How Much Money Can a Small Garden Save You? An Update

How much money can a garden save you

This is an update on a post I published over a month ago when I thought my plants were done producing. Guess what? They weren’t done! And I’ve saved more than I thought initially! I’ve updated all the prices to reflex my bumper crop ūüėȬ†

Remember when I thought I couldn’t grow anything. Remember?! REMEMBER?! Well, I am beyond excited to report that my brown thumb has turned green, ya’ll. And today is your lucky day because I have a run down of the costs of my garden and, AND the cost if I simply went out and purchased the food. I am on fire.

Price of Seeds Cost at CSA* or Harris Teeter Amount Produced Price if purchased
Heirloom Tomatoes ($1.79) (unavailable at Home Depot, link to similar product) $2.99 (for 2)* 53 $79.24
Squash ($1.35) $2.99 (for 2)* 0 $0.00
Zucchini ($1.19) $2.99 (for 2)* 16 $23.92
Bell Peppers ($1.59) $1.99 (for 2)* 133 $132.34
Banana Peppers ($1.59) $0.43 151 $64.93
Onions ($1.59) $1.27 2 $2.54
Pumpkins ($1.43) $6.99 3 $20.97
Cucumbers ($1.35) $0.79 21 $16.59
Sunflowers ($1.35) $2.29 7 (about 2 cups) $2.29
Brussels Sprouts ($1.59) $3.49 0 $0.00
Potting Soil (used sparingly to start seeds, previously purchased) $0.00
Gloves and a trowel (given as birthday gift) $0.00
Plow (borrowed) $0.00
Fencing to keep out critters ($34.97)
Garden Safe Insect Killer  ($5.79)
Garden Safe Fungicide ($5.47)
Miracle-Gro Shake ‚Äėn Feed Fruits and Vegetables Granules¬†($12.47)
A cucumber plant when my other cucumber plants died (gifted from my FIL) $0.00
Total Spent Total Produced (plus tax) Total Savings
$78.56 $366.82 $288.26

Additional Notes:

Garden Start Up Costs
I kept my start up costs very low. I didn’t create raised beds and my garden was by no means
“pretty.” I can’t keep up with Martha here. This isn’t rural New England!

Quite a few people around the blogosphere make a big deal about the start up costs of gardens. There’s very low start up costs if you keep it low. And yes, there is no guarantee that anything will sprout (just look at my squash!), but if you are successful, growing a garden can be a fun way to save on grocery costs.

Store Pricing
I used my CSA’s veggie pricing when available because I think it more accurately reflects the pricing of local produce. When not available, I used the pricing of a local grocer, Harris Teeter. (Yes, I know veggies might be cheaper somewhere else, this is just a good estimate, ya’ll!)

Novice Gardener
I think it’s also important to note that I am totally a beginning gardener. This is my first time keeping anything alive– including houseplants! I know there will be bad years and good years, but I believe with experience my vegetable gains will increase, thus increasing my savings.

The time factor
Yes, growing a garden (even a small one, like mine) takes time. Most weekends I was out there pulling weeds. I watered the plants almost every day (unless it rained). P.S. We have well water, so there was no cost for the water. But growing something, ANYTHING, keeping it alive, then eating something I grew with my own two hands has been one of the most rewarding things that I have ever done. EVER! And that includes getting my Master’s degree.

Have you ever planted a garden? If so, were you successful? Do you think it saved you money? Did you make an insane chart like I did? Let me know in the comments!


12 thoughts on “How Much Money Can a Small Garden Save You? An Update

  1. Auntie Dini

    Melanie, you are inspiring! I had long ago given up on raising veggies and only grew flowers. I will give it another go next Spring. Thank you!

  2. Stephanie R

    Google how to make your own seed tape. It is soooooooo easy!! You use toilet paper, and length-wise cut two long strips, then fold it in half, set the seeds in the fold the correct distance, and you then fold the tissue over. You see the tape by combining one part water with two parts flour. Mix thoroughly. Add flour to the mixture until it has the consistency of white glue. Let it dry, laying it flat and you have seed tape!! And start your seedlings in paper egg cartons too with good potting soil. You will get better and better each season. Also learn about what flowers to grow near your veggies to naturally help deter bugs. And if you plant cucumbers, by are there some awesome recipes for refrigerator pickles!

  3. Emily

    Novice first time gardener here…I began my front yard raised garden beds last spring…NO I did not know ANYTHING about gardening…so I “youtubed” like crazy…and just prayed and threw seeds in the garden beds…My garden grew like CRAZY!! I had zukes, watermelon, chard, okra, strawberries. I had a BALL!!! AND I met alot of my neighbors as they would stop to comment and give me tips!! I had soo much produce until I was giving it away….AND CAN YOU BELIEVE my garden was soo successful until a local radio garden show featured my garden???? Isn’t that totally wild!!! Anyway since God blessed my summer garden so well I decided to plant a winter garden..and it is doing FABULOUS…I have lettuce, kale, collard grees all growing away…the whole thing just blows me away………………………….
    I have saved ALOT of money on groceries from eating from my garden. I did spend a bit on the raised beds as they are made up of corrugated metal but they will last forever…

    1. melanie Post author

      So glad your garden flourished! I might do raised beds next year to see if I can improve my yield, but I’m happy with my overall results.

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  5. Robin

    I know this is an old post, but I have something important to say! One of the most delicious parts of the squash plant is the leaves, and it’s a damn shame they are not more popular.

    1. Stephanie R

      That is so awesome! The health benefits alone make it worth it. I have read that veggies lose over 30% of their nutrition within a day after picking, so you are also getting more nutrition per bit. Heirloom veggies are also an awesome way to go. Example: regular tomatoes only have approx. 60% of the nutrition they used to have, so a person can be consuming a lot of calories but not be getting adequate nutrition and that adds to overeating. Heirlooms have more nutrition. There is also a video you can watch online and it is free. it is called, Back to Eden. If you are not Christian, just ignore that part, but the info is amazing on how to grow things better. So well worth watching.

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