Although winter is already in full force here, I figured I would do a little summary of our gardens this year and how we did. We have a pretty small yard and only two raised beds measuring 2×6 and 2×8 so we are pretty limited on the garden real estate but we do try to make the most of it. Over the past 5 years we have narrowed down our the vegetables that we grow to one that we have had success with and of course, ones that we enjoy. This past summer we planted 3 varieties of kale, rainbow chard, carrots, green beans, and unsuccessful cauliflower and cucumbers.
In order to figure out how cost effective our gardens were this year, I kept track of when we harvested any veggies as well as our initial costs at the beginning of the year. As the garden beds themselves were already made there were no costs associated there. We compost our food scraps and were able to get enough fully composted materials to add a fresh layer to the existing beds. Between starts and seeds we spent $9.98 so this was our only out of pocket costs.
The kale has been our best producing vegetable for the past few years as it is pretty easy to grow and is really hardy. We harvest as needed and had our first fresh kale for dinner on July 5th. We were able to harvest the kale until Oct 27th so we had a pretty long growing season. Carrots were harvested for the first time September 29th and I ended up harvesting a couple more times before harvesting the rest mid October as a critter started to get to them. I was able to get beans a few times throughout the year but they didn’t amount to a whole lot. Overall, we are not the best gardeners but considering we don’t spend a lot of time on them we are happy with what we get.
I created a spreadsheet to keep track of when I harvested and the approximate amount used. If we were to compare the amount used to what we would have spent if we purchased organic veggies at a store this would have totaled around $51. This is an estimate of course but at least gives me a good idea of approximate savings. So overall, with very little effort, we were able to save approximately $41 by growing our own fresh veggies. Now this is not an earth shattering sum of money, but it is money saved and also we had the great convenience of just going to our back yard instead of the store.
If we had a bigger yard I would probably plant some more but considering we are so constricted on space, I am happy with our little gardens. Next year we will likely forgo the cauliflower so we can plant something else that might have more success so hopefully we will have even more luck next year.