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How much money did you spend when you started??

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/24/2013, 4:49 pm

I already had alot of gardening supplies, like a compost pile, buckets, tarps, plastic paint sheets and burlap, clothes pins and bamboo stakes (for grids and hoops), when I started. I was also able to get some free boxes in the form of discarded kitchen cupboards and scrap lumber.

Upon figuring out my start up cost, I got up to $194 not including seeds and things I may have forgotten, so I decided to make it $250. So $2.50 per sq at the most.

On a further note, I know that I previously spent at least $7 per week on spring mix lettuces as I eat at least one salad every day. But during the months of May thru Dec of last year I didn't buy any spring mix but used all the greens from my SFG, thereby saving about $245. This doesn't include any of the other veggies I didn't have to buy but continued to eat from the garden thru the beginning of Feb of this year.

I'd have to say that I recouped my costs and went way overboard the first year of SFG! What a Face

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Re: How much did you spend when you started??

Post  Lillyz on 3/24/2013, 6:37 pm

Doing a quick report on my banking software = $350. That includes ready made raised beds, mels mix components, pvc pipe and tools to cut it, plastic sheeting, clips, bare root strawberrrys, bare root roses, a few different types of seeds, seed starting mix, 3 cell planting trays, 2" x 2" x 4' boards, lath, and a ready made compost bin and ceramic bucket to hold kitchen scraps.

Already have on hand chicken wire, paint, some older seeds.

Still needed/want: electrical conduit, rebar, and mulch (and lots of it!). Some type of fencing to keep the dog out of the veggie garden area, and I want a trellis/arbor and a drip irrigation for all of those areas.

Not included: price of electricity to keep seedlings warm and water.

I have 2 3.5' x 3.5' raised beds for veggies, 32' x 4' flower bed and other flower beds/containers around the property. I usually start 95% of my plants from seed. The ones I buy in plant form are usually the ones that take alot of time to start from seed or the seed is usually too small for me to see (even with a white/beige craft paint brush). Im looking forward to a bountiful harvest from my veggie garden. Plus it gives me exercise, fresh air and a reason to go outside and do something which is something I really cant put a price on. Very Happy

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My SFG costs

Post  R&R 1011 on 3/25/2013, 12:45 am

This is interesting to read. Im glad the old thread was bumped.

$100 bought wood (cedar) for a 12' x 4' box, 2- 3' x 3' boxes, accidentally got an extra 8' board, and screws.

$120 for 24 cub ft of vermiculite

$100 for 28 cub ft of mulch & 30 cub ft of compost

$65 for seeds

$8 for seed starting mix

$33 for 9 cub ft of peat moss (Still need 1 more bag)

$15 hardware for compost bin

Free or already have: Heating pad, shop lights & plant bulbs, weed cloth & cardboard, plastic seed trays, older seeds, plant markers, compost pail, pallets (for compost bin), 12' x 3' stone edged bed, 4' x 4' x 12" plastic raised bed, SFG area already fenced in, wood for grid and/ or critter cages, and 2 pieces of cattle fencing for trellises.

I still need to make critter cages and shade/ weather barriers. Im going to look in the old barn to see if there is chicken wire. Food grade barrels (for rain barrels) are $20 on CL. Anyway, so $440 so far, ouch, but bought enough Mel's mix for my boxes and extra.

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  plantoid on 3/25/2013, 9:03 am

I daren't calculate the final bill before I took out the first radish nearly 18 months ago .
We stopped counting at $ USD 22500 ....but that does also include a total landscaping of the gardens , setting down a patio building a pond and BBQ area , laying in water and electricity plus a tidy glasshuse with all singing all dancing watering and heated propagation bed and five stainless steel two shevled wheeled dining room hostess trollies for mobile benching.

I just console myself with the fact that every bit of veg ,herb or flower taken from the garden reduces ti cost . I can't even begin to put a price on having fresh veg & flowers though .

Just think ...... we could have wasted all that money on two beach holidays and booze Laughing

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  gardenertaylor on 3/25/2013, 9:46 am

I just built my first beds this week. I have 20 square feet total. I calculated that I've spent $8.00 a square foot. Mel's Mix came in at $5.00 a square foot. And I still have ingredients left to make a couple pots of mel's mix for some herb pots. So, it's really a little less than $5.00 per square foot.

The rest of the cost was for building materials, tarps, screws, etc, which included a $40 pre-fab kit for my 4x4 box. I built my 2x2x12 deep box from scratch.

I haven't bought my seeds or transplants yet, which I anticipate will be about $50, making the per square foot cost approximately $10.00

I need to get each square to yield, on average, $10.00 worth of food to be worth my cost for this year. Some squares will do better than others.

Then next year the garden is practically paying me.

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  jimmy cee on 3/25/2013, 9:47 am

I suppose I was very fortunate in that everything was all prepared for Square Foot Gardening, just waiting for it to come along.
My only cost was the vermiculite 3 bags $75.00...3 bags of peat moss, $30.00.
Some compost's I may need to purchase, however that will be very minor.
One thing I deeply appreciate here with the Mel's Mix program, is the awareness of how important compost is.
I've heard about it, read about it, and it never did sink into this mind of mine.
Now that it has, an entire section in my back yard has been devoted to making compost.
Thanks to everyone here sharing their valuable knowledge..

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  Coelli on 3/25/2013, 4:17 pm

I shudder to think of what the total is, and I only have a 12x3 and a 12x2 box. I'm easily in for a couple grand if you take into consideration the electrified fence around the garden, the compost tumbler, the mulch, all of the pots, the trellis, the different irrigation experiments (just tore it all out again and replaced it with something else), the seeds, the grow lights, the water meters (one inside, one outside), the compost thermometer, the gardening gloves and tools, and on and on and on... it's those little things that add up! I can't blame it all on SFG as I do also have a lot of containers too, but this has been a Very. Expensive. Hobby.

Like someone else, I'm at that point in my life where time is more precious than money, for good or bad.

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Much cheaper then than now

Post  Hardcoir on 3/25/2013, 4:33 pm

I remember that first Spring. Mel had just started airing on PBS with the original method. I had been experimenting with something similar because I also did not like the idea of tossing 100 seeds of something and then thinning down to 20. I never understood the statement of spacing plants 6 inches apart and then 3 feet apart in rows, because the plant could not realize that it could not be 6 inches apart in every direction.

So, I started that first Spring already owning the tools and organic fertilizers. There was no initial startup cost converting my unorganized method with the original SFG method.

The cost of buying seeds was the same as the previous year, so there was nothing extra at all that first year. I had leftover 2x8's from a remodeling job, and because I saved on water, the total cost was less than the year before SFG.

Now, the cost is considerable, because there is not enough compost to go around to all the square footage, and vermiculite prices inflate more than gasoline prices.

Still, when you consider how much harvest you get using this intensive method, you come out ahead. Our organic CSA this year costs about $950 a share, and they do not supply half of what we will be growing for maybe $275-$300. I will have enough organic herbs to sell and even recoup a little bit.

More importantly, this nice "hobby" is priceless when you factor in stress-reduction produced. Working in the garden is not work at all.

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  Kate888 on 3/25/2013, 5:17 pm

I estimate that we spent about $300 last year to make 2 - 3x6 beds with 1 x 8 cedar boards. We kept track initially and that was about $250 and I'm guessing $50 through the summer for little things.

This year we are making 3 more 3x6 beds. Initial cost will be about $300, but again there may be things throughout the summer. I already have some things like the chicken wire and weed fabric for the bottom of my boxes, plus deck screws, staples etc. from last year. I also will have some compost, but not nearly enough. That accounts for the decrease in costs. Oh wait, I need more soaker hoses, so maybe $350.

I could easily spend more, but I try really hard to make do with things I have even if it's inconvenient.

I felt like we probably recouped most of what we spent last year in food costs, but maybe not quite, not everything did as well as I would have liked. I hope to come out ahead this year, since the old beds won't cost anything much, but one bed will be just for strawberries so it won't produce til next year.

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  llama momma on 3/25/2013, 5:18 pm

One of the boxes is a table top 4 x 4 on cinder blocks 4 high. That's 8 blocks per corner plus 4 more blocks placed under the center of the box. Total of 36 blocks or about 45 dollars in cement blocks alone. It is dedicated to 64 strawberry plants that should last a few years then replace themselves with runners. Even when I add the cost of the box, plants, my free labor homemade compost, bottom plywood, weed block, brackets, peat and vermic, I think I'll do alright since each plant could produce a potential of a quart of berries per season. Store bought berries in this area begin at $2.50 but thats a quart of toxic drenched fruit. If I bought 64 qts at the store it would be 160 dollars. I'll be satisfied with whatever the 64 home grown plants produce over the next couple years and gladly know it was organically grown, lovingly fussed over and babied right there in my own yard.

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Starting up Cost

Post  Jaodissa on 4/4/2013, 3:52 pm

So I made some pretty plans. Seem content with them and now I want to fill my box up. I've called around. I've found locations for 5 different types of compost for pretty cheap no big deal, but I'm looking at nearly 100+ dollars in vermiculite and peat moss. (80 then 70 for each to be exact) Does that sound about right? This would cover a total of 27 cubic feet of space. Thoughts?

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/4/2013, 3:59 pm

I pay $42 /bag of vermiculite here. But you peat cost sounds wrong to me. I've filled at least 50 sq ft using 2 bags @ under $8 ea, 1 from our Job Lots store and 1 from our local nursery. Maybe it's just cheaper in my area but I would keep checking on peat if I were you.

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  Lillyz on 4/5/2013, 1:07 am

@Jaodissa wrote:So I made some pretty plans. Seem content with them and now I want to fill my box up. I've called around. I've found locations for 5 different types of compost for pretty cheap no big deal, but I'm looking at nearly 100+ dollars in vermiculite and peat moss. (80 then 70 for each to be exact) Does that sound about right? This would cover a total of 27 cubic feet of space. Thoughts?

Looked at your local home depot and they had Mel's Mix already packaged @ 8.97 per 1.5 cubic foot. I know it sounds pricey, but if I would have had it available here, at the time, I would have bought it. Somewhere on another thread, it says the peat needs to be fluffed first, which I did by hand, for the first batch. Someone else said to just squish it with your feet and that would get out the lumps. So I did that. Worked great! Measuring, mixing, and then finally filling those beds are alot of work. You can always make or buy compost to backfill after your crops are harvested.

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  Windmere on 4/5/2013, 8:31 am

@Lillyz wrote:
@Jaodissa wrote:So I made some pretty plans. Seem content with them and now I want to fill my box up. I've called around. I've found locations for 5 different types of compost for pretty cheap no big deal, but I'm looking at nearly 100+ dollars in vermiculite and peat moss. (80 then 70 for each to be exact) Does that sound about right? This would cover a total of 27 cubic feet of space. Thoughts?

Looked at your local home depot and they had Mel's Mix already packaged @ 8.97 per 1.5 cubic foot. I know it sounds pricey, but if I would have had it available here, at the time, I would have bought it. Somewhere on another thread, it says the peat needs to be fluffed first, which I did by hand, for the first batch. Someone else said to just squish it with your feet and that would get out the lumps. So I did that. Worked great! Measuring, mixing, and then finally filling those beds are alot of work. You can always make or buy compost to backfill after your crops are harvested.

I am going to blend my MM soon. I appreciate the tips about fluffing peat moss Lillyz. It DOES sound like a lot of work.

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  Jaodissa on 4/5/2013, 10:57 am

Wow Didn't even see this post! I will read through it today! You guys are awesome!

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Timely reminder folks

Post  plantoid on 4/5/2013, 6:41 pm

Just so we don't give newcommers heart attacks and cold feet ... Laughing

ANSFG can be done much cheaper than most of us who are posting in this thread have done .

If you make all your own composts the year before you get the frames made , before you get the beds up and going and use rough cut timbers instead of planed smooth stuff that will keep costs down .
The raising up of bed from the bare ground to waist height table tops does rack up the costs a bit so my tip is to start begging and pleading for old timber ,go dumpster / rubbish skip diving for timber and bits and bobs as you read the threads to get the feel of things .

Once you get familiar with how different folk are doing their ANSFG' ing you'll soon start appreciating how you can modify/ use what you find .
You don't need expensive fancy all singing all dancing irrigation either .. as Mel's says in his ANSFg books use a cup and bucket of air temp water to put water where it is most needed .
or
Perhaps to save you time a lidded barrel set on a 2 foot high stand fitted with a tap & filled up with a hose pipe once a fortnight etc.

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  jimmy cee on 4/5/2013, 9:29 pm

@jimmy cee wrote:I suppose I was very fortunate in that everything was all prepared for Square Foot Gardening, just waiting for it to come along.
My only cost was the vermiculite 3 bags $75.00...3 bags of peat moss, $30.00.
Some compost's I may need to purchase, however that will be very minor.
One thing I deeply appreciate here with the Mel's Mix program, is the awareness of how important compost is.
I've heard about it, read about it, and it never did sink into this mind of mine.
Now that it has, an entire section in my back yard has been devoted to making compost.
Thanks to everyone here sharing their valuable knowledge..

I need to change my story above, this is becoming much more expensive as every idea forms in my head and I act on it..it's fun though, and I don't spend money on fishing any more...hmmm I am actually saving money.

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  Goosegirl on 4/5/2013, 10:14 pm

@jimmy cee wrote:...it's fun though, and I don't spend money on fishing any more...hmmm I am actually saving money.

rofl rofl rofl

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Re: How much money did you spend when you started??

Post  camprn on 4/6/2013, 6:14 am

@Goosegirl wrote:
@jimmy cee wrote:...it's fun though, and I don't spend money on fishing any more...hmmm I am actually saving money.

rofl rofl rofl

GG
darn funny

I think I spent about $300 when I started my first four 4x4 boxes. By gleening free composted manures from Freecycle participants, buying less expensive composted manure from a local dairy, making my own compost, taking my time to collect all the five different composts and spreading my spending over a few months, the out flow of cash was less painful. Also using perlite instead of vermiculute, and buying pine boards instead of the coveted cedar or redwood, I saved a ton of money.

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