Kris and I are huge fans of gardening. We grow our own flowers, herbs, fruit, berries, and vegetables. We’re not able to supply all of our needs, but we do what we can. For the past two years, I’ve argued that this is an excellent way to save money if you have the time and the space. But is it really?


An actual weekend harvest from August 2006.

During the next year, Kris and I plan to track all of our work and expenses in the yard. I’m not going to tabulate how long it takes to trim the laurel or the boxwood, but I will track the following:

  • The cost of seeds and fertilizer.
  • Our approximate water usage.
  • The time we spend planting, weeding, and harvesting.
  • The amount of food we harvest.
  • The cost-equivalent from the local grocery store.

For example, when Kris places her seed order in the next week or two, I’ll note how much she spends for a packet of tomato seeds. I’ll keep track of how much she uses her grow lights (using my handy Kill-a-Watt electricity usage monitor), how much water and fertilizer we consume, how many tomatoes we harvest, and how much that would have cost us at the store.

I’m going to compile a whole lot of data.

On the last Saturday of each month, I hope to provide an update of our progress. At the end of the year, we’ll see our savings, and how much it cost us to save it. This isn’t going to be a precise experiment — there are too many variables involved. But our results should be able to tell us just how worthwhile our gardening hobby is.

Past entries on gardening include:

Our first step? Browsing the seed catalogs to decide what we want to grow this year!

Update! You can see our progress in the following posts:

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