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Counting Cost

We've been busy here on Orchard St. of late. Creating new gardens, extending older gardens and planting an array of seeds and starter plants. For anyone who may be curious here is a little list of what has been put into the ground at this point, in no particular order.

Spinach, garlic, two varieties of lettuce, red onions, white onions, shallots, three varieties of carrots (Danvers, Dragon, St. Valery), kohlrabi, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, pop corn, three varieties of bush beans, two varieties of peas, Lima beans, Swiss chard, strawberries, pumpkins, sunflowers, nasturtium, black raspberry, rhubarb, four varieties of potatoes, cabbage, six different heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers. The only thing left is to put in the egg plants.

This year one of the things that I am doing differently is that I am keeping reasonably accurate records on how much of an investment has been made and in turn will do my best to get a decent figure on the harvest to see what sort of return our family is getting from the gardening experience. I am including everything from seeds to new tools and at this point I can safely say we are still below $100 for the year. The nice thing about that figure is that it also includes the flower and herb beds that Meghann has been working on this spring.

After a recent discussion with one of my brother-in-laws I did some research on the financial benefits of growing a garden. Though in the long run gardening means so much more than money to me in some aspect it does play a role and I found some interesting figures. Supposedly, if one grows a healthy garden they can account for nearly 7% of their yearly grocery bill. At first glance this may not seem like a staggering figure but if you really take a moment and think about how much you spend on groceries over the course of a year it is a pretty penny and as I have repeatedly mentioned it is such a minimal investment, especially if you grow heirloom seeds.

As time goes on and the eventual harvest takes place I will write down some interesting notes for each plant while trying to include some planting techniques, seed saving techniques and health benefits along with whatever trivia I may find.

Tobias Whitaker blogs for Mother Earth News and Grit Magazine. Click on the Mother Earth News logo at the bottom of the page for all of his post. You can also find him on Facebook at Seed To Harvest: Bossy Hen Homestead which is a central location for his homesteading blogs and his homeschooling blog, A Mile In Her Shoes: Tales Of A Stay-At Home Dad found here


  1. Don't forget the time invested too. I know you like to spend time in the garden and that is a time you can count as family time too, as well as all the lessons learned by the home schooled.


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