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Old 11-01-2014, 11:26 AM
Location: CA.
185 posts, read 182,480 times
Reputation: 92


Excellent techniques. You'll always have a good stock from UR garden. Very ambitious. It's so much pleasure to grow UR own food. Once u have a system down its like second nature. Growing from seed is one of the most rewarding benefits in gardening.
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Old 11-01-2014, 11:49 AM
Location: SC
2,967 posts, read 3,954,885 times
Reputation: 6809
Growing veggies is not more expensive if you practice permaculture. Raising a few rabbits is a fabulous way to amend your garden. Their manure does not need to be composted and will not burn plants. The pellets can be applied directly and when mixed with bedding, brown straw and greens that fall under the cages, it creates an ideal soil amendment.

If you plan on building fancy raised beds, hauling in bagged soil, using chemical fertilizers and pesticides while buying seedlings at Lowes, you're going to pay a premium.

I didn't have time to get a garden in this year, but my dog ate some tomatoes in the house and pooped out the seeds in the backyard. We had a bumper crop of 100% free volunteer tomatoes and plants that came up. Doesn't get much cheaper than free
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Old 11-01-2014, 11:53 AM
Location: Kalamalka Lake, B.C.
2,966 posts, read 3,761,042 times
Reputation: 3768
Default Small is good; so is no till

Originally Posted by bentobox34 View Post
Anyone on here actually getting enough food from their garden to make a visible, net positive dent in your food budget? Especially interested in responses from people in small lot suburban locations, rather than large lot or rural areas.

So far after a few years I think we are still deep in the hole compared to where we would be if we had never taken up gardening.
Don't overdue it. I had six chickens back in the day; brought the eggs into work because the fridge was over flowing with eggs. Traded for spinach quiche, whole lamb, garden things. The secret on a small plot is to stay small. Once the garden was established I "released the hounds" and the chicks pretty much weeded the garden for me, busy bachelor guy with things to do in town.

This year, somewhat by accident, I didn't plant anything at a friends place until almost the end of July.
I was testing some seeds, old or unknown, and didn't add any fertilizer or ground prep, as most went in between on on top of bulb areas that were already bloomed out.

The result was corn! (couldn't believe that 3 for a dollar seed packs, old, actually went gangbusters with some smaller type peaches/cream. Acorn squash and hot peppers. Go figure. The lady know wants an advanced plan for next year, so we'll be more serious then. Seeds are being traded a lot here, with GMO issues and we didn't even get some seed lines in this year. You all got them in the USA first. Dang.

Top dressed the soil with peat moss for cold winter cover, and we're good. Outlay? Hardly anything. Local cat keeps lawn/garden beds clear of voles/mice so we don't use chemicals for her, but that does mean running into a little dog, racoon, and cat crap so wear gloves and wash your hands often after being in the soil.

I'm a big believer in fish oil fertilizer, and up here there isn't an acre that couldn't use a ton of lime, due to rainfall. So far so good.
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Old 11-01-2014, 12:16 PM
Location: CA.
185 posts, read 182,480 times
Reputation: 92
We make a compost from leaves , grass and horse manure.,black gold,for the garden.
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Old 11-01-2014, 12:58 PM
Location: Sunrise
10,869 posts, read 13,638,218 times
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We garden on the cheap and it still costs less to buy produce. We do it for quality fruits and vegetables. Not to save money.
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Old 11-01-2014, 02:29 PM
Location: Myrtle Creek, Oregon
11,046 posts, read 11,455,634 times
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I have grown small 10 x 10 gardens in town that I cultivated with a shovel and rake. The soil was good, and watering in that city was fairly cheap. It worked out well. Some vegetables are pretty expensive even in season. For canning, there is now way I could grow enough tomatoes. I put up about 6 gallons of tomato sauce this summer, and just bought fresh, local, vine ripened tomatoes from a farmer who grows them for a living. I'm ready to start 4 gallons of sauerkraut, and the cabbage will also come from that farm, for 25 cents a pound. OTOH, the herb garden is a gourmet's delight. I wouldn't live without it.
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Old 11-01-2014, 03:11 PM
587 posts, read 648,069 times
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It's hard to say.

Every year I tackle one or two 'big' garden projects to improve my yields. What I spend on these projects probably wipes out my savings, but I am getting more food out of my yard (.11 acre city lot) each year. I also can and preserve. Foraging has been fun.

It would be more cost effective for me to take the time I spend growing/preserving, work extra hours, and just buy food. It's incredibly time consuming to grow your own. On the other hand, I like doing it and I love the quality.
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Old 11-01-2014, 03:21 PM
Location: Pittsburgh
16,936 posts, read 17,180,377 times
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I would say my asparagus patch is a winner in terms of money saved. My tomatoes/basil and some other stuff not so much. Grocery prices aren't that high at my local Trader Joes, so it is sort of hard to beat those prices. I might get rid of my garden next year. Kind of sad about it, but I have other interests. Not the asparagus though. That is like a nice weed that comes up every year. My patch is great now after 4 years. HUGE!
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Old 11-01-2014, 06:49 PM
758 posts, read 581,996 times
Reputation: 883
Talking Well That Depends:

I think it does not matter if it helps save money or not. I think everybody should help garden and that way there will always be enough food around. I always wondered what they did back in the olden days. I watched this cartoon called Jane & The Dragon and there was this village where all these kids are training for jobs. But it was weird because it appeared that those kids had a lot of work to do. It seemed like a large village yet they had one kid doing all the metal work, and they had another kid cooking, and there was this other kid gardening. I assume they gardened for the ENTIRE village?! I kept thinking "what if they ran out of food?" or "what if ants ate all their food?" Perhaps they sold some of the metal they made and traded it for food from another village. That bizarre inspiration helped me to keep gardening.

Now as far as gardening I have some tips for you: If you are worried about the high cost of water then get a bunch of buckets or even garbage cans. Hopefully you don't live in some stupid HOA. But keep these buckets and put screens on top and perhaps the mosquitoes will stay out. You can also install a cistern.

And, whenever you rinse out anything such as a cup or water bottle, dump out the old or rinsed water into a bucket and then use that to water the garden. Just don't use soapy water or bleach water.
Sometimes using a soaker hose is very effective to save water.

If you are worried about not having enough room to garden then you should get a small fence installed in the middle of your garden. You can grow lots of plants that grow on vines. This includes tomatoes. You can also build a greenhouse to make your garden even more three dimensional.

Planting gardens takes time but most of that time is waiting. I know that the food doesn't seem like it grows fast enough but I enjoy eating fresh produce instead of canned or frozen or store bought. There are too many chemicals and even hormones in food. The rewards of growing food is you get to harvest it and eat it, ... and you feel accomplished that you learned a new skill were able to grow food independently.

I don't think gardening is that expensive. I don't see how it would cost more than store bought. But I do understand if there was a drought or water shortage or if your garden got attacked by ants.
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Old 11-01-2014, 06:54 PM
758 posts, read 581,996 times
Reputation: 883
Lightbulb And If Possible:

Look into turning every free space of yard into garden, or greenhouses. Because I enjoy gardening but I absolutely hate mowing lawns.
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