The Great Garden Experiment 2013
QUESTION ~ Will a garden save me money on my grocery bill?
METHOD ~ Keep track of all gardening expenses. Minus all the produce grown at a reasonable market price. Subtract and get the difference.
See THIS LINK to an older post about how I started a completely new garden plot in 2013.
|What will be the Rhubarb , Raspberry, Strawberry and Currant Garden|
OBSERVATIONS ~The garden needs more sunshine, a small row of trees must be cut down. Garden also has areas that turn hard packed (clay and shale) very easily. More compost material will help this.
Also observed that I need a whole lot of garden hose to reach to the garden....ha ha.
Also observed that hubby is most helpful with things like garden hoses, and the occasional tiling job.
Also observed that children haven't changed just I was a kid ~ weeding is not much fun without a reward. Picking the odd veggie is fun at meal time... picking long rows of beans every other day...not so much. (I tell them this is educational and character building)
|Fruit Garden plot showing too much shade and not enough compost/organic material yet. |
This was part of the Year 2 plan anyhow.
Is gardening really worth the effort?
FACTORS TO CONSIDER~ I enjoy time out doors when it is "productive", so I enjoy gardening. Haven't figured out a way to read a book and garden at the same time.
Do gardens grow other things that we don't harvest for consumption? YES. ( Some call them Weeds)
Kate insists that we should eat more of these weeds and she wants a weed garden. (You can actually eat a lot of them and they do taste good in salads)
Do a few good "weedings" early on in the growing season reduce these dramatically? YES.
|Facing North, notice the shade during some of the day. Some veggies like this, others not so much!|
Do I value my time? YES.
Do I use my time to earn cash that I can buy these same vegetables from a local market? NO. ( I am a Stay at Home Mom who occasionally sells sewing or baking)
|Just some of the pails of tomatoes we harvested from 18 tomato plants.|
Do I enjoy a little Vit D sun therapy as I grab some fresh salad greens and radishes for lunch? YES.
|Beets and swiss chard behind the pail|
|Kohlrabi (great to eat raw)|
Do I like trying new recipes? YES
|The sod pile from scraping the garden in spring. It grew 6 big pumpkins for us!|
Is my time valuable? YES.
|Put some tomato plants in "Kozy Koats" to help insulate them from colder weather. |
Didn't really notice a difference as the weather wasn't too extreme after I put the plants out.
|Sneaky pumpkins, snaking through the grass along the garden edge|
|Long English Cucumbers. These plants just didn't quit this year. Way too many!|
|Brussell Sprouts. Yum... but need more sunshine!|
|2013 Garden Experiment in September|
|Kate's Bean Experiments. She grew lots and harvested them as dry beans|
|The North side that gets more sun, but also has more clay and shale from an old shed foundation.|
Do I get tremendous satisfaction in seeing jars of good organic, nutrient rich food on my shelves to feed my family throughout the winter ~ Oh, my YES YES YES.
CONCLUSION ~ Total actual costs from earlier preparation was $450 Cdn.
Produce calculated at market value $1000 Cdn.
Difference + $550 Profit
How did I come to that conclusion? I kept a running tally of produce items that I brought to our table from the garden. Started with a radish, green onions, lettuce. Then moved to keeping track of swiss chard, snap peas, etc. If I made a salad I calculated $4 for a store bought salad and added to my tally. When I picked a large cucumber, I counted $1. When I canned something, I counted an appropriate amount to purchase it from a store, usually a lower amount of $3/jar. When I gave away a box of tomatoes, I counted $25 to purchase a case in the store, etc etc. You get the idea.
I also counted in gleaning produce....picking apples, plums, etc. from a neighbor. If you live in a small community, it doesn't take much to get the word out that you appreciate gleaning and will go pick others 'unwanted' fruit.
Honestly, I was a little disappointed that I didn't preserve more, but this year I had to let some of it go and realize that "some is better than none" and "there is always next year"
You know what really makes me smile?
|Our animals benefit from fresh organic food too!|
Beef from a cousin, Chickens we raised, Veggies frozen from our garden, Potatoes, and then canned fruit or frozen fruit. YUM!
Below is my running tally on some of the canning I managed to get done this year with my girls help. I have no idea how much we eat in a year, and I would like to know!
Also, some years are "good peach years", so I can more of them that year. Last year was a "good cherry" year for me. This year I went to a U Pick for Strawberries, but never found any Saskatoons...
So, we eat what we have. I am also learning to not "hoard" this food and to actually eat it! It does us no good just sitting on the shelf.
Jolene's 2013 Canning List as at Oct. 31/13
Dilled Carrots 15 quarts
Apple Pie Filling 26 qts
Pickled Beets 5 pints, 1 qt
Tomato Soup 12 pints, 7 pints, 1 quart Gluten Free
Peaches 12 qts
Tomato Sauce 3 qts
Pears 10 qts
Salsa 13 pints with corn, 11 pints regular, 12 pints later tomatoes, a bit mushy
Jam ~ Strawberry Rhubarb
Jelly ~ Grape
Stewed Tomatoes 25 quarts
Pear Butter 13 pints
Bread and Butter Pickles 10 pints
176 jars, without actually counting some of them yet. 176 x 3 = $528 worth.
We cannot live solely on this, but it sure helps with those long stretches between grocery shops.
This does not count the frozen or dehydrated foods either.
|Corn in our 13 ft x 20 ft (?) plot at the community garden.|
FINAL CONCLUSION ~ Yes, a garden saved me money on my grocery bill. I hardly bought any groceries this summer...and sure not any veggies!
If any of the above reasoning applies to you, then you may find this interesting. IF not, you probably didn't read this far anyhow! Do I make money on my garden? Well, no. Do I SAVE the money we do have? Yes. Did I lose money on my garden? NO!!!
I have daughters to teach these practical skills too....also a responsibility to feed them good nutritional food for their growing bodies.
Was it worth it to have a garden even if we did it only 1 year? My conclusion...yes.
~~ Please share some of your gardening tips or recipes for fresh veggies in the comment section below ~ I would appreciate that! Share and share alike!