Season after season I eat right out of the garden.
Not just the juicy tomatoes, but much, much more. I’ve cultivated salad greens from Spring to Fall. I’ve harvested garlic, onions, carrots, kale, radishes, spinach, Brussel sprouts, cucumbers, beans, zucchini and winter squash. I’ve grown the herbs I use including thyme, lemon thyme, oregano, marjoram, basil, rosemary, tarragon, cilantro, parsley and sage. And some fruits particularly strawberries, honeyberries, gooseberries and quince.
I always have some loss, typically from squirrels and chipmunks who take the Goldilocks approach to dining, nibbling a little bit out of each ripe morsel before devouring one.
Lately, I’ve been wondering how to put a cash value on the amount of produce grown.
What does it cost me to grow food organically? In other words, if I were to go to the organic section of the supermarket, what would I pay for the food I grow?
Has anyone calculated this? I went to the internet to find out.
There I read an article for Mother Earth News by Rosalind Creasy and Cathy Wilkinson Barash who gardened 100 square feet in Northern Carolina and Iowa respectively.
Rosalind wrote, “I figured the total value of my 2008 summer trial garden harvest was $746.52. In order to get a fair picture, I also needed to subtract the cost of seeds, plants and compost (I can’t make enough to keep up with my garden), which added up to $63.09. That leaves $683.43 in savings on fresh vegetables. Of course, prices vary throughout the season and throughout the country. I live in northern California, and for comparison, Cathy, who lives in Iowa, checked out her prices and figured the same amount of organic produce in her area would be worth $975.18.”
This season I’m going to keep a garden log the includes my seed cost and what I spend on compost, fertilizer and pest control. I will keep track of the time I spend working in the garden, and the price I would pay at the market if I made my purchases there.
I recognize the cost is just part of gardening and doesn’t include the benefits of fresh air and sunshine, exercise and knowing precisely how my food is grown. That along with the convenience of having food outside my back door, the freshness and flavor of the vegetables, fruits and herbs. And, there’s the joy of sharing, too.
The bottom line is I’m curious. What are the economics? Anyone else want to keep track? We can compare notes and maybe a few recipes.
See you in the garden.