Let me start by saying that I hope everyone had a wonderfully blessed Christmas. I know that I enjoyed being with my family over Christmas and I have reveled in watching my kids play with all of their gifts. Perhaps the sweetest thing was hearing my 5 year old son say that the reason he couldn’t wait for Christmas was because it is Jesus’ birthday. He then quickly added that he couldn’t wait for his toys too, but at least he put Jesus first!
Sorry that I didn’t post on Thursday. I was tied up making food for the Christmas Eve celebration…my goal for this blog is to post 5 days a week and I apologize that I didn’t meet that goal last week. Hopefully you’ll cut me some slack since it was Christmas! 🙂
In today’s Did You Know? post, I want to look at some real world numbers of food costs in the grocery store and compare that to the amount of money it costs to produce the same veggies in your backyard. In doing this, I know that I am going to be preaching to the choir for a lot of you, but I’m hoping that I can convince a few of you doubters to at least give veggie gardening a try in the new year.
- Tomatoes on the Vine – $2.49/lb
- Romaine Lettuce – $2.49/head
- Strawberries – $3.50/pint
- Onions – $1.49/lb
- Cherry Tomatoes – $2/pint
- Green Peppers – $1.25 each
- Cucumbers – $1.19 each
Now let me be the first to say that I realize that these prices are elevated because it’s December 26 and all of these veggies are having to be trucked in from warmer parts of the world. But with the exception of the peppers, these are reasonable prices for the summer, give or take 10%. Let’s look at each of these items individually and compare what it would cost to grow them.
- Tomatoes on the Vine – for $2.50, you can get a packet of 60 seeds for just about any type of tomato. Sure you have to start them from seed and grow them large enough to plant outside and that takes energy. But not much more energy than the light you leave on above your sink or in your garage by accident. With that $2.50 packet of seeds, you can produce 30 tomato plants, which will yield at least 20 pounds of tomatoes a piece. That’s a total of 600 pounds of tomatoes for $2.50. If you want to buy a tomato plant that has been grown by someone else, you can buy at least one (usually two) plants for $2.49. One plant would still yield at least 20 pounds of tomatoes.
- Romaine Lettuce – for $2.50, you can purchase a packet of 500 seeds that will yield 250 heads of lettuce.
- Strawberries – you can buy strawberry plants in the spring for very little money. For less than $10, you can buy enough plants to fill many pint baskets. I estimate that you can get about half of a pint of strawberries from each plant so for $10, you should get 5 or 6 pints. As an added bonus, strawberries are perennials (they come year after year) so once you have them, you never have to buy them again…just make sure you take some of the little runners (I call them babies) and transplant them.
- Onions – for $1.99, you can get a packet of 700 seeds that can produce 350 onions.
- Cherry Tomaotes – for $2.50, you can get a packet of 60 seeds that can produce 30 plants. 30 cherry tomato plants will produce at least 120 pints of tomatoes.
- Green Peppers – for $2.50 you can get a packet of 60 seeds that can produce 30 plants. Each plant will produce 10-15 peppers so your total yield will be anywhere from 300 to 450 peppers.
- Cucumbers – for $2.50, you can purchase a packet of 60 seeds that can produce 30 plants. Each cucumber plant will produce 20-30 cucumbers so your total yield will be anywhere from 600 to 900 cucumbers.
Let’s put the numbers side-by-side so that we can compare them. (Please excuse the look of my third grader-ish chart…I’m still learning the ins-and-outs of WordPress)
|Tomatoes on the Vine $2.50||1#||600#|
|Romaine Lettuce $2.50||1 head||250 heads|
|Strawberries $10.00||3 pints||6 pints|
|Cherry Tomatoes $2.50||1.25 pints||120 pints|
|Green Peppers $2.50||2 peppers||300 peppers|
|Cucumbers $2.50||2 cukes||600 cukes|
Now I understand that you have to have to correct amount of sunlight that the plants need and you need the space to put the veggies in the ground. My goal for this illustration is to show you just how much money you can save by having a vegetable garden. In this down economy and with food prices increasing every time you go to the grocery store, it just makes sense to take some control of your food production. And what better way than to throw a few vegetable plants in the ground. I want to hear about your experiences with vegetable gardening! Leave me a comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy gardening!