Monday, April 20, 2009

Spring has sprung, and so have sprouts!

Vegetables are one of those things that elicit 2 types of reactions: yum and yuck - mostly dependant on your age group. If you are one of those people who likes to serve veggies to your spouse, your kids, yourself and pretty much anyone else that comes along, try growing a few. I planted a few things in my flowerbed right along with my flowers last year and had a great return. For instance I had 3 grape tomato plants, that probably cost about $2.50 each, but it yielded at least 600 tomatoes over the course of about 3 months. Now, in the grocery store a pint of conventional grape tomatoes is about $2.50, and the organics are about $4. Each pint is worth about 40 grape tomatoes. So, let's do the math:
  • 3 plants at $2.50ea yielded 600ish tomatoes = 200ish per plant (.013 each tomato, about 16 per week for 3 months in the summer)
  • 1 pint at $2.50 = 40 tomatoes (.063 each tomato)
  • A tomato plant in the Southern US will yield fruit for about 3 months
  • 1 pint of tomatoes a week for 3 months = $30
  • 2 plants that produces for 3 months = $5.00

You can save about $25.00 by having 2 plants that produce during the summer, plus you make your plants as organic or not organic as you want depending on the water and fertilizer you use. If you want to go even cheaper, plant the tomatoes from seeds inside about 4 weeks before the last frost - then you get probably 20 plants for about $1.50 - you'll be giving away tomatoes! Or better yet, let your kids open up a front yard produce stand and you can sell the surplus and teach your kids about money. I personally also planted basil, rosemary, parsley and oregano in my flowerbed because the cost of 1 plant is generally equal to the cost of 1 of those little plastic prepaks of the same herb, so if I just use each plant one time I'm even, if I use it twice or more, I'm saving money already. And as an added bonus, my rosemary, parsley and oregano have survived the winter to give me a second year of fresh herbs!!!

This year, I have also planted green beans, broccoli, mixed lettuce, greeen leaf lettuce, spinach, green onion, chives, cilantro, and bell peppers. My husband is going to till up a portion of the backyard so I can have a small garden to work with the kids. We'll both be learning this year, but I think it's a good lesson for both them and me. If you can't have a garden due to space and or time, go for just a couple of herbs in some flowerpots, they'll be easy to maintain, and give you lots of savings since fresh herbs are so expensive anyway - more bang for your buck

PS - If you're local, I'll be happy to give you some clippings of my own herbs for you to root and grow yourself. I'll also share a few sprouts if you want to pot something.

***If you feel intimidated by the thought of 'gardening', please don't. It is not that hard - but start small. I think most people feel like failures over this because they start too big or too complicated. Find something you like - maybe tomatoes and green beans and just plant 2 of each to start. Next year, you can go onto some more adventurous stuff. You need the encouragement of having a few plants do well in order to gain the confidence to work with many.

1 comment:

StephG said...

We seriously need to live closer...hehe :D