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Thread: Does Your Garden Save You Money?

  1. #1

    Default Does Your Garden Save You Money?

    Hey all, anyone here ever do the math to see how much you might be saving through your garden as opposed to if you purchased your items through the grocery store on a per week, per month or per year basic? I think that would be interesting feedback to hear.

  2. #2


    absolutely not. I have a gardening problem and spend way too much on it.

    Take something like a compost tumbler. I have two of those. Thats nearly $500. Compost is $2 for 40 pounds at home depot. So that is 10,000 pounds of compost I need my tumbler to produce to break even, that isn't happening. Sure, the compost I get out of it is probably more diverse than composted manure, but still.

    I think you CAN make money gardening, but you have to work at it. You need to till soil, not build a raised bed. Apple trees can make money. Big money really. Nut trees can make a fortune (but you must love nuts, you'll have a lot, and shelling them too). Every year I plant butternut squash in my front yard and do relatively nothing for it. Just let it take over and cover part of the lawn. It probably makes me $100 in squash. Last year I got 50 pounds I think.

    But in general you'll get the most bang for your buck from tree/shrub/perennial edibles like apples, raspberries, and asparagus. These, once established, do not need fertilizer, do not need watering, and they will keep on producing.

  3. #3

    Thumbs up

    Oh I totally agree with you Chris. But purchasing a compost tumbler such as you linked too would technically get chalked up as just money spent on a hobby.

    I don't think gardening is a good business plan per se, but after you get yourself set up, and have all the fun accessories to enhance your gardening experience, do you find yourself noticing you saved $15 every week or $45 every month from your garden.

    It's like solar panels. . . you're going to have to live in a house a long time to make your money back technically.

    I didn't realize you could make a few bucks on apples and nuts. I know this is a public forum, but nobody's allowed to take my million dollar money making idea! I'm going to cross breed an apple tree and a nut tree and call them "NAPPLES" - They will sell for "ONE MILLION DOLLARS"!!!!

  4. #4


    Well think. Honeycrisp apples are almost $3 a piece at the store. If you get 100 apples from a mature tree...

    Nuts can be $10 a pound.

  5. #5


    That's awesome! I never thought about that. But then you would need to find some sort of farmers market or some place similar where you could sell that though right? Then there would be the cost of the booth, etc. Maybe if you had a few trees of each, then it could definitely be worth while.

  6. #6

    Default I think in the long run you can save money

    While I can only assume we are not saving more then we are spending at this point (a few years into gardening). I think if you do things like save seed, compost, grow transplants from seed or at nurseries on sale, and only grow what you eat a lot of and is high yielding then yes I do believe it is possible. It will take years though typically to get back the costs of building infrastructure and buying seeds. But after that it gets less and less expensive, and who knows with inflation, (the federal Reserve is going to do QE 3 or another round of printing money), what the cost of food will be. My guess is it will be significantly up. You can see our garden at my blog

    We probably spent about $150-200 on our infrastructure and soil amendments. We also purchased a indoor greenhouse for about $30 (lights and fan included).

  7. #7


    That's good info, and thanks! Loved the pictures on your blog. My wife grew up near you in White Bear Lake!

  8. #8


    How long does it usually take to establish rasberries and aspargus to be at the point where it keeps producing without watering, fertilizer, etc...

  9. #9

    Default profit from gardening?

    I have not taken the time to break it down dollar by dollar from a baseline of what I was spending on store-bought produce then and what I am spending now, nor have I recently priced up what I produce (and not buy) to see what I am saving, but I am certain that I am saving. Even at times when I am not selling produce for profit, I am still saving money as I am able to harvest and produce meals for my family of 6 for about $2 total, on average.

    It's easy to find affordable seed, and if you can find the non-hybrid, non-GMOs then you can continue to use your own saved seed indefinitely, so the seed purchase could theoretically be a one-time investment.
    And as long as you are not farming a large spread, irrigation can be done by hand and hose so there is little other infrastructure costs involved. Sure, one can spend a fortune on beds and irrigation and high-end soils, but it's really not necessary, if you ask me. I have gotten by with minimal cost and commercial product use for years with explosive gardens that overwhelm my ability to use it all - that's where market and trade comes in, and we get back to the point.

    When I have extra harvest, I work out deals with local poultry farms and dairy farms and even some cattle ranchers to swap out for their wares, so I save money on those things which I do not grow.

    I also take extra veggies and make great stews and soups and sauces which I freeze and store for the lean times, and combined with some uncooked pasta storage, I have enough food to last my family about half a year in case my garden fails one year for some reason.

    It is also great to use the berry gardens for profit - last month my berry plants were spitting out about 7 gallons per day! And considering the $3 - $5 per pint you may pay at a fresh market or chain store, you can imagine the sales I generated!

    By the way - raised beds are not a cheat, they are a great way for an aging person or anyone with back problems to harvest more easily (not as much bending/squatting).

    Best wishes to all!

    Organic Mommy

    "Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward (Wo)Men"
    I am a proud supporter of - "sowing the seeds of self reliance"
    Last edited by organic mommy; 08-25-2011 at 03:09 PM.

  10. #10


    Awesome post Organic Mommy! Lots of good info in there. Thanks!
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