Over the summer I have been weighing all the food I have harvested. Why you ask? I wanted to see how much I could grow in our six raised beds. Then I wondered, was all this work worth the effort. Was I really saving money? For those of you who know me, I wouldn’t have it any differently. I live and breathe gardening. Getting to eat what I grow fresh from the garden gives me a sense of pride. Having healthy organic food is key as I know what went into my soil.
It’s hard to believe that the six raised beds we built in late May could go from looking like this…..
to this. It was like a garden on steroids yet I only use organic fertilizers.
So I thought I would compare the yields I have harvested and put a price on them. What If I had to buy this at the grocery store? What would it have cost? I went to the farmers market. Was it cheaper there? I had to know.
Anyone reading this blog knows I harvested a bumper crop of field cucumbers, 53 1/4 pounds to be exact. I also harvested 15 3/4 pounds of crystal apple cucumbers for a total of 69 pounds of cucumbers.
I also grew a bed of basil that weighed in at 5 1/4 pounds and it’s still producing. I had enough to give away to friends. The last plants are being left to flower so I can collect seed for next year.
This was my first year growing cucamelons or mouse melons. To date I have harvested 4 pounds and haven’t seen this cucumber sold anywhere. So I will call them priceless.
I also grew miniature, jalapeno and green bell peppers in one bed. To date I have harvested almost 16.25 pounds of peppers. I love the thought that I have a freezer full of peppers for those winter meals.
I harvested some fruit from berries to pears as well. The pear tree is still loaded so I won’t know full totals until we get up the ladder once again.
So let’s look at how price compares: S is for store, M is for Market.My harvest weights are next to the product.
Vegetable or Fruit Grocery Store Farmers Market Money Saved S/M
Potatoes (10.75lb) .99lb $2.50 lb $10.64/ $26.87
Miniature peppers (8lb) $4.99lb Not sold $39.92/NA
Green bell peppers (2.5lb ) $2.99lb $2.50 lb $7.46/$6.25
Jalapeno peppers (5.75lb) $2.49lb $5.00 lb $14.32/ $28.75
Bosc Pears (12lb) .99 lb Not sold $11.88/NA
Field Cucumber(53.25 lb) $1.29 each $1.25 each $58.05/$56.25
Cucamelons (4lb) Not sold Not sold 4 lbs/priceless
Basil (5.25lb) $40.37lb $1.50/bunch $211.94/$52.50
Garlic (40) .59 each $2.00each $23.60/$80.00
Crystal apple cukes Not sold Not sold N/A /priceless
Tomatoes (5lb) $1.69lb $4.00lb $8.45/$20.00
Cilantro (4 bunch) .59 each $1.50/bunch $2.36/$6.00
Lettuce (6 heads) $1.99 each $1.00 each $11.94/$6.00
Blueberries (4.25lb) $4.99lb $7.50lb $21.20/$31.87
Onions (2lb) .99 lb $2.50 lb $1.98/$5.00
Raspberries(3lb) $10.65lb $6.00 lb $31.95/$18.00
Blackberry (2.25lb) $11.99 lb N/A $26.98/NA
If I had to buy at the grocery store it would have cost me $482.67
If I bought this at the farmers market it would have cost $337.49
It’s interesting to note the price of basil. This is one crop worth growing and either freezing or making pesto. I have 35 packages of pesto for the winter and it will last until the next season’s crop is ready. Prices vary from month to month and all my price checking was done in September. I found over the summer that prices at the farmers were a bit lower than shopping at the local village market. There are pros and cons in growing your own food. You are responsible for the outcome. You get what you put into it. You have to stay on top of watering and harvesting. Shopping at the farmers market is considered an experience that many enjoy. Ten thousand people attend our local market in one day. I would rather shop in my garden than deal with crowds like that. Time is a factor as well with our busy schedules. Mind you, it takes time to go to the grocery so shopping in the garden is definitely easier. So what were my costs? Much of the seed I used was my own saved seed or seed I was given. I spent about $20 on vegetable seeds and $30 on organic fertilizer. I spent about an hour a day in the vegetable garden due to our hot summer, watering mostly. The new kitchen bed that we built did cost us around $1000 to install but once built it will be used for years to come.
So how much did I harvest from July to September? 133.75 pounds of food and that doesn’t count the garlic, lettuce and other salad greens or the 27 pounds I harvested at the community garden for the food bank. I still have pears to go and hopefully that will be it until the winter crops are ready. It’s no wonder I look forward to winter so I can put my feet up. I am already planning next years garden. Are you?