Does gardening save money? Whether at home or in a community garden, these planning strategies can really help offset costs from month to month.
When it comes to growing your own food at home, the main question that arises is does gardening save money?
In order to answer this question, we need to evaluate the expense to get started, the time you are willing to commit per week and month, and how much food you really want to grow.
Just as I have answered the questions, “Does homesteading really save money?”, and “Does it save money to can at home?”, you can rest assured, that gardening is absolutely worth it.
I want to share information with you so you too can reach the decision to confidently step out and start growing your own food. Whether at home or in a community garden, these planning strategies can really help offset costs from month to month.
Why I Choose to Grow My Own Vegetables
I am a descendant of many generations of growing up on food from backyard vegetable gardens. It’s the only lifestyle I’ve ever experienced.
Whether eating it fresh from the garden or preserving foods for the next year, I have always had people in my life to teach me gardening along the way.
Does gardening save money? It does for me! Here are a few reasons why I love vegetable gardening, and how I answer this question.
Knowing What Is in My Food
If I grow and preserve it myself, I know exactly what is in my food. After my health scare a number of years ago and the need to change my diet with some simple ingredient swaps, this became very important to me.
Fresh And Healthier Food
Vegetables harvested right off the vine have more nutrients in them, and they have more of a full, flavor depth.
Produce bought at the grocery store will be more expensive because it’s had many other people involved up to the time it appears on the shelf. If I’m doing all of the planning, prepping, and harvesting, it cuts out the middleman.
- Planning – This is probably the most time-consuming piece of the process for me. I spend countless hours planning what I’m going to plant, and where I’m going to place it in my garden. Read through my biggest garden planning mistakes to learn what not to do. You can also purchase my book The Family Garden Plan to get an excellent resource on planning your garden and my book The Made From Scratch Life for many more tips on creating a natural lifestyle.
- Prepping – This will take more time in the beginning when you are initially starting your own garden. Read about preparing a new garden bed for more informative steps on how to begin. After you have the basic groundwork done (your garden plot designed or raised beds built and filled with soil) you will only have a few yearly tasks to keep everything in working order.
- Maintenance and Weed Control – I spend an average of 1-2 hours per week during the growing season keeping everything fertilized and weeded. You can read all about the best natural and organic fertilizers here and how to reduce weeds in the garden naturally here.
- Harvesting and Preserving – This is a more labor-intensive step, depending on the size of your family and how much food you are putting away for the year. Here you will find my best tips on home food preservation as well as how to pick the best preservation methods here.
Considerations to Ensure Cost Savings
There are a few details that are very important in getting a garden space ready. Consideration needs to be given to garden space and the amount of money available to start a garden.
Time and money are often the main reasons why people dream and never get started! It’s important to note that you can start small and continue to make improvements and grow your garden space for the rest of your life.
In fact, we're adding onto our garden space every year! See ideas on how we expanded our garden space by going vertical here.
One of the things you will need to determine is what type of garden area you will need. There are two different ways to achieve a space suitable for a vegetable garden.
Raised Garden Beds
Raised garden beds are great for a few different reasons.
- Small Area – If you only have a small area to use for garden space, sometimes it's easiest to fit in a raised bed over tilling up a garden plot.
- Higher Than Ground Level – For planting, maintenance, and weed control, the higher level will be easier to work in. I love this garden pictured above, because each year more soil can be added to the beds to bring the level up. That way, as you age, your garden becomes easier to access and you're slowly building up your soil with less investment upfront.
- Better Quality Soil – If you live in an area with compact soil, clay soil, or just need to amend the soil, having a raised bed allows you to fill it with good quality soil.
- Weed Control – Most people line their raised beds with weed blocker or fabric.
Materials For Raised Beds
There are many ways to build raised garden beds. One of the main things to consider and research when choosing the material you want to build with is whether that material is suitable for food safety.
The material will be in direct contact with the soil you are growing food in. As it rains and time passes, the natural breakdown of materials may leech into the soil.
- Lumber – Cedar is naturally long-lasting and rot-resistant, but other types of wood can be used as well. Be careful of treated wood. Some treated woods are acceptable, but check the stamps to know what it has been treated with.
- Rocks – River rock is great to use to build up the outer edge of a garden space. Any large rocks will do, but don’t strain your back moving them into place!
- Old Tires – Large, used equipment tires are sometimes used for garden beds.
- Cinder (Cement) Blocks (pictured above) – These are a relatively economical way to build raised beds.
Size Of Raised Beds
The size of raised beds varies from one gardener to the next. The most important part is the depth. Most plants need a minimum of a 12” depth for their root system.
When watering the beds, you need enough soil depth to allow moisture to stay for a period of time without drying out.
Most people choose to have their beds at a maximum of 4’ wide to allow for easy access of reaching into and across the space for weed control and harvesting.
The length is based on the space and materials and tools you have to build with.
Regular Garden Plot
A garden plot without raised beds is an area on your property that has good, tillable soil. You may need to amend the soil, but it will generally have lots of natural nutrients.
Read about ways to start composting at home to learn how easy it is to build your own compost with materials you already have.
Fencing For Critters
This is optional, but you might need to invest in fencing if you live in an area with deer or other nightlife. This is a one-time expense, and it may save you many heartaches.
This 3” x 2” wire mesh gauge fencing works great. You will also need to purchase T-posts to anchor the fencing into the ground.
There are a few different types of seeds to purchase for your garden. I strongly advocate for heirloom seeds! Heirloom seeds allow you to save the seeds from year to year.
We have some seeds in my family that have been handed down for many years. Learn how to save seeds, and you will not only be saving money but also continue the legacy of generations.
Heirloom and open-pollinated seeds can be saved every year, planted the following year, and they will come back true to form.
Hybrid seeds can not be saved and will need to be purchased every year.
My favorite places to purchase seeds are Seeds for Generations and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.
Does Gardening Save Money? Yes, It Does!
Every year, I preserve approximately 400 jars of food from my garden. I plant lots of vegetables and have learned how to safely preserve these to give us home-grown fruits and vegetables all year long.
We also eat lots of fresh produce during the growing season. What is better than walking out to your garden and gathering food to cook for dinner?
It’s difficult to know exactly how much my garden can save on my grocery bill because I have always had my own garden. The best I can do in telling you how much my garden saves me is only a guesstimate.
My estimated value on saving money by growing vegetables and staying out of the grocery stores as much as possible falls at around $100 – $200 per month.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Gardening?
I have to search pretty far and deep to find disadvantages that outweigh the advantages of food gardening!
The only disadvantages I can think of is it can be physically demanding. If you have a bad back or sore knees, it might lead to some painful joints.
Also, some years there are fungal infections, pests, or other diseases that can wipe out a portion of your crop.
What Do I Plant?
Only plant what you eat! If your family eats green beans every week, plant plenty of green beans. If you aren’t going to eat beets, don’t plant them – unless you plant them for the sole purpose of gifting them to your community.
If you are just starting the journey to grow your own food, plant foods that are easy to grow.
Also, be careful of planting too many vegetables. I know! Sometimes, our excitement gets us into trouble.
How Much Time Will I Spend In My Garden?
After you have your vegetables planted and everything is growing, your main responsibilities will be fertilizing and weeding. The time commitment is dependent on the size of your garden.
You should be able to maintain a neat, thriving garden by committing 1-2 hours per week.
Verse of the Week John 15:5
- Best Plants for Companion Planting and Preserving Secrets to Natural Pest Control
- Best Vegetables for Small Spaces & Self-Sufficiency
- Tips to Successfully Growing Your Own Food
More Gardening Posts
- Gardening in March (Garden Tasks by Month)
- Gardening in April (Garden Tasks by Month)
- Gardening in May (Garden Tasks By Month)
- Hot Climate Gardening Tips
- Grow Your Own Food – Helpful Tips For The Beginning Gardener
- Planning our “Farm Stay” Homestead
- Best Vegetables for Small Spaces and Self Sufficiency
- 4 Tips to Success In Growing Your Own Food
- Seed Packet Information – How to Read Seed Packets for Gardening Success
- How to Plan Your Best Garden & Harvest for a Years Worth of Food
- The Ultimate Seed Starting Guide- Planning, Starting & Mistakes to Avoid
I love this post. All the pictures of different gardens are so inspiring. Keep up the great work you do!
Ours cost us about $500 and we put it in two years ago. We’ve already save much more than $500!
Would live to enter the give away.
My neighbor actually tilled the ground for us and shared his seeds so it only cost sweat equity. I did cukes which I pickled and a bunch of easy veg like squash, beans, melon, etc. and I shared with him. But now we live in a new place and I want to try raised beds and even have the hubs working on a greenhouse.
I haven’t had a garden in decades so I don’t know what the cost would be.
I have not yet started a garden. Soon we are moving to some property. Excited to learn!
Valerie A Pederson
I always get anxious this time of year to get in the garden. I know it saves money but have never figured out the savings. Just like to can the results of our endeavors.
I haven’t honestly done the estimate, but in reading through the post, we probably spend $300 (very basic garden set up) and have to save $500 or so in the food we harvest. It’s crazy to sit here and think about that – we started it just for fun!!
I am enjoying your book and especially love your videos. Thank you so much for sharing! Would love to have some of the snow you are enjoying.
Last year we spent $200 on our garden at the community plot. This year we will utilize more of our yard and not use a community plot. I plan to buy the seeds we need from Baker. I’m a self taught gardener and have made many mistakes but have learned a lot too. This year we hope to have approximately 125sqft of growing space.
What do you recommend for Apple tree spray? I’ve not gotten even one crop in 7 years because of infestations but I don’t want to use nasty pesticides!
It probably costs us less than $100 to put in our garden (seeds, soil for starting some seeds indoors, fertilizer). I usually can at least 250 jars of various produce each growing season plus enjoying the fresh produce over the summer, thus saving us hundreds of dollars at the grocery store.
I usually spend about $100 a year and i get about that much out of it. I am still new to gardening and am slowly working on getting more out of my garden and saving more
I don’t think it cost more than $50 in plants/seeds for our 4 by 8 garden. I save quite a bit by growing my own herbs. They are pricey at the store.
Jolene J Talboom
Not sure if this is the place to comment for the giveaway, but, here goes. We moved into our house last May. Since the moving lasted most of the summer since we were fixing up the other house to sell, I decided to grow my tomatoes in large planters. This year I plan on adding at least 4 3’x 6′ beds that are 12″ deep. I haven’t priced bulk dirt yet, but I’m hoping to get them put in for under $300. I do can alot of things and hoping this year i can stock my shelves for most of our needs.
It varies, but it will be more this year, as we will be tripling the size. I try to use materials that we have on hand for plant supports. Hoping to start seed saving more this year.
Thanks for the information. We plant approximately a half acre plot, being in Florida we basically get two full plantings and another of winter/fall items. I can’t imagine what my grocery bill would be without our garden and fruit trees.
You have some great photos from others showing off their gardens, good to see what others have accomplished.
We also enclose our garden due to our dogs, cats & deer & rabbits. I do a raised bed variation with just mounding the soil, which helps to keep the roots cooler; as well as preventing the crops from washing away in our sometimes torrential downpours we experience here in Texas.
I so enjoy your Thursday am live broadcasts, always learn something. I’m also really enjoying the Pioneering Today lessons.
Keeping my fingers crossed about winning the giveaway; but even if I’m not a winner, it’s good of you to offer it up anyway.
See you next Thursday,
It probably costs us about $100.00 and I can’t even imagine how much we save. Probably $1000.00.
I grew my fist garden last year in a community garden. I actually made a spreadsheet to see how productive and cost effective our garden was. It cost about $250 to start our garden. We grew about $444 worth of produce on our 15 ft by 15 ft plot. So we definitely profited in the end. This year I expect a higher return on our garden since we don’t have to put as much money into our garden. So I am definitely looking forward to a more prosperous summer! I live in a condo and am unable to compost, but would really like some advice on how to improve my soil without having to pay a lot. Compost in the amounts I need can be very expensive. Thanks for the giveaway, I would really like to win some of your famous bean seeds!
We started using old stock tanks last year. Bought gravel and top soil by the ton. Less than $100.
I look forward to getting my garden ready this year and getting hints and tips from your website. Loved the live feed this morning on FB !! Thank you!
I love your blog, and have you set as one of the first pages to come up in my facebook feed because I get so much out of your great ideas and videos! Thank you! My garden has been little so far, so it has only cost me about $30, but we own our own house now, so planning for a larger garden this year. 🙂 With a family of 6, I am so excited to cut down on our food budget!
It all depends, I too am in love with Baker Creek and SeedSaver.org.. But the good news is that I save from those that I do buy.. and share… and trade.
The catalog is like a coffee table book
I really need to figure out out much we spend on our garden- starting this year! We will be tripling the size with raised and regular beds and fencing. I am amazed that you get a years worth of tomato products for your family from 18 tomato plants, we must eat a lot of tomatoes in my house, lol
Love this!! My gardeen was relatively cheap! It is about 10′ x 25′ and I out it in the back corner of my yard! Two edges are fenced by pastures, and the other two sides I stacked cinder blocks with!! I plant flowers in the blocks and it helps keep my dogs out! Found an iron welding project in the shape of a cow at a yard sale for 20$ and it is my pea climber and frames my garden front. Probably used about 30 cinder blocks. Added in some compost from the transfer station for the first year, for probably 30$ and about 10 bags of steer manure. I’d guess first year coat was around 100-150$. Going on Year 4 this year!!!!
Love your site, all the tips, ideas, etc. Thanks so much for everything. Thanks for a hosting the give-away also.
As a visual person I really enjoyed the pictures that were included with this post.
Loved this! Thank you
I have your book and plan to spend more time reading it so I can grow a productive garden. Eventually I want to be raising chickens again. Thankyou for sharing your knowledge and experience. God Bless
Hoping to win!
I spend about $200 per year on plants, seeds and adding additional soil and compost to my raised beds. I have a combination of raised beds, containers and regular garden space. Last year was my first year with saving seeds, 2nd year with raised beds, so I am hoping to reduce the cost of my gardening each year. However, I can’t really give a definite dollar amount to savings, last year was an extreme drought & frequent absences from home at critical times for the garden and the year before I was hailed out. So my fingers are crossed for this year!
We probably spend $200 buying plants and a few seeds for both our veggie/herb garden and our annual flowers and plants. In terms of saving…probably it comes out even since the annual flowers and plants are not producers, though they have great value in the beauty and pleasure they give.
We have a small family farm that supports myself, three children and my parents. Its a similar sized lot to yours and fenced to keep our cows and other animals out. We have slowing been adding raised beds each year. This year we will have 100% raised beds so I’m not sure what the cost has been since we’ve phased it all in. Now I would love to learn about seed saving to become even more self sufficient 🙂
I do backtoedengardening and it saves me a lot of water and no weeding.
I wish I could say I put in a garden….. I try yearly w/ basil and tomatoes….and rarely get a yield. I do, however, do my best to support the farmers’ market(s)…. I’d love to be a good gardener.
I love all your podcasts and posts! You keep me entertained often while washing the dishes. 🙂
I love your podcasts. They are so informative. I am trying to develop a homestead.
This is going to be my first year to try container gardening. I am starting small first to see how I do. LOL
Thanks again for all the information you give.
Great episode with so much helpful information!
Our cost is about $50.00 for seed. Mulch and fertilizer are scrounged.
I’ve loved being a part of Melissa’s site. I have learned so much and look forward to learning more. My husband built me some raised beds a few years ago for Mother’s Day and for me growing in Colorado it was gardening life changing. I’m asking for a new bed this year for my herbs…always something more to do to make my sufficiency better. Thanks for all you do to teach Melissa. Thanks.
I used the old 1×10 boards that came off of the old roof when we reroofed. All that it cost me was the time to remove the nails from the cedar shingles. But I have four beds that are 12x4x10.
I guess I was supposed to put the cost of my raised bed’s. previous, boards and soil…probably around $400.00, my husband’s and sons time My new bed will be a small herb bed will probably be around $75.00.
We usually spend around $100 for our garden and get about that much out of it. I’ve never actually totaled up what we yield. What we love the most is seeing that we can grow even a small amount of food; being able to pick it right from the garden and eat the freshest tasting vegetables.
Each year I buy building material to do something with the garden. Lately, I’ve been planting thing in straw bales. That’s about $80-100/year. This year, our bales stayed intact, so I’m going to try them a second year. But, if that doesn’t work, we’ll buy newer ones. We need netting for some things so that could be a $40 cost. Seeds: about $25 this year, because I have lots of seeds left over from last year. More potting soil for containers, about $20. So approx. $150 more or less.
Thank you so much for this post! We are just getting started on our vegetable garden this year and there is so much to consider! I love your podcasts, keep up the awesome work!
We’re getting ready to put in a new garden but I don’t know the cost yet.
Veronica - hyperbrain.me
I love this post! So nice to see the different options for raised beds with their respective cost + your quick estimate on how much you save. I would also add that the value added is so much more than just dollars, though. The contact with nature, knowing that your food is produced far more sustainably than any organic store bought food and minimizing transport should also be added to that calculation.
You have SO much energy! It seems like every day I see several new videos and others posts that I haven’t seen before. Thank you for sharing your gifts 🙂
We put in raised beds mostly using materials we already have.We did buy the soil though and of course the seeds each year but by far come out ahead not to mention the satisfaction of growing your own food……priceless.
I would say each year we spend approx $50 maybe.
Thank you for the chance!
I estimate that we spent $100 last year in an already established garden. I know we saved that much and more.
Thank you for all the great information.
I’m going to guess my garden costs about 50 a year? It’s hard to say. I have to plant in my basement since I live in a town home. So I bought lights and stands and pots a few years ago, spending about $200 then. And now I have a community garden plot that takes $35 a year plus about $5 to 10 in seeds and transplants. So about 50 between basement lettuce and community garden. 🙂 I really wish I could get better grow stands for the basement though. They’re kind of getting rusty. (I made them from recycled “greenhouse” pipes that shouldn’t have rusted in an ideal world.)
We simply till a large area of our yard for planting and our neighbor provides us with fertilizer, so our only cost is the seeds/plants. I really have no way of knowing how much money we save, but I do know it is nice not having to purchase apple sauce, tomato sauce, and some of our vegetables. Now I want to learn how to save seeds each year so we don’t have to buy so many.
Wow hard to say for sure. We have been in this house for 2 yrs. It came with several fruit trees & a grape arbor. We save a ton of money on fruits. We have 3 apples, 1.5 (one is grafted lol) pears, 2 apricots, 1 loquat, 1 pluot, 1 new plum & a tiny lemon.
We put in 1 raised bed the 1st & 2nd yrs for veggies. I started most of the plants from seed so little oop. I canned a ton of tomatoes, tomato juice & jalepenos. Hoping to get in beans this year. We had cucumbers, bell peppers,& squash too.
I also grow strawberries & several herbs. I have hedges around the property of lavender & rosemary. Every year we are adding a bit more.
I love your podcast! I recently just moved so last summer was my first ‘test’ garden. I probably spent $300-400 between seeds, putting up fencing and adding soil. So far I can’t say I saved too much but I was able to can my own salsa and hot pepper jelly as well as having some fresh peppers, tomatoes and herbs that survived the crazy hot and windy Nevada weather.
I used pressure treated lumber for my raisd garden. It is safe for gardens, but I still don’t completely trust it so I ligned the inside part with polyethelene plastic which helps protect the wood because it’s not rated for ground contact. It also help to keep the humidity in the soil. I also surounded the garden with used patio tiles (free from online adds) and rested the lumber on top of them. That way, the weeds are controled, I have a walkway surounding my garden, and the wood is raised off the ground and protected from moisture. It didn’t cost that much and is holding up quite well (5 years now).
It’s not cheap to start a garden but over a period of years it’s definitely the best investment. I was shocked how much it cost to start my small plot. I’ve discovered seed swapping groups where I can get seeds for free in exchange for seeds from my plants. Creating my own compost helps too, but there’s never enough for my needs. But the gardening community is so helpful to give out tips and ideas on how to make things cheaper and easier. There’s always something new for me to try.
Im moving to the country this year sometime so I wont be able to put up a garden, however, I did want to do straw bale gardening because where im moving the soil is very sandy and the only thing that grows there well is cedar trees and cactus. I have already bought 20 bales @ $3 each so not bad on price. I think i jumped the gun a bit by already buying the bales but I had hoped to move in the fall but I am STILL working on my house. So as soon as it is ready then Im moving! It really is hard to see all the posts, seed catalogs, etc. because I REALLY want to garden 🙂
Great post. I’ve had various gardens for 20 years and have found raised beds work best for me. It was good to see the different types and costs of others. Now I just need to get a greenhouse!
We usually spend about $80 on seeds/plants. I have no idea how much we save, we do it more for the experience & because it is WAY better for you!! 🙂
Love to win the seeds, You give out a lot of good information and for that alone, ,i thank you.
Alyssa Schultz-Van Etten
I spent about $15 for heirloom seeds, already have compost, and am planning on getting a couple of blueberry bushes-probably another $30 or so, all the materials I’ll use for trellising and such will be odds and ends. I’m not sure how much it’ll save my husband and I but I am excited to figure it out!
I’m so excited to try heirloom seeds for the very first time this year! I love your blog!
I’m going to guess our garden saves us somewhere around 4-500.00 in food costs. We have 3 raised beds that we have built over the years and want to add about 2 more this year. We use our grass clippings, ashes from our wood stove, compost, peat moss and newspapers and make layers worth that. 🙂
Love your helpful tips, always have! Great giveaway too.
We probably spend about $50 on our garden. Last year the yield wasn’t good. We had extreme drought conditions. I hope it rains this year.
I recently moved out of a town so I could
have space to garden this year.
I will budget$300. For 2 small raised beds, hope to at least get 400. return.
I’m not sure how much we spend on our garden every year. So far we haven’t saved much, although we do save a bunch with our fruit trees. It was really neat to see everyone else’s gardens.
I only have a balcony garden and what I can grow indoors with grow lights or in windows so I really don’t save a lot really. The initial cost was about 100 for seeds (which I save) a planter and 5 gal buckets. Now the only expense is for new seeds and grow lights as I need them but it is great for learning what I can and can’t grow for when I am in a home with a yard and not in an apartment.
Thank you so much for all you do. We are currently looking for a home with acreage so I haven’t started yet but your blog is so helpful.
I mostly garden in containers and indoors. I have a short growing season, many wild animals, and am plagued by uncontrollable Mormon crickets spring through fall, so I have nothing left to harvest. I have a 5 x 5 x 8 foot indoor greenhouse where I grow most of my herbs and vegetables, year round. I have two four shelf units for smaller plants and grow taller plants in pots set on the floor. I grow tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, pole beans, peas, potatoes, garlic, spring onions, carrots, radishes, asparagus, pickling cucumbers, lemon cucumbers, celery, salad greens, kale, and various culinary and medicinal herbs. I also have miniature lemon, lime, and tangerine trees, a miniature cherry that, so far, doesn’t produce, and a couple of blueberry bushes. I was given okra and beet seeds which I intend to try this year. I, also, want to try a few pie pumpkin plants.
I paid about $100.00 for my greenhouse, another #100.00 for the shelves, and another #100.00 for grow lights. I’ve been trading plants and seeds for years, so no real investment there. I had 1,000 pounds of soil I’d purchased years ago for raised beds, but the crickets I mentioned above nixed that idea. I paid about $50.00 for the soil, if I remember correctly. So, my whole set up cost about $350.00.
I produce enough vegetables and herbs for my use, with some left over for canning and other preservation methods. The only produce I buy are other fruits and occasionally other vegetables.
I want to start a garden and this blog is very helpful in helping to estimate the costs. Thank you!
I spent $91, $300, and $599 the past three years. I track my garden expenses. However, I have no idea how much it saved me, if anything. Last year I bought a broadfork and took a make-and-take class on rain barrels. Not having to pay for city water for the garden helped out a lot last year and the rain barrel will probably pay for itself this year.
thanks for all the great posts, love reading them (and listening to the podcasts)!
I’ve never actually taken the time to calculate our savings, but I know it’s got to be substantial. We only plant things we know we’ll use, large quantities of favorites (potatoes, tomatoes to can, kimchi ingredients, cilantro & green onions) and any waste is fed to our menagerie of critters (bunnies, guinea pigs, duck & chickens), which offsets their fees costs. You’ve inspired me to do the math!
I have garden rats (aka deer), so fencing is a must. I went with electric fencing, Very affordable and keeps the deer out. If i remember correctly, fencing cost about $150 for my 60X50 area. I don’t have raised beds, so no cost there. I did purchase bent cattle panels at 50% off, three for $30. I use the panels for garden trellis. A friend gave me 300 ft. of irrgation hose for free.
With that, We ate fresh, canned or frozen- tomatoes, tomatoe sauce, tomatoe salsa, corn, green beans, butter peas, crowder peas, okra, peppers hot and sweet. Its Feb. and we’re still enjoying our harvest. This season i plan to add beets cabbage potatoes cucumbers and melons.
I spend far more on my garden than is necessary, I always get carried away buying new varieties of seeds and plants but it is worth it for the enjoyment we get from growing and eating our own food.
I have a tiny little garden. I lack it full and we eat fresh onions , kale ,peppers and beans out if all summer long. I call it my apartment garden. I don’t tons of money but I can always pick something fresh for super .
I’m going to be constructing a garden for my elderly parents (trying to encourage them to eat organic!)—this post is so useful and encouraging! Thanks for the photos and case studies, too!
I appreciate the info. However, from having lived in several locales and had gardens in all of them, anybody’s particular area is probably different than anybody else’s. If you really do count ALL costs, including labor, growing a garden is not as cost efficient as going to the grocery store. What you get are all sorts of intrinsics, which can be quite beneficial regardless of actual dollars. Perhaps a good compromise, again taking into account distance and variety, would be a farmers market. Buy bushels of in season items then process and can.
I really like seeing and hearing about all the different gardens and there cost. It’s really interesting to see the different approaches everyone has.
Our garden cost us around $300 in dirt and seeds. Our raised beds were built out of sawmill lumber that was free.
This was an awesome read – I have always wondered what the costs/savings are. I am looking forward to the next part!
I love reading your blog!!! I have learned so much from you!! I hope that I win the giveaway so that I can use the tips about raised beds to then grow your heirloom seeds!
My costs are very low now, since I save seeds. When I first started out with raised beds, I recycled wood and cinder block that were left behind at our house when we bought it. I purchased a compost bin through our city for $5, which included compost starter. I have always saved seeds, and gleaned seeds, starts and such from friends and family. We will be moving to 2 acres soon, so I will keep track of what my new costs will be!
I’m very bad about keeping track of expenses for my gardens (and livestock) so I never really know the true cost of the food we raise.? So I’m really interested in this subject and will be following your posts!
I agree with you,again.
I am going to buy garden mats from gardenmats.com.
So the 48″ X 36′ for $30.00.
I will let you know how they work out.
Loved seeing all of the different raised garden ideas. Very inspiring!
I Love your posts!!! I made perfect homemade sauerkraut and apple cider vinegar this fall. I have fallen behind due to health issues and I ask for prayers for my sister who was in a horrible motorcycle accident yesterday. Your ideas work and your beans I got last year were delicious.
I always enjoy your posts and your videos!
I am still establishing my garden so I am still purchasing seeds and putting in raised beds. I spend about $100 on seeds, dirt, and building supplies each year but am saving seeds and once I get all the beds in my costs should be very low. I have no idea how much I save on groceries. My biggest crops are tomatoes and beans. I might break even right now with my expenses but am hoping to improve as I get more experienced!
i can get my garden in for 100 or less, depending on how much soil enricher I add. My yield last year saved me about 300-400.
I would guess we put in about $50 and get back around $200.
Our last garden produced a of vegetables and herbs. It saved us hundreds of dollars in grocery bills. It would have saved us more if we were more knowledgeable and put more effort into it.
I usually spend about $100 in seeds and soil nutrients to get over $500 in produce. This year, I’m buying some fruit trees. They should pay for themselves in 2-3 years with a good harvest.
We moved last year, so are planning on putting in our first garden at our new house this year. =) Hoping that it won’t cost too much!
We probably spend about $100 on seeds and transplants. We already have a fenced garden area, tools and a tiller. This year I plan to weigh the vegetables so I can get a better idea of how much we save on food costs. I estimate we get $200 or more of food from the garden.
So interesting! We are renting now, so have opted to go with cloth pots (made from landscaping material) and other moveable containers. A big roll of the material was less than $20 — it’s the soil that’s expensive! We do compost but had to purchase quite a few bags of potting soil. I think the next step (in zone 5b) is some sort of inexpensive and portable greenhouse…or perhaps simply making little greenhouse “caps” for each of the cloth pots.
Thanks so much for the very interesting article with lots of photos!
Living in Canada, we (of course!) pay more for seeds. So far, we put out approximately $140 per year on heirloom varieties. We are still in the learning process with saving our seeds, but last year we successfully saved several varieties! With cold room storage available, we are able to save root vegetables and raw fermented food throughout the winter which further helps cut back on costs. We did the math and figured we save $1,500 per year with our garden and home-preserved food.
The lady who does the high performance garden show raised around 3,000 dollars worth of produce! I think it was usin 125 square feet in raised cinderblock beds
Kathy in Idaho
We have been redesigning our raised bed garden for the last 3 years. Our first raised beds were made with landscape timbers, but they gradually rotted out and they also were sinking into the ground. Our latest beds are made with uprights made with some of the best remaining timbers of our first set of beds. He then used corrugated metal sheeting that was screwed into the uprights. He then framed in the top with 2X4s. Unfortunately, the dirt in the beds pushed the corrugated sheets off of the uprights. We’ve been debating on how we should build them now. As far as how much we’ve grown – last year, our garden was not as good as in previous years due to a very cool summer, but we still grew 40 lbs zucchini,4 lbs spaghetti squash, 6 lbs broccoli, 8 lbs peppers, 121 lbs tomatoes,and 34 lbs of green beans.
I put in 8 raised beds with automatic watering. I’m sure it was probably a couple thousand. I could of done it cheaper if I had done more myself but I wanted it done faster. I live in Arizona and the automatic watering is definitely worth it. Oh, and just for your information I live in zone 9b and we can grow cold season crops. We have 2 short growing seasons. The cold season in fall and winter, and the warm season during the spring. For the most part the hottest part of the summer is the rest season, though there are some things that can be grown in the heat like sweet potatoes and Armenian cucumbers.
I always enjoy your post and really liked this one, I am unable to garden to the extent that you are but even I am able to save just on herbs alone I can just step out on my back porch and pick basil and rosemary,oregano and thyme as well as sage. Have you seen the price of fresh herbs in the grocery store? I raise enough tomatoes every year that I do not have to buy tomatoes at all during the summer and late into the fall. Unfortunately because of physical limitations I am unable to grow enough to do much canning of my own home grown vegetables but I watch for sales and I buy a lot of my meat from zaycon and can chicken and ground beef and I make jerky at home for about $3.00 a pound so I figure that I save quite a lot there. I am 66 years old but I am constantly learning new things from you and others and hope that I will always be able to learn and accept new and better ways of doing things. Again thank you I did buy your book “The Made from Scratch Life” and am using it . I am in the process of making apple cider vinegar right now.I have made one batch of sauerkraut and we loved it.I am just beginning to incorporate fermenting but have beeh dehydrating for years . Love your blog and your live training on Facebook.
I purchased your book, Made From Scratch, for my sweet daughter in law at Christmas and she loves it! You two are so much alike, I know if you met each other you would be best friends. How refreshing it is to see godly faithful young women interested in good old fashioned practical ways to raise a healthy family. Keep up the great work!
I am a baaadd homesteader. Our fencing was free once and then my husband used different fencing which cost around 80 dollars –if I recall correctly for a huge 20 x 30 garden. But we didn’t use the whole space because I was constantly in a hurry and it required weeding every 3 minutes. I also would see a sale on seeds and buy them willy nilly. bad. I have since organized my collection of seeds, we have determined what seeds we are actually going to plant, grow and harvest (no more buying if we aren’t planting) and so I will run the numbers at the end of the season. Oh, in addition, he wants to move the garden, so maybe no more fencing since it will be in an area closer to the house.
The only thing I spent last year was $12.00 for seeds and some sweat equity. I have no idea how much I saved. Not much, I wouldn’t imagine since all I have room for is a very small garden.
the better question may be What does it cost to NOT raise your own food?
It would help us so much to win this! Love your website! Thanks for everything!
Great ideas! I have one raised bed and am adding another this year. Last year I had some success with straw bale gardening as well!
This was a great post. I don’t have a cost yet as we have just started. I know I save on everything I plant as a pack of seeds is so much less than buying the produce in the store.
The problem I have is very little space, most things have to be in planters and not a lot of sun. I’m lost on how to make use of my space and what to grow with the lack of constant sun. It’s disheartening for sure.
I am so excited to put in an actual garden this year! I’m sharing my brother’s garden, so the only expense I’ll have is seeds, which I’ve been saving for a few years. So looking forward to putting up my own crops!!
I do a lot of gardening in containers (small space right now) so I’ve never really done any cost estimates. What I do know is it’s much better health wise to grow your own food,
It costs about $50 and saves me about $400
Our total garden costs for last year were $370. It was more than usual because I added a new bed, with cinderblock and new soil. We usually spend $50/year on seeds. This will vary over time, though, as I do save some seeds. We easily grew $425 worth of produce (and I actually kept track last year!), so we came out ahead even on a year where I spent more on infrastructure. I expect our gardening costs to be much less this year, and hopefully a bigger harvest as well. Last year was a terrible year for tomatoes here, and I generally grow enough tomatoes to eat fresh and can enough salsa for a year.
I would think that I save At Least $500.00. I grow a large variety and love to can and freeze. After a trip to the farmers market I go to my garden and start harvesting….and saying out loud “one dollar..one twenty five…seventy five cents..etc as I pick lol. It feels good to grow your own food.
I spend about $20 most years to add more soil to my raised beds. The groundhogs eat the majority of what is grown, but I probably save $30-$50 on food, save seeds to plant and trade, and also make about $100 from selling seeds that I have saved. Maybe someday I will be able to afford to put a good fence around the garden.
I love your podcast, I’ve only been listening about a month but have learned so much already. Can’t wait for the rest of this series.
Our first garden was fenced in, about 100 x 100. Cost was around $500. Too big! Love the photos of the raised beds especially with the one that was totally fenced in and having netting on top. We have just moved to a new place, The South West, very hot & windy at times! But we also have lots of deer so need lots of protecting!
My gardens cost nearly nothing as we used a great deal of reusable materials. I am getting ready to put in a medicinal herb garden so that will cost about $200 for seeds and other materials. I save $$ thousands every year by what I can and dehydrate.
I’ve never done a full garden before but I have grown a few tomato plants. The first one I grew from a tomato that went bad in my fridge and I used the dirt that already was there in the yard. I’ve also purchased bags of garden soil and seeds.
Gardening for me is not cost effective and will not be for a very long time. I’m single, just me to feed. All gardening has to be done in containers or raised beds. Soil must be purchased, raised beds and containers must be purchased. It will take me a long time to recoups costs.
Love all the ideas! You are a true inspiration & I love reading all your articles. Keep em’ coming!
Thank you for all the information. I don’t currently have a garden but hope to start one this year.
I have a huge market garden and try to grow all my own food. I lost a lot last year due to crop duster but hope this year to have enough to can and dehydrate. I save a lot versus going to grocery store.
We moved in the middle of this past summer, so I really didn’t get a garden at either end. But this year, I have big plans! Starting with my husband making a few raised bed boxes to get a small garden in…just some veggies to start. My big plan is to put in several fruit trees. Your post on fruit trees was great – definitely adding a crab apple tree to my plans (crab apple jelly is delicious and easy to make, although it does take quite a bit of sugar). I recommend the book Grow a Little Fruit tree. The author recommends pruning as the best method to keep your tree small instead of using dwarf or semi-dwarf root stock, as they are often not that small and the root stock is not as large and not as capable of providing nutrients, so they may not be as healthy.
I had a small garden a couple of years ago. and it probably cost around a hundred dollars. But I would like to try it again on a bigger scale.
I hope this is where we sign up to win the seeds and a grand prize of the books and gift card. I have not been able to locate any link for the giveaway. Loved your podcast.
I don’t have a garden yet, but the herbs I grow in the summer keep me in Stock all summer long!
Just moved – doing winter sowing & composting
We spent around 300.00 and saved around 500.00. In all honesty, the food tastes SO MUCH BETTER than store bought. We miss our sweet and juicy tomatoes. We’re not only saving monetarily, but we’re getting more nutrients and eating more veggies, getting more exercise and vitamin D. It’s priceless!
Really don’t know at this point how much we spend but I know we save a ton of money. Haven’t bought tomato or pickle products in about a year. Hoping to add to that list this year!!
I garden out of necessity, but seeing all the above options is wonderful. So many different garden ideas! I am learning to dehydrate and can from the garden, even though with a disabled husband and working full time makes gardening and preserving difficult.
I usually spend about $100-$150 on seeds and starts, but what we save is amazing!! We live in a remote area where our groceries are pretty expensive. A lot of times zucchini costs $1.98 in the store. I can buy a packet of seeds for around $3.00 and harvest many zucchini from several plants. There are so many benefits that don’t have a cost value on them….the taste of garden produce (!), the nutritional benefit from eating it straight from the garden, the chance to garden with our little boys and teach them about food/gardening. I love your podcast and website – thanks for all you share!
Not really sure haven’t had much success with a garden for quiet a few years. The last garden we put in was free because people donated the stuff we needed . Wood for the raided beds. Dirt and compost. even the seeds were donated
This is a wonderful post! If everyone just planted a few herbs and veggies they could save hundreds of dollars a year! A small box of herbs in the store can cost up to $5, they are usually easy to grow, prolific, and you get an unlimited supply. Even if you live in a small apartment-you can still start a window box of herbs you frequently use.
I’VE NEVER HAD A RAISED GARDEN SO I DON’T HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT THE COST WOULD BE. I’M HOPING TO GET AN AREA TILLED, FERTILIZED AND PLANTED COME SPRING AS IM ADDICTED TO CANNING AND UNTIL NOW I FREQUENT THE FARMERS MKT.
So far this year I have spent about $65 on seeds. I ordered all heirloom seeds from seed savers exchange and one of the seed suppliers you have recommended (sorry can’t remember the name). Can’t wait to get started. I do not anticipate spending much more and it will save me approximately $600. That is a rough estimate probably more. This will be my 3rd try on a garden. The first one I got enough for the growing season then weeds took over. 2nd time I started too early and my garden drown then scorched and too disappointed to replant even though I had plenty of time.
I did not spend a whole lot on my raised beds. I used repurposed/lightly damaged 2x10x14 heat treated lumber for half off at a box store and the dirt I got in bulk. I did have to purchase the mulch. I got the newspapers and boxes for free (used to put down around the beds to choke out weeds). Had folks save me the newspapers and the boxes you can get from any box store when they are restocking shelves. I get mine from Dollar General. In total I spent roughly $150 to $200. That was 4 years ago (and add a layer of mulch each year). Love your trainings/webinars/blogs and all of the awesome info you provide for us all. I use it every chance I can.
This is super helpful! Its great to know that a garden can pretty much pay for itself in one year. I’m browsing seed catalogues and waiting for spring!
Not sure how long this has been up due to Internet issues but CONGRATULATIONS ON 100 PODCASTS! That’s a big milestone. I for one am so thankful that God put it on your heart to share your knowledge!you are an incredible resource for those of us just starting out! Keep up the great work!
Ahh thank you Amanda!
It costs us about 60 dollars to plant our garden each year. We are just starting to incorporate heirloom seeds. Hopefully we can learn how to successfully harvest our own seeds so we don’t have to buy packets every year!
Gardening helps us to save money, but I’m not sure how much!
My garden last year was very simple – just herbs. It cost me very little – under $10! I got the container for free from my neighbor. It definetely saved me at least $25 from not having to buy any of those herbs over the spring/summer and early fall. This year I’m going to add vegetables to my garden 🙂 Whoohoo!
We put in our garden 5 years ago. The first year it was just fencing, sprinkler, seeds and starts. After that it has been compost, seeds and starts. I am working on starting more of of our starts and finally started composting. We also added raised beds to our large open garden, and wood chips between the beds. Both have helped save a lot of time on weeding! This podcast he me excited for gardening season, it is so close!
I’m not sure. My parents did a garden last year and we didn’t get a large yield. This year may be different. We did get a lot of fruit from a previous owner plantings.
Okay, so I’m a bit of a procrastinator, so it has taken me a while to finally sign up on your website. That being said, I have listened to about half of your podcast episodes in the last 3 weeks…I have been a little bit addicted 🙂 And I just talked to my husband about it and we have decided to put a garden in for the very first time for either of us! We’re very excited, but honestly, I’m pretty nervous about it as well. We live in Virginia and have very clayey soil, so I’m just praying that something (anything!) will grow in it! And I have to say, after all of the podcasts, I am totally coveting your Tarheel green beans! So wish us luck on our heirloom garden endeavor!
I’ve always wanted to try your pole beans! :o)
I would love to try the pole beans if they are available.
We spend around $100-150/yr for seeds, plants, trees, and bushes as we are still working on a small orchard and berry patch. It save us hundreds, if not thousands a year. I only buy peas (any pea growing tips?!), cauliflower, brocolli, and brussel sprouts frozen, all other veggies that are eaten cooked are canned or frozen by us.
Thanks for the great article. I love seeing the pictures of the gardens.
We recently moved from the city to the country, so we will have to start anew this spring, but at our old house we probably spent $100 in seeds and plants then at least another $100 in supplies. My husband had fenced the whole garden area with fencing made from pallet flats he got free from work 🙂 Loved having a constant supply of fresh vegetables! I’m sure we got our moneys worth plus more raising a garden. The kids love it too 🙂
What a sweet giveaway. Thank you!
I hope this is the right place; otherwise, I keep doing something wrong! I am not on my own property. Landlords moved in to a place already partially set up, including the fence around the garden area. Several years ago, they added some 4x8x12″ beds at $78 a pop. I added more beds using old lumber that was just laying around the property = $4 in brass decking screws 🙂
I am like a kid and always buy too many varieties of seeds and too many starts. I far over-estimate the amount of space that I have to plant in and I want VARIETY! Say I spend $50-$75 each year total on organic heirloom seeds and organic starts. Maybe a little more if the beds need to be topped off as we don’t compost here – It goes to the moo cow 🙂 I’m sure I save a net of at least several hundred dollars per year just for me, and I grow things I cannot get in the store.
Think I finally figured it out this year, including adding more trellis to grow things up 🙂
Hope to get a garden in this year. We have been plagued with sickness the last few years. I would be happy to get some non GMO seeds. Love your FB page.
Since I happened upon your site a couple years ago, I am amazed at every turn how much more wealth of knowledge is parted to me. Thank you for your love of God, and caring for his people.
I have never priced out the amount it saves us.. but for example, my kids had apple sauce tonight for snack…. it would have cost about $2 for the apple sauce they had, but for us it was free tonight 🙂
I’m currently doubling my garden size with raised beds and a self-imposed zero-dollar budget. It’s taking awhile, but so far I’ve only bought screws. Everything it saves us in food costs will be “profit”. Plus it saves us thousands of dollars every year in therapy costs. 🙂
I imagine our garden saves hundreds every year in food costs. We can a lot of our produce at then end of the year so it lasts well into winter almost to spring. Still have a small plot but we’re making it bigger every year!
Love your book, podcasts and posts! Would love to win some of your family’s seeds to plant in my three sisters garden this uear
I am new to the homesteading. We are raising goats. We get eggs from a friend. We are planning on putting in a garden. It is a slow process. I love listen to Melissa videos. I have also started using make up from natural sources, also using hair products from natural sources and trying to eat from scratch as much as possible.
I love your post.
I love your podcasts, your live facebook and I absolutely love the book Made from Scratch Life
We haven’t been able to do a garden the last couple years, and never figured out the costs. I’m pretty sure the couple years we did one it cost us more than we got out of it since we had all our start-up costs. Also, living in the city and having to pay for water during a super dry and hot summer didn’t help things.
I love gardening! Would love to try your strain of beans!
I spend around $50. Not sure how much it saves me but I love knowing how my food was grown! That, to me, is priceless!
Thanks, the information was well worth it!
Between adding 10 fruit trees and 2 nut trees, grapes and the garden areas plus fencing to a completely bare 1/2 acre lot we’ve spent about $9,000.00. ?. I can, dehydrate and cook with everything we produce. Best money we ever invested. We’ve also dismantled patio pavers and hauled away for free, haulded off bricks from a dismantled chimney/fireplace. Always on the lookout for free “products” to use in my yard for new garden/flower beds. One man’s junk… ?
As this will be my first year of really making a vegetable garden, I assume it might cost me more to set it up then I might gain (this year). I will keep it small to make sure I don’t overwhelm myself the first year.
Cost to put in garden about 200.00 for raised beds dirt soil amendments. Saved at least that much in first year in tomato’s, green beans.
The pictures give me ideas for things I would like to try. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for doing this great give away!
Lynne Ann Wynns
Love your blog and your videos!
Thank you for sharing all the information you do, and keeping us all encouraged!
Love your site and videos. I have learned so much from them and you. I garden in my local community garden and most years I am amazed at what I can save on my own food budget just from a 4 x 20 foot garden.
Keep up the good work of teaching us how to take care of ourselves and our world.
We save so much money too with our tiny garden! Strawberries alone isn’t cheap and my daughter eats them like candy. It cost us $100 to put our raised beds in and about $40 in seedlings and seeds a year, but they’ve paid us back in dividends! So worth it!
Don’t know how much we save, because growing our own food has such long term benefits it can’t really be measured.
It varies, I always plant to make salsa and other things.
I believe we save between $250 & $350 yearly for the 2 of us. Nothing tastes better than growing your own!!!
I spend usually around $100 to garden but the savings is so much greater when we harvest. I’d say 1000 or more. If I add fruit trees or bushes I spend more. We try to add a few each yr.
The initial garden in 2009 probably cost around $100 because we had no idea what we were doing. I’ve kept it under $50 since then, and once as low as $20. I imagine it’s saved me hundreds.
Thanks for offering the giveaway! I was just looking at my new fence trellis, thinking some pole beans would be good there this year (we’ve grown bush beans in the past).
We save anywhere between $1000 and 1500 depending on the weather and how fast I can and dehydrate!
I spend from $250 to $350 for seeds and plants every year. Have never sat down and figured out how much it saves me every year in dollars. But it sure does save us in taste, nutrition, and health.
I would love to be entered in the seed give away! Thank you so much!
The cost is not my major reason for gardening. I know where my food comes from. I don’t raise a large garden like my parents did when I was young. But we are very busy in the warm months and away from home alot. I do what I can. Thanks for all your information.
Our 40×20 garden typically costs us about $50 in seeds/plants to put in, processing probably under $20 in flats/electricity, etc. I would guess, conservatively – that we get easily AT LEAST $100 in canned produce just between the beans and tomatoes – not to mention there is literally no comparison in taste and health!
I really enjoy reading your blog.
Would love to win the giveaway :). We have tried several different approaches in central IL and like raised beds for lettuce and beans but just regular tilled for the salsa staples and bigger plants like zucchini, kale, and cucumbers. Love your blog and IG 🙂
Oh, gosh, I have no clue how much we’ve spent. Every year, it was a pay-off, except for last year, since our garden just didn’t do well thanks to the weather. At our old house, we spent hundreds, but saved much more. Here, we’ve spent hundreds for sure on set-up, possibly close to $1000… just this year, we ordered over $200 worth of seeds (but then again, that’s partially because we couldn’t harvest any seeds this last year). But our garden is big (right now 40×40, but expanding) and we have a small pumpkin patch as well, plus we’re trying to feed 7 people. But if our garden does well this year, the pay-off will be huge!
I just found you ! I Love you!