During 2008, my wife and I are tracking how much time and money we spend growing food in our garden. In my mind, March is filled with gardening activities. Not so much, as it turns out. I think April will also be light.

Planting seeds
Though we didn’t do much in March, we finally got to see some action from the plants. On March 1st, Kris planted the tomatoes and peppers (and some flowers). She spent 90 minutes sowing the seeds in special bio-domes. (“I don’t normally advocate one product over another,” she says, “but I really like these.”)

After the seedlings have made a good start, Kris hangs her grow lamp.

We placed two trays of seeds in our south-facing bay window. After they sprouted, Kris set up a grow-light to give the seedlings even more energy. (March is not exactly sunny in Oregon.) On March 24th, she transplanted the strongest seedling of each variety into a 4″ pot.

Can you believe they’ve grown so much in just three weeks? Amazing!

On March 15th, we fertilized the strawberries with Strawberries Alive. On the following weekend, Kris raked the leaves from the vegetable garden (we use them as a cover during the winter) and spaded one area. I’ll use the rototiller to work the earth in a couple weeks.

Through all of this, my peas have been growing slowly. (They’re so cute!)

I’m a little worried about the spotty germination, but I’m sure we’ll have plenty.

Also this month, we picked up a fully-functional upright freezer (the same form factor as a refrigerator) for free from one of Kris’ co-workers. This is a jackpot. It gives us a lot more room for food storage.

During March we spent $113 on organic pest controls and fertilizers for our fruit and vegetable crops. We also spent $16 to buy potting soil and a soaker hose. I used my Kill-a-Watt to measure the power consumption of the grow lamp, but it only uses a few pennies of electricity per day. Let’s call it a buck for the entire month, bringing our expenditures to $130 in March. Here’s the running total so far:

Month Time Money
January 4.0 hours $27.30
February 2.5 hours $0.00
March 3.5 hours $130.00
Totals 10.0 hours $157.30

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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