How much money do you save by growing your own food?

I Googled the topic, and there are so many ways people use to calculate this, it’s difficult to comprehend. Plus there are so many variables that the answer just isn’t simple. Are you planting from seed, or planting seedlings? Do you buy seeds or save seeds? Do you have to buy soil amendments? Do you pay for your water, or does your water come from a well? Do you already own the garden tools you need? Can the items you already eat the most of be easily grown where you live? Do you buy lots of chemicals to help increase your yield?

What was pretty consistent in my research was a list of which produce is commonly most expensive to buy. While cost varies widely by the region where you live and how far away that food is grown, growing these items yourself can be the most “profitable” if you grow them yourself:

  • lettuce and spinach are great spring and fall veggies that are big money savers when you grow your own

    Lettuce (especially leaf lettuces)

  • Cilantro
  • Chives
  • Dill
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Garlic
  • Basil
  • Leeks
  • Red Onions
  • Spinach
  • Summer Squash
  • Carrots

To the above common list, I’ll add


I have grown many types of produce that I won’t grow again because of the work involved in harvesting them, preparing them or the fact that it’s cheaper – in one way or another – to buy them. I’m not a fanatic when it comes to eating only organic; I simply see no reason to put complex chemicals and pesticides on my food plus I know where MY hands have been before they touch my food. It astounds me that so many people get sick and even die every year just from innocently eating spinach or peanuts infested with deadly bacteria.

That said, I buy corn and melons at a local farmer’s market because in the same space I can grow lots more produce with a more abundant yield per square foot. I also am no longer willing to shell black-eyed peas, so I buy them at the farmer’s market too. I don’t like butter beans and since I’m the gardener, I don’t grow them. Same with rutabagas.

I don’t spend money on fertilizers because I’m a devoted composter. My food scraps, peelings and even paper towels and the like go in a compost bag in the kitchen that I throw in the compost bin every day.

Since we live in the country, it’s a long way to go to the grocery store for what I need, so I’m saving a fair amount on gas by walking 50 feet out the back door to harvest my salad. The garden also saves me a fair amount on what a gym membership would cost.

(Who am I kidding? I wouldn’t go to a gym if it was free. Actually I wouldn’t go if they paid me.) So working in the yard and garden, plus walking the dog, is all the exercise I get.


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