28 for plants, seeds, fertilizer, gas for the tiller.

I grew about $600 worth of, tomatoes, corn, squash, peppers, melons, garlic, onions, potatoes. Prices were compared to grocery store prices because they are cheaper. Corn is $5 a dozen at farmers market and 4 ears for $1 at the grocery store.

We have eaten all the garlic, onions, potatoes, melons.

We have 117 jars of tomatoes in the pantry. 300 ears of corn and 30 bags if bean, several bags of squash in freezer.

I am still getting 2 to 5 tomatoes per week, peas, peppers, kale.

I harvest my own seeds it saves money.

Labor, I have about 16 hours work in my 25'x50' low maintenance garden all summer.

The year is not over I still have sweet potatoes to dig.

Swiss chard, lettuce, broccoli, beets, garlic, onions, celery, Napa cabbage, are coming up.

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

Mon Jan 04, 2016 12:41 pm
digitS' wrote:I don't have 2015 numbers to share, haven't done my taxes, yet! ... When that market was first starting out ... 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 ..."
We made several thousand $ in 2015 produce sales and had just over 50% of that $ amount in expenses to deduct from gross income.

Accounting for labor would have pared it down below minimum wage level but produce for our own consumption was FREE!!!

Okay, food wasn't free but its value should have pushed income above minimum if it had been counted, I'm sure. Pretty sure. I think so, anyway ...

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

Corn, beans, squash and potatoes. What I call the big four. Plant plenty. Then fill in with onions, carrots, radish, turnip, lettuce, cabbage. Have fun!

Well its November, nothing growing here for the next four months. Guess play on the internet and look at seed catalogs?
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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

I sell at a local farmer's market. The sales are all cash money, so silly ol me, I never report sales to the gov't. No way they can prove there was any sales. I never enter anything about sales into any book nor paper. I have no clue what the totals are. Suffice it to say, it pays for the seed!
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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

Meatburner wrote:My motivation is not financial but all about growing healthy food for my family.

To me, these are one and the same. If I was rich or I had a huge property to work with, I wouldn't care. But I live in the suburbs, I work at a donut shop, and my growing space is the size of a closet. That's why I want to maximize the output from my tiny space, and assessing it financially compared to what my grocery stores have to offer makes sense for me.
KayJay
Toronto 'burbs, zone 5b

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Gary350
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Re: Anyone else keep financial track of how much you grow?

jal_ut wrote:I sell at a local farmer's market. The sales are all cash money, so silly ol me, I never report sales to the gov't. No way they can prove there was any sales. I never enter anything about sales into any book nor paper. I have no clue what the totals are. Suffice it to say, it pays for the seed!
Your income needs to be over $9800 before you have to report it. If your income is $10,000. you only pay tax of $200. If you report it like a true business you can deduct all expenses including gas to drive your vehicle to the farmers market, farmers market fees, % of vehicle insurance, vehicle deprecation, drive to Walmart to buy seeds is a deduction too, deprecate your land used for the garden, a % of your house can be deducted to. Get a good tax agent to do your taxes NOT H & R BLOCK. Get an Enrolled Agent. IRS requires you report anything over $10 for interest income that still falls in the $9800. rule if interest income is less you pay no tax. I don't do my own taxes, I don't even try, my tax lady gets me deductions I can't do myself, she only charged me $100 last year. I save ever sales receipt for every thing.

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

Gary, I am an old dog, retired. I do get some benefits from social security. My house was paid off before retirement, so I don't need much money to survive on. Since I show no income, there is no taxes.

To digress: It was a beautiful day here. 51 degrees and breezy. Weather Man says we are likely to get snow this weekend. Let 'er rip!
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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