How much money does growing your own produce save you?

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I've always enjoyed growing stuff, but I often think about how much money we save by just growing the few things we do at home here. We have herbs, and over summer we had cherry tomatoes and peppers. Cherry tomatoes are pretty expensive here in Japan per punnet, I would say it's about $3-4 per small punnet and we would usually get 2 or three a week at the store, so that's a pretty decent saving on those alone! I'd love to be able to grow more but a lot of space isn't really available to me here right now! One day...it's nice to dream!

What about you? Do you manage to save a bit extra on your household budget as a result of growing your own produce?
 
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Personally, I don't think it saves you any money, that is why I do not do it. Many folks do not count their hourly time, as time invested in working the veggie garden. I buy my produce from Amish, which is cheap.
 
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Not counting time - which doesn't add up to much really once the garden is established - I think overall it does save money. More for people who do a lot of canning and freezing. Don't know how much in dollars and cents. But my relatively small garden fed me something almost every day, plus I have enough chopped frozen tomatoes in my fridge to last me all winter for soup and what not. So...let's say I ate $2.00 worth of produce almost daily for our 4-5 months of harvesting season (my kale and chard survived last night's frost!) that's $250-$300 worth? I love walking out to the garden and picking enough produce to make the bulk of a meal.

Plus I give away tomatoes and extra produce to clients and neighbors when I have it to spare; I don't know how to put a price on that. :)
 
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We have three vegetables gardens, as asparagus bed, and an herb bed. I can and freeze and we rarely buy vegetables (except celery). I've never tried to add up savings since I usually don't know the grocery price of what we grow. I do think our grocery bill would be considerably higher without our home-grown. And the home-grown tastes better, anyway!
Like Beth, we give away quite a bit--especially to the local food pantry--and the enjoyment we get from sharing doesn't have a price!
 
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Next year my asparagus bed will be three years old, so I can start harvesting asparagus. I eat it almost daily when the local asparagus hits the stores so I know for sure that's going to save me a bunch right there!
 
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Such a timely subject! I was reading up on canning last night for future projects. I don't have a garden now because I live in the city but I plan on moving to the country in the next couple years and having a large garden. My intention is to grow large amounts of veggies for canning for emergencies and being more self sufficient in general. I don't think a productive garden is a free thing (that may not make sense, I know). You don't just pop some seeds in the ground and let nature take it's course. There are garden tools, ties, wire, stakes, fertilizer, pesticide (organic or otherwise), seeds or seedlings (depending on how you are starting), materials and equipment for freezing / canning (basic pressure canner from Walmart runs $80). No matter where you live you will have to water and unless you have your own well, water isn't free. Even if you have your own well, it takes electricity to run the pump so watering would add to your energy bill (not much, but it is an addition).

That all being said, does a gardener actually care about such things? Can you put a price on the therapeutic value of spending a Saturday morning working in your garden? Is there a price point knowing you are eating something that is fresh and you grew yourself? Can you put a dollar value on the knowledge that if the s**t hits the fan you are prepared to feed yourself and your family?

To some it's a hobby, to others it's a way of life. I would be surprised if there was anyone who puts in a garden with the primary intention to try and save a few bucks.
 
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Comparing prices to the grocery store and adding in the cost of growing, I think I save quite a lot. For instance. Here sweet corn averages about 5 ears per dollar during the season. I normally harvest around 750 ears per year. I freeze the ears in the shucks and make cream corn out of the rest. Tomatoes are about $.79 per pound. I usually grow about 130 plants and harvest on average about 15 lbs per plant. I eat so many I get tired of them and can, sauce and salsa or give away the rest. Green beans cost about $.89 per can at the store. I can at least 150 cans per year. Peppers cost anywhere from $.79 per pound for jalapenos to $.99 each for large bell peppers. I haven't a clue how many peppers I grow but it is significant. Add in Okra, squash, herbs, spinach, beets etc. and you start to see that the money adds up. The costs? Fertilizers, soil amendments, pesticides and incidentals such as seeds costs in the neighborhood of $150-$250 per year. My drip system initially cost about $200. It is going on 8 years old and I spend about $35 in maintenance per year. The size of the garden makes a big difference. The larger it is the less expensive it costs per pound of product per sq. ft. as compared to buying from a store. But for me it isn't about the money. It is about getting the absolute best tasting and healthiest produce one can have. I don't have to worry about chemical residues or E-Coli or salmonella or any carcinogens in what I eat, unlike from the grocery store where your produce is like a box of chocolates..................you never know what you're going to get
 
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Do you calculate the cost of the electric for the freezer, the cost of freezer bags, your time etc. cost of the jars for canning, etc. etc. I know you can use jars over and over again. The cost of the freezer to buy it, in the beginning?
 
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I think @Java Guy said it best in his last sentence. :)

Anyhow, for me (I haven't canned anything in many years) the costs are negligible. I very rarely watered this year because we had a pretty rainy growing season. Anyhow my monthly water + sewer charges are only about $35. My fridge is a large side-by-side so keeping the freezer full is probably more efficient and freezer bags (or reusable containers) are cheap...and I am old enough to remember when freezer bags didn't even exist; my mom would re-use milk cartons and such for freezing.

My vegetable garden isn't huge and some of it is in straw bales. I didn't buy any fertilizer or compost or anything this year, I used what I had left over from last year and ditto for the tomato cages. Plus early this year I started a compost pile so hopefully I'll have plenty for next spring.

I don't calculate my time spent in the vegetable garden (which isn't that much anyway) as an expense any more than I calculate other things I do and enjoy - working in the yard in general, cooking, etc. I have a friend who went on a canning tear this fall; she bought all sorts of produce directly from a small farm nearby. She is loaded with tomato sauces, salsa, relish, pickles, tomato jam, apple butter, squash...and best of all she's given me quite a bit! :) Her tomato jam is spectacular.
 
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I think @Java Guy said it best in his last sentence. :)
Yep, Beth, that would be about right. The main question from amelia88 is how much money does growing your own save you? In general she would have to look at everything to determine that answer. freezer cost, baggie cost, time (away from other things cost) and compare it to buying on sale from a store or, an Amish stand in the local area.
I recall couple years ago, wanting to make my roasted red pepper sauce for the freezer. Yes, got a great deal on the red peppers from the Italian Market, a whole bushel for $5.00. But the time to make the sauce, the cleaning of the peppers, the laying them on the cookie sheet, the cost of the wax paper, then the time to peel away the roasted part, then the pureeing them, then the containers for freezing, then the time to clean up after. Electric to roast in the oven. It took me a good 4 hours that day. So if I am saying my time is worth $25.00 an hour, that cost me on top of every thing $100.00 to make 8 cups of roasted red pepper sauce.

As far as my many gardens, they re a hobby period. LOL, don't even want to go there, LOL.
 
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Sadly, I am not saving nearly as much money as I'd like to. I do not grow as much food as I'd like to either. I save money mainly on fresh herbs, which works for me because I am constantly cooking. I love to cook with fresh herbs rather than dried. My fresh basil is a lifesaver for me!
 
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We have a large garden and have saved a LOT of money on produce. For me it's a hobby cuz I love doing it BUT it also cuts our food bill and that is very important for us. For example I'm starting onions for the first time. Looking at the price of say white onions in our market here at at least $1.65 per pound, and a reasonably sized white onion then becomes almost $2 for one onion (and we use onions a lot), well it's easy math. Same with garlic - not very good garlic at 50 cents a head, and we use a full head every 2-3 days. Asparagus, crappy tasting tomatoes, any kind of greens for a dollar a small bunch, same with parsley, green onions, lettuce, a dollar for a bell pepper, and so on. Same thing with buying bread vs baking your own for that matter. Huge difference in price but especially taste and health.
 
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It is ironic that we pay people to clean our garden particuarly the extended garden located in the vacant lot beside our property. And when you compute the amount of expenses, that will definitely be over and beyond the financial value of our harvests. So it is clear that our objective in maintaining the gardens is for fun and contentment and not for profit. It is sheer joy to harvest fruits and vegetables that you have planted. And they seem to taste more delicious.
 
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I don't have a food garden anymore since squirrels, wild rabbits, and cats destroyed it these past two years, but I don't think I can save any money growing my own food. I have a very tiny space to grown, and I kept basil and other herbs in pots along the side of my house.
 
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I don't have a garden, so there are many fruits and vegetables I can't grow:( However, I save some money thanks to my indoor plants.
Currently, I grow a lot of sprouts, herbs and wild strawberries. They make a yummy snack.
 

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