During 2008, my wife and I will be tracking how much time and money we spend growing food in our garden. (Important note: Kris tells me she is not going to track her time, which may throw a monkey wrench into the works, but I’m going to do my best to coax her into providing this information anyhow.)

The yardwork begins
Like last month, there’s very little to do in February. It was still quite cold at the beginning of the month, but by Valentine’s Day, the bleak Oregon winter relented. We had some gorgeous sunny days with highs near 15c (59f). This was a cue to do our first serious yardwork.

We spent about 15 hours in the yard in February, mostly cutting back our 60+ rose bushes, pruning the boxwood, and picking up winter debris. But we did find some time to work on our food-producing plants, as well.

Preparing for spring
First, we picked up the oak leaves that had buried our strawberry plants. The strawberries are allowed to run wild in the rose garden, sending their runners to-and-fro. A friend gave us 50 plants for free when we moved into this house in 2004, and now we have too many to count. We fertilized the berries last fall.

We also pruned our fruit trees — the plum, the pear, and both apples. Afterward, we weeded the potato patch and pulled ivy from around the blueberries. To finish up the weekend, we put up the pea trellis, and planted 72 seeds of Oregon Sugar Pod II. Come June, these will make a tasty snack, and at very little cost.

Last week, we took the time to test the pH of the soil around our blueberry plants. Blueberries like acid soil, so we’ll have to give them some special fertilizer in the next week or so.

Despite many hours spent in the yard, only 2.5 of them were devoted to our food-producing plants. We spent no money on this project in February.

Year-to-date totals
So far in 2008, we’ve spent $27.30 and 6.5 hours caring for our fruit and vegetable gardens. March will see more action. We need to fertilize certain plants, prepare our indoor planting material, and plan the vegetable garden. And any day now we’ll see our first peas poking through the earth:

Spring Sprout

You can read about my goals for this series in The year-long GRS project: How much does a garden really save?

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