Category Archives: money savers

The cost-effective garden

The-FarmerLike most gardeners, each year I have to make choices about what to plant. Being a practical guy, my choices are largely determined by practical considerations, such as available space, what’s likely to do well, what is most cost-effective, and what offers the best improvement over its market counterpart. There are ancillary considerations that have more of an emotional aspect to them, such as what is easiest to grow and what is most satisfying, although for a practically-minded person one could argue that these are simply reflections of the previous considerations.

Cost-effectiveness may not be a consideration for every gardener but probably is for most. For me, the aim of cost-effectiveness derives less from an actual need to cut costs and more from the simple challenge of doing so. I do like to experiment with different crops each year, and at the end of each season part of evaluating the success or failure of a particular crop is answering the question, “Did growing this at home save money?” If the answer is No then likely I won’t grow that item again. But it’s also not a one-size-fits-all equation. There are variable,s like the cost of a particular item in my locale and how much I use a particular item. Carrots, I’ve decided are not worth growing at home. Not that I don’t use them and like them…I love them and use them all the time. But they’re relatively cheap to buy, my attempts at growing them did not go well, and the ones I did grow didn’t taste especially better than the ones at the market.

Looking online for articles on cost-effective homegrown veggies I found this article from . It identified these as the top six most cost effective vegetables to grow at home. (No herbs or fruits made the list, I assume because they were not considered).

  1. Lettuce
  2. Bell Peppers
  3. Garlic
  4. Winter Squash
  5. Tomatoes
  6. Broccoli

Interesting. With the exception of tomatoes (not my list at all. I probably would have named (in order):

  1. Tomatoes
  2. Basil
  3. Swiss Chard
  4. Hot peppers
  5. Green Beans
  6. Frying Peppers

Bell peppers I accepted awhile ago just do not do well in my cool, coastal Massachusetts climate. Winter squash requires too much space and even then I don’t use it all that much. The article DOES tempt me to try planting garlic this fall.