How Much Money Can You Save By Gardening?

Lloyd mentioned gardening among his 11 lifestyle choices to hedge against inflation, and Jeff Nield has noted how one gardener saved $2000 in food costs. For the last few years famed frugality expert and financial guru J.D.Roth of GetRichSlowly.org have been exploring an ongoing gardening experiment to see how much money he and his wife can save by growing their own food. Here's what he wrote back in 2008 to introduce the project:

During the next year, Kris and I plan to track all of our work and expenses in the yard. I'm not going to tabulate how long it takes to trim the laurel or the boxwood, but I will track the following:

* The cost of seeds and fertilizer.
* Our approximate water usage.
* The time we spend planting, weeding, and harvesting.
* The amount of food we harvest.
*
* The cost-equivalent from the local grocery store.

For example, when Kris places her seed order in the next week or two, I'll note how much she spends for a packet of tomato seeds. I'll keep track of how much she uses her grow lights (using my handy Kill-a-Watt electricity usage monitor), how much water and fertilizer we consume, how many tomatoes we harvest, and how much that would have cost us at the store.

Fast forward to March 2011 and not much is happening in his GRS Garden Project Update. Roth just returned from a trip to Africa, and his garden is dealing with the fact that it is located in Portland, Oregon. But he and his wife Kris are ramping up for another year of both gardening and data tracking:

This garden update is pretty lame, I know. Trust me: There'll be more to report for April. And May's installment will be packed!

At least he's honest. Watch this space.

Tags: Economics | Oregon | Poverty | United States