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Old 03-21-2023, 05:00 AM
 
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
7,236 posts, read 5,114,062 times
Reputation: 17722

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Always the skeptic, I really got a chuckle out of this one on the GardenSmart TV show
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rZ5hfYtIlc

A half hour interview & garden tour with a lady who advocates growing veggies in conrtainers. She recommends large containers (20 gal +), easily costing $100 or more each, and using only potting soil (cost $50+ for 20 gal) and a trellis (cost $20+) all to grow just one or two plants...At one point she brags smuggly that basil costs $4 a bag in the store, but a whole basil plant costs only $3. "And how many bags do we have from this plant?" she asks rhetorically...Well, I got news for you, honey-- not $180 worth.

I feel sorry for urban cliff dwellers like Oliver Wendall Douglas whose backyard is just a small balcony 30 stories up. Is it worth it to bother with a coulple veggie plants that give you a harvest of just a couple servings a year?
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Old 03-21-2023, 05:31 AM
 
Location: Type 0.73 Kardashev
11,110 posts, read 9,804,566 times
Reputation: 40166
Quote:
Originally Posted by guidoLaMoto View Post
I feel sorry for urban cliff dwellers like Oliver Wendall Douglas whose backyard is just a small balcony 30 stories up. Is it worth it to bother with a coulple veggie plants that give you a harvest of just a couple servings a year?
I live in a townhome. I start my peppers and tomatoes indoors and transfer them outside to my deck when the threat of frost is gone. I go with four tomato plants and two pepper plants. My pots are five-gallon. My annual costs are about $70 (potting soil, seeds, misc.), with a larger outlay at first (the pots, trellises, etc.), but that is of one-time items.

I love tomatoes and peppers, but I cannot eat them fast enough when they're producing, so I give many away. I enjoy the experience.

I feel sorry for people such as yourself who are compelled to tell themselves that I'm only getting 'a couple servings' out of my plants. You seem to need to believe nonsense about other people in order to feel good about what you do. That's weird.
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Old 03-21-2023, 06:46 AM
 
1,706 posts, read 1,146,203 times
Reputation: 3884
Make sure the pots drain correctly.
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Old 03-21-2023, 08:44 AM
 
1,751 posts, read 2,398,424 times
Reputation: 3598
Or, you can use grow bags, which only cost a few dollars apiece for 1,3, 5,15, 20 gallon grow bags. Just look up on Amazon (or any big box store.)

I grant you that soil can get pricey, which is why I now have my own compost heaps. I get many wheelbarrows worth of free compost from each pile per growing season, and my veggies love it better than the store-bought stuff. I use my compost to amend and renew potting soil from last year (provided last year's plants had no diseases.)

Basil may cost three dollars a plant but anybody who grows it in quantity knows that a grower can take many self-propagating cuttings from each plant, provided they grow in sufficient heat and light. I still have abundant basil growing from one original planted several years ago. I can't say that I have saved money on vegetables since my plot is very small, but the vegetables taste far better than what I find in the stores, and I know they are pesticide/herbicide free. I HAVE saved a bunch of money on herbs and also grow herbs not commonly found in the stores, such as savory, chervil, sorrel, tulsi, etc. Especially thyme, oregano and mint. Until I started growing those common herbs, I didn't realize they are actually weeds. The trick is not so much how to grow them as to how to stop growing them. Don't even get me started on Lemon Balm.

Permeable grow bags always drain well, if you avoid the really cheap plastic non-permeable bags. The major advantage of permeable bags is that plants grown in permeable bags do not get root-bound, since the permability induces root-self-pruning.

Last edited by ersatz; 03-21-2023 at 09:03 AM..
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Old 03-21-2023, 01:17 PM
 
Location: The Driftless Area, WI
7,236 posts, read 5,114,062 times
Reputation: 17722
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unsettomati View Post
That's weird.
I think it's weird that you feel pleased with yourself for spending $70 a year for$10 worth of produce....I guess we're even.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ersatz View Post
Or, you can use grow bags, which only cost a few dollars apiece for 1,3, 5,15, 20 gallon grow bags. Just look up on Amazon (or any big box store.)

.
Of course. There are much cheaper and there are better ways to do it than what this lady is advocating. She's considered some kind of a guru on the subject and presents her case as if she's letting us in on some kind of a secret that will revolutionize hobby gardening....She calls for all potting soil in a large pot-- outright stupid, as far as I see it--Potting soil is rich in nutrients but has really lousy texture -compacts easily preventing good air pockets-- very necessary for good water & nutrient absorption by roots.

Herbs and spices are best grown in containers-- you only need a little and they're easier and more convenient when grown in a container near your kitchen, but they are nutrionally useless and will do little to keep you alive when the SHTF. How kuch basil can you go thru in a year?...I grow lettuce indoors year round because I'm tired of weeding and fighting the wildlife for it. It's another nutritionally useless product but does add moisture, color and texture to dishes.
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Old 03-21-2023, 02:39 PM
 
Location: Home is Where You Park It
23,856 posts, read 13,735,298 times
Reputation: 15482
Quote:
Originally Posted by guidoLaMoto View Post

I feel sorry for urban cliff dwellers like Oliver Wendall Douglas whose backyard is just a small balcony 30 stories up. Is it worth it to bother with a coulple veggie plants that give you a harvest of just a couple servings a year?
If you're a plant person, you bet!

But I do agree that, as is true of many hobbies, it often doesn't pencil out.
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Old 03-21-2023, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Former LI'er Now Rehoboth Beach, DE
13,055 posts, read 18,096,128 times
Reputation: 14008
Ya know especially in this world today, if one wants to make an argument about every thing they can. Why not take a step back and read and learn from all kinds of sources about a subject that interests you and then weed out what works for you and what doesn't. We are all in different circumstances and if you enjoy growing your own veggies or flowers or herbs and only have a window sill to do it - that does not mean you can't or shouldn't do it - you have to adapt and work with what you have.

Years and years ago, I used to live in a tiny studio apartment, yet every year no one would believe how much stuff I had to decorate my place with. It made me happy every year for my SRO parties. One year I was asked where I stored all my stuff and I promised the person who asked a return visit when I packed my stuff away. I had a banquette in my "dining" area that was L shaped and a lot went into the seat compartments. But I had tall ceilings and I had rigged up a pully system in the closet and the best way to describe it is it was like a cloth laundry bag - a piece of masonite for the "floor" to which I had screwed in some I sail cloth and a draw string to cinch the 4 sides. I would shove everything in the "bag" and simply angle the floor while a friend pulled up on the pully. I had wood stops in the closet and I would simply drop the "floor" on it and storage done til next year. It wouldn't work for everyone for sure - but it worked for me.
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Old 03-21-2023, 04:07 PM
 
Location: Centre Wellington, ON
5,889 posts, read 6,088,552 times
Reputation: 3168
A lot of it is more about quality organic food and the satisfaction and joy of growing things yourself rather than saving money.

That being said, there are economical ways of doing things. I get a lot of my containers for cheap - my local garden centre has a recycling bin where people who buy trees and such throw their containers after planting trees/bushes - so I can get some for free there. Or find some on kijiji (Canadian equivalent of craigslist) for cheap. I don't really use 20 gal containers, that's not necessary for most things here. I use 2-5 gal containers for peppers and eggplants, and basil can be grow in 1/2 gal or even 1/4 gal.

I generally try to avoid buying bagged soil, since I agree it gets expensive. Most I'll do is maybe buy some peat moss. I'll make my own potting soil by mixing soil from my garden with compost, and then reuse the potting soil next year (just mix in some fresh compost, maybe chicken manure/organic fertilizer for nutrients).

If you overwinter peppers, you can grow maybe $15-20 worth from a single plant (3-5 lbs) per season. $150-$200 per decade. If you make your own compost and can find a cheap supply of containers like I do, your expenses will be much less.

For most people, growing your own produce and herbs won't make you calorie independent, but you can still save some money on some of the more expensive grocery store items (ex herbs, peppers) if you're strategic about it. I would still favour growing most things in-ground if you have the right climate and space to do so though. One exception (for me) is sweet potatoes, I'll grow those in plastic totes because it helps reduce rodent damage, but I still reuse the container soil and totes year after year.
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Old 03-21-2023, 04:14 PM
 
Location: Ontario, Canada
462 posts, read 284,518 times
Reputation: 1298
Lots of people grow in contaainers and planters. As for costs, you can reuse the soil year to year. Just fertilize or ammend it every spring.
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Old 03-21-2023, 06:23 PM
 
1,751 posts, read 2,398,424 times
Reputation: 3598
Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
If you overwinter peppers, you can grow maybe $15-20 worth from a single plant (3-5 lbs) per season. $150-$200 per decade.
Personally, I would love to hear more about how you overwinter peppers in Ontario. I bring mine in and put them under grow lights, but after a month or two they turn woody, the leaves fall off, and then they die.
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