Thursday, September 5, 2013

How Much Does a Garden Grow: August 2013

If you've been wondering where I've been this week, I've been updating my garden spreadsheet.  With pages and pages of handwritten harvest notes, it took some time to quantify the bounty of August.

The garden became profitable during the first week of August, and we ended the month in the black by over $300.  This means that, had I purchased all the produce I have harvested this year so far at a grocery store, I would have spent $595.47.  Even with the $278.70 expenditure on garden seeds and supplies in the tally, I have thus far carved $316.77 off the household budget.

Some highlights of the month:

  • Even with this being a fairly mediocre tomato year due to the cool, wet summer, I still show all of my tomato varieties to be profitable, with each variety producing more in retail value than I spent on the plants.  The big producers for August were the Italian (168 ounces) and Big Daddy (114 ounces), although the Brandywines and Ox Hearts appear poised for a later showing.
  • This has been a fantastic cucumber year!  Through August, I harvested 1216 ounces (76 pounds), for a total harvest of $195.43 in value.
  • Zucchini have also been wonderful, with a harvest of 594 ounces (37.125 pounds) and a value of $124.74.  In fact, the garden would have been profitable with these two crops alone.
  • Basil was another important crop, with 49 ounces worth $49 coming in through the end of August.  As I mentioned previously, I am now comparing my basil prices to what it would cost to buy fresh basil leaves at the local market.
  • In lesser crops, August saw the harvest of our first apple from our dwarf trees.  It also saw us harvest a few ears of corn, which were yummy until the squirrels started beating us to them!
  • The butternut squash harvest finished up at 177 ounces (9.188 pounds), a value of $33.63.

September is starting with robust harvests as well, so we are nowhere near done with our total garden profit.  I'm so happy that this year has been so much better than the past two with their heat waves and drought.

Finally, you may wonder why I am comparing my prices to retail rather than farmers' market prices, which can sometimes be lower.  This year, I am achieving some consistency by taking only retail store prices in an attempt to demonstrate how much money I save by avoiding the stores for my produce purchases.  You can assume that, had I instead purchased all of this produce at a farmers' market, I would still be in the black, but not by quite as much.  So, even if you don't garden or don't garden extensively, you can still save money by buying direct from the producer.

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