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Economics?

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Economics?

Post  edfhinton on Sat Mar 23, 2013 2:49 pm

So one topic that comes up at home occasionally in this, my first year at SFG, is economics. After all, this first year has a lot of one time costs thrown in - building boxes, trellis, the mix, grow stands I built for seed starting including lights, etc. Adds up to quite a bit (I am doing 64 sq ft of veggies plus another 18 sq ft of herbs. Maybe some pots of excess tomato plants, etc as well.) But I look at everything I plan to grow, and I think I will be net positive just on the veggies before the end of my second year (didn't know how to factor in the value of the herbs, so I didn't count the herbs in the break-even.) That's assuming I grow about $15/square foot of produce in my 64 square feet of veggies. If I hit around $22/square foot I break even year one, which I do not expect to accomplish.

I do plan to track my harvests to see how I did. I'm wondering if anyone else has tracked how they did in terms of cost versus harvests and perhaps I can use that as another metric. I'd actually be happy with a 3 year return on investment, but 2 years is easier to 'sell' at home.

Thanks,

-Ed

(Of course, that doesn't even count the enjoyment value and how much more heathy such fresh produce will be, or the health effects of the fresh air and exercise, but I did get told in a friendly manner that this garden better work, and I have been reassuring that it will be fine.)

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Re: Economics?

Post  Lindacol on Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:21 pm

Check out this article to see what is possible:

Grow $700 of Food in 100 Square Feet!

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Organic-Gardening/Square-Foot-Gardening-Food.aspx#ixzz2OONWgXN2


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Re: Economics?

Post  edfhinton on Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:55 pm

I saw the $700 in 100 sq ft article and for a variety of reasons I concluded it was not actually a 'Square Foot Garden'. Why? Here is what it say was grown:

"The first season (spring/summer 2008), I grew the following:
•Two tomato plants: ‘Better Boy’ and ‘Early Girl’
•Bell peppers, which are often luxuries at the market when fully colored: two ‘California Wonder,’ two ‘Golden Bell,’ one ‘Orange Bell,’ and one ‘Big Red Beauty’
•Four zucchinis: two green ‘Raven’ and two ‘Golden Dawn’
•Four basils (expensive in stores but essential in the kitchen)
•18 lettuces: six ‘Crisp Mint’ romaine, six ‘Winter Density’ romaine, and six ‘Sylvestra’ butterhead"

That wouldn't even fill my 64 square feet if using vining tomatoes on a trellis, as well as trellising the zucchini. It is a total of 34 plants, including the 18 lettuce which surely would not get one square each. Using trellising for tomatoes and zucchini and caging the peppers, and putting 4 lettuce per square, I count 21 squares worth of plants. Beng generous and spreading out the zucchini amd tomatoes a bit more despite the trellising, I'd call it no more than 30 sq ft of plants. At that rate it would mean she seems to have accomplished the equivalent of $23 per square foot if she had really used a Square Foot Garden. I'd still be intersted in hearing if any of the SFGers here have figured out their produce values, but this make trying to hit $12 to $15 per square foot to recoup up front costs in the first two years seem very doable.

-Ed



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Re: Economics?

Post  a savage gardener on Sat Mar 23, 2013 10:08 pm


You never know exactly how a growing season will turn out. One year you could get skunked and the next you will have more veggies than you can give away.

If you can at least make a dent in your grocery bill (and save money on gas), than I would call that a success.

a savage gardener


Last edited by RoOsTeR on Sat Mar 23, 2013 10:16 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Leave politics out of posts please.)

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Re: Economics?

Post  walshevak on Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:19 am

@a savage gardener wrote:
You never know exactly how a growing season will turn out. One year you could get skunked and the next you will have more veggies than you can give away.

If you can at least make a dent in your grocery bill (and save money on gas), than I would call that a success.

a savage gardener

+1

Kay

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Re: Economics?

Post  camprn on Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:55 am

I found I could cut my first year outlay of cash by not buying everything at the box store. I found several sources of other compost that I used to make my first year mix for few or no dollars. Because cash was short I had to make due and my MM was a bit compost heavy.

I bought cheap pine 2x8's that have lasted four years and I may get another 2 years out of them.

After the first year I had enough free homemade compost to recharge all the beds.

Certainly the first year the garden did not pay for itself, but over the course of 3 years it has.
Last year I didn't have a super bountiful harvest, but I did put a lot of food up by preserving it through canning, dehydrating and freezing. I will have some canned goods left over probably at the end of this growing season.

In a garden less than 200 sq feet I took in at least 180 pounds of food. Not including honey. cheers

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Re: Economics?

Post  RoOsTeR on Sun Mar 24, 2013 10:59 am

Nice! There is another thread someplace around here with lists of savings folks have had on their harvests. I can't find it No

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Re: Economics?

Post  Lindacol on Sun Mar 24, 2013 1:27 pm

@RoOsTeR wrote:Nice! There is another thread someplace around here with lists of savings folks have had on their harvests. I can't find it No
Maybe one of these?

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t8944-roi-return-on-investment-for-plants

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t5949p45-how-much-money-did-you-spend-when-you-started

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Re: Economics?

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