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Yes, we had a garden in '08 and it did pay for itself, when you figure in the cost of the seeds and the canning supplies. But oh, the labor! I work from home, so I had the time (and no kids, either yet). But my back hurt a lot, and I spent hours cooking pasta sauce in a hot kitchen. We grew mostly tomatoes and peppers. Tomatoes went towards sauce or salsa and peppers just got frozen.
It's quite a toss up, because canning jars are about $1 each if buying new, and you often can buy prepackaged canned goods for that price or less, and you don't have the added expense of seeds, nor time and labor spend tending plants. Plus the increase in water bill.
With that said, I'm planning a garden that will be twice as large this year as last, and will can and freeze much more. Most gardeners do it for the flavor, not the "savings". I recommend you look up the book, "The $64 tomato." It is a really good read, and talks about the trials and tribulations of home gardening.
I garden, but i do it more for the fresh foods through the summer, it cuts down that bill big time in the summer. then it isnt much labor after its planted to go out and grab something to eat that night for dinner. we usually do peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, zuccini, squash, onions and potatos
I plant a garden, mainly for flavor, but it does cut our grocery bill a little bit. Unfortunately, I have a really small back yard, so I can only plant a few tomato plants, a few pepper plants, and one zucchini (which is, btw, the easiest vegetable in the universe to grow and it will give you so many that your family will be begging you to never make it again by the end of summer ).
We do just because we like to grow our own food. We use drip irrigation so the weeds actually don't get too bad and it really isn't much maitence one the irragation system is in. We add compost every year and thats about it. We have never tried canning or freezing though I've thought about it. Sounds like its a lot of work!
We have strawberries, green onion, several varities of lettuces, and various herbs that grow throughout the year. For summer crops we grow cantelope, squash, pumpkin, tomatto, jalapeno, and bell peppers.
for spring right now I have peas, spinich, and broccli.
We also have 13 fruit trees. Currently we are getting oranges. Throughout the spring, summer, and fall we get apples, pears, plums, necterines, and peaches.
new that we plan on planting in the spring: blueberry bushes! I'm really excited about these though I hear its hard to keep the birds away.
I did a garden for the first time last year. Before that, I never had a place to garden. I planted several variety of tomatoes, sweet potatoes, cucumber, carrots, 2 types of bell peppers, banana peppers, corn, sunflowers, onions, pumpkins, and watermelon. I canned a bunch of salsa this year, and that's it from the garden. But, peaches went on super sale per bushel, so we canned about 6 dozen of those, and the apple trees around here were bursting at the seams, so we canned about 3 dozen apples, and 2 dozen apple pie fillings. My MIL has canned her whole adult life, so I only had to buy about 3 dozen jars and the peaches. Overall, it was a good investment.
The great thing about this area, is that I never did anything to the garden after I planted the seeds. Mother Nature took care of everything herself.
Wendy, Mom to
Kyron, Porter, Donovan, & Jocelyn
I garden! I am also helping to start a community garden at our church this year where people can come and have a garden if they don't have enough room. I am doing 3 plots at church (2 are the church plots) plus a large garden in our back yard. I'm super excited! I also buy fresh fruits/veggies by the bushel from our local farmer's market and freeze/can with my mom so that we both have enough to last throughout the winter. I think the last time I've seen her with a purchased canned good was when I was 12.
__________________ Joanna wife, mother, blogger, support group leader, perpetually behind on laundry
I've just put in two large planter beds with strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, leeks, celery, cabbage, rhubarb, rosemary and garlic. Once you get all set up, buy all the plant food etc that you'll need, I guess it would be cheaper but it doesn't really feel like it at the moment! The wood I brought for the planter boxes cost more than what our grocery bill is in a month!! I love growing all my own food though - I know where it's from and what was put on it, plus it has no 'food miles' on it and I'm sure it'll work out cheaper in the long run.