Benefits of Growing A Vegetable Garden

by Scott Sery on April 29, 2013

vegetable gardenThe first spring I lived in my house, I built a small 8 x 20 foot vegetable garden at the back of the lot.  I would have loved to make my garden a lot bigger, but the layout of the house and detached garage made it so I was unable to do so.  Every summer I have enjoyed working in my garden and reaping the rewards that come with it.  I find growing a garden to be both financially and mentally rewarding.  If you have been wondering just how much you can save with a garden, here is a look at what my small garden yields.

It is difficult to determine how much the water costs for the garden and depending on your climate yours could be more or less.  Living in Montana we are very arid, so I have to dump a lot of water on my plants to make sure they produce for me.  For my calculations I have used a flat $5 of water per species of plant.  Aside from that, nothing else goes on my plants (I will admit that sometimes I have to put a slug killer around so those pests don’t destroy the new growth, but no other chemicals) .

Growing Tomatoes

My vegetable garden supports 2 tomato plants.  By using the cheapest I can find at Walmart (usually about $2 per plant), I keep my costs to a minimum (seeds would be cheaper, but it’s too cold to plant here before May and it is a pain to start them indoors).  Each tomato plant yields roughly 20 pounds of tomatoes.  If tomatoes in the store cost $1.50 per pound, I get $60 worth of tomatoes for around $9.

Growing Beans

A packet of bean seeds costs around $.79.  At least 10-20 plants come up each year (and proceed to climb over everything including to the top of the apple tree, so be careful where you plant them).  Harvest yields around 1 pound of beans per plant.  If they cost $1 per pound in the store, I grow $15 worth of beans for about $6.

Growing Peas

Snap peas cost the same as the beans, but they do not grow quite as large.  The harvest yields about half a pound per plant.  At $2 per pound in the store, my 20 plants will give me $20 worth of peas for about $6.

Growing Cucumbers

Like the tomatoes I simply get the style of cucumber I want without worrying about how fancy the species is.  These plants usually run $2 for four plants.  Throughout the summer those plants yield roughly 25 cucumbers.  The grocery store sells them for $.69 each while they are in season, so growing my own I get $18 worth of cucumbers for $7.

My little vegetable garden saves me $51 on tomatoes, $9 on beans, $14 on peas, and $11 on cucumbers; a total savings of $85.  But you have to keep in mind that these vegetables are much fresher than anything you would be able to find in the store, and since little to no chemicals have been used they are healthier and in the store would cost more than my analysis shows (I don’t know the price of organics since I don’t shop organic food stores).

So is it worthwhile to grow your own food?  Probably not.  I put a lot of hours into tilling, prepping, planting, maintaining, and harvesting.  I could earn much more than $85 if I put those hours into my work.  However, the garden is a hobby.  It is relaxing.  And if you have never experienced the taste of a tomato that falls off the vine with a touch, one that is still warm from the sun when you pop it into your mouth, this year you need to try growing just one tomato plant.  If you are short on space you can always put it in a pot on the patio.

Do you maintain a vegetable garden?  What is your incentive?

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Scott Sery

Scott Sery is a native to Billings, Montana. Within an hour in nearly any direction he can be found fishing, hunting, backpacking, caving, and rock or ice climbing. With an extensive knowledge of the finance and insurance world, Scott loves to write personal finance articles. When not talking money, he enjoys passing on his knowledge of the back country, or how to live sustainably. You can learn more about Scott on his website Sery Content Development
  • I have tried to grow one every year, but my dogs end up destroying it. I have built fences around it, but one of my dogs can jump over a 6 foot fence, so it was not working. I have since given up, but will try again once we move into a new home.

  • We have a garden in our backyard but it’s not huge due to space but it’s enough to feed us organic fruits and vegetables all summer long and into the winter as we freeze some of it as well. I do it for the hobby as I enjoy growing fruits, veg and flowers and for the organic aspect.

  • I’ve tried, but watering costs have outweighed any of the potential savings. I do keep potted herbs so we never have to buy those fresh.

  • Totally jealous. We want to start a garden, but we don’t have the room and the one area where we could potentially put it, doesn’t get enough sunlight.

  • We moved in 3 years ago and still haven’t built our permanent garden. I keep changing my mind where I want it…I’ve always had a small garden on the deck though (tomatoes, herbs) but this year I’m growing everything from seed in a small greenhouse and finally building my garden. So excited!

    • I am always excited for spring time and being able to plant the garden. I should be getting ready to start but we just got snow here in Denver. 🙁

  • I’m impressed. I tried planting a small garden but my veggies don’t look too good. I really don’t have a green thumb at all!

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