Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Worth of a Garden and a Bit of a Blizzard

Kitchen Gardens International may have just answered the question, "Does my vegetable garden makes any money or is a money pit?" Their most recent article is "What is a Home Garden Worth?" Their conclusion is that it about US$1.50 per square foot for a mixed planting. My vegetable garden is about 20x20 feet though in a really contorted way since it isn't square by any stretch of the imagination. My fruit garden is about 4x24 feet. So my vegetable and fruit gardens should be worth about $675.

The poor fruit garden might have trouble keeping up with this since 3/4 of the garden was planted in blueberries just last year. They will hardly be up to par with their harvests yet and if I listen to some of the experts I ought to pick off all of my blossoms this year too. But I'll be honest. If there is a chance of me getting blueberries from the garden this year, I'm going to take it. I'm not picking any flowers off just because I'm supposed to. I'm going to listen to the experts that say I can get a small harvest this year. I'm much happier with that. I want blueberries on my cereal in the morning.

The estimate they give is good news. If true it means I certainly will be well on the plus side when I add my garden up. I swear I spend as much for my small little garden as they do for their huge one. I think there are some economies of scale. You can buy things in bulk and actually use up your packets of seed. The other nice thing about their site is the pricing. It will give me a good start on what to price things at. I'll use my own in season pricing as much as possible, but it is great to have something to put on the spreadsheet before it all starts.

And as to yesterday's blizzard, we got about a foot of heavy wet snow. I shoveled for a little over two hours. My muscles are shouting complaints at me this morning. I keep telling them it is just exercise to get them ready for flipping compost this spring, but they are having none of that. I'll leave you with the before and after photos.


  1. That's alot of snow! I hope your muscles forgive you, at least you are getting them ready for spring. :)

  2. Hi Daphne---
    Thanks for the link to this very useful (and inspiring) article. I'm glad to have the numbers crunched for future reference.
    Sorry about your snow... We've had our share too, but not a foot at a time. Yikes.

  3. Funny, I saw that KGI post and your project instantly came to mind. I'm hesitant to start adding things up, the old accountant in me would want to apportion the cost of acquiring the property, and property taxes and set-up costs... to scary to contemplate! Did you ever read the book "The $64 Tomato"?

  4. perennialgardener, well they will forgive me but it will take a few days.

    deborah, your welcome. I'm hoping I keep up my own number crunching this summer. I'm a little afraid that I'm going to get busy and get lax about it.

    Michelle, lol yup. I'm only amortizing the fence. They yard comes with the house, but when we were buying houses one of the deal breakers was no place good to put a garden. In this house I only had to cut one tree down to get at least some sun for the garden and no I didn't add that in, but I should have. I haven't read the book, but I understand the concept. His flaw was he was putting the start up costs for his whole garden in that number for one year but he should have spread it over a number of years.

  5. Oh, Wow! That's snow! I know my garden is a goldmine- if you take into account that I would lose my mind without it :) Yes, I value my sanity!

  6. I think my tiny garden will be classed as a money pit for a few years before it comes close to breaking even with all the triple mix, wood, seed & tools needed. I think once I start saving more seed though it will be a money saver pretty fast.

    Sorry about the snow, I hate wet snow. Glade it missed us.

  7. Daphne, I don't know how I would place a value on mine, because everything's so spread out. I figure the vegetable garden is worth a little over $300, but the fruits I don't know about. I saw where the snow we were hit with headed up your way...what a bummer!


  8. I feel for you, every time it snows (two days ago) I want to scream!!! I did rake my yard and did a clean up last month and then it snow the next day. All my neighbor said it was my fault, for bringing it on.

  9. Tessa, I agree. It provides sanity in a crazy world.

    Dan, Oh yes if you create raised beds they cost a lot that first year.

    EG, The problem with a lot of fruits at least the trees is that you get so much at one time it is hard to deal with it all. Then there is nothing unless you canned or froze it.