A Little Garden Cost Analysis

On Tuesday night I went out to harvest more tomatoes, which you can see below. We are getting so many! I also picked some cucumbers, yellow and Lebanese squash, and a few beets to roast. The tomatoes are still coming in and are beautiful and delicious, despite the blight. We harvested roughly the same amount of tomatoes on Saturday, and there is still plenty of large green tomatoes on the vines.

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So, we are eating some fresh, and I have been making pizza sauce and other simmer sauces with the tomatoes. The majority have been frozen, though, to be used for sauces later.

I have always been interested in how much value these tomatoes are. Growing food is like printing money, right? I found this post on the value of a garden and it has gotten me interested in figuring this out, at least in a limited way for now. They found their garden was worth over $2100!

Tomato Cost

I would say we have easily gotten a total of eight of these half bushel baskets so far. I weighed the big one with the red tomatoes and it weighed ~22 pounds. If I go low and say 20 pounds per basket, the estimate is 160 pounds of tomatoes so far this season. Wow, that is a lot! But what is it worth in money?

  • Pint of organic cherry tomatoes at Lowes Foods: $4.49/pint
  • Vine ripe tomatoes (non-organic) at Lowes Foods: $2.49-2.99/pd

So, if I just do a straight estimate 160 pounds for vine ripe at $2.49, that is $398.40 in tomatoes. WOW! That is a lot of money. Seeds for 5 varieties, at the most $15. WOW! And it is probably more, as the cherry tomatoes are more expensive to buy.

Potato Cost

We just harvested up the rest of our Red Fingerling potatoes. Below is what we got, but we have harvested twice before this bucket, so I am going to guess we would have filled it up. “There bout”, as they say in the south. They are in a 5 gallon bucket, but I didn’t weigh it. I really wish I would have, and will on the next potato harvest. I am going to guess we just got 30 pounds total. We seeded 3 pounds, and think the general guide line is 10:1. That may be right.

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The cost at Lowes for non-organic red potatoes is $0.90-1.49. Organic Yukon Golds are $1.49 at Harris Teeter. Fingerling are more of a specialty and mine are organic and would definitely cost more if I had to buy them.

By the way, either grow your own or buy organic potatoes – potatoes are always on the “Dirty Dozen” lists of most contaminated foods for chemicals and pesticides!

If I go with $1.49, the price is $44.7 – still very good! If I go with, say, $3/pd, that is $90. The seed potatoes for these were a bit more expensive at $19.95/3#, but they are so delicious and probably worth the higher price. As it is, my investment cost was $0.67 per pound for $1.49 price, $0.22 for the $3 price.

Conclusion

This was very interesting exercise, and I am now more motivated to figure out how much I am producing and saving by eating out of the garden! We have definitely noticed it with our food budget. I have gotten plenty of green, cabbage, radishes, peas etc. this past spring, and have been now harvesting squash, eggplant, chard, cucumbers, some beans. Peppers will be here soon, as well as a lot more beans, cowpeas, melons and potatoes.

The hard part is we pick just small amounts out of the garden almost every day. I brought in a few more tomatoes, squash and beans for a fantastic dinner. I brought in some celery this morning for snacking today. I would have to be vigilant in weighing what we bring in, or figure out a way to estimate it, which right now with a busy family just sound like work. Hmm :-/ Maybe create an inventory sheet with a running list of what we bring in? Get a clipboard with an old pencil attached with string….? I think I like that idea!

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4 thoughts on “A Little Garden Cost Analysis

  1. Truth be told, I’m more motivated by your harvest to do some gardening on my own, but your cost/benefit analysis ain’t half-bad either. Great job Mr Greenthumb.

    Liked by 1 person

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