Since I’m in an apartment without a yard or any green space to speak of, one of the things that I really miss is yard work. That might sound weird—lots of people think of yard work as a chore. But I love mowing the lawn, trimming bushes, chopping wood, and anything else you can think of that’s done outside.
For many years my family had a vegetable garden in the backyard, which is another thing I miss. There was one year where we grew so many zucchini that we had to beg people to take them off our hands! We’d also had radishes, peas, beans, tomatoes, rhubarb, and many other great vegetables.
What I never really considered was just how cheap it is to grow your own vegetables. And with it being about that time of year for many people to start planting some of their vegetables, I figured it’d be interesting to look into costs and savings. One Wall Street Journal article estimates that the average family with a vegetable garden spends just $70 a year on it and grows an estimated $600 worth of vegetables. That’s insane! That means for every dollar of crops that you plant, you could get an average of about $8.57 worth of food in return.
Let’s put that into perspective in another way. An average tomato plant costs somewhere around $3, and could yield upwards of 20 lbs. of tomatoes throughout the season (these are rough estimates, but will work for our purposes). When I went to the grocery store earlier today, tomatoes were being sold for about $1.75 per pound. That means you’re getting almost 10 times the amount of tomatoes for your money in growing them versus buying them.
Of course, you also have to consider the work that you put into planting and maintaining your garden. Saving money probably shouldn’t be the reason you decide to plant a vegetable garden. You need to enjoy being outside and actually doing the work to reap the rewards. You can’t just quit halfway through, otherwise you’ll wind up with a lot of dead plants and wasted energy.
How many of you plant vegetable gardens for the summer?