Greenbacks in The Garden

Reader Contribution by Greg Carbone and Backyard Farmer
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Much of the interest in edible gardening comes from the enthusiasm over growing one’s own healthy produce in one’s own yard. This backyard farmer and blogger could not agree more. It is wonderful to have your own little (or big) farmers’ market right outside your door.

This season, I found another great reason to get excited about backyard edible gardening. It happened on a rare trip to the local organic food store to buy some heirloom tomatoes. We needed some extras for a big salad we were making and the garden did not have enough available. When I got to the store my eyes almost fell out of my head. Organic heirloom tomatoes were “on sale” for $4.99 a pound! They were normally $6.99 a pound! When did this happen? We hardly ever have to buy produce and we never buy tomatoes from the store (almost never). Just a few large tomatoes would have cost over $16! Needless to say, our salad recipe had to be adjusted so it would not require so many tomatoes.

All was not lost though. That tomato sticker shock moment intrigued me enough that I began to look around the store some more. How much was organic kale? $2.99 for a small bunch!

As soon as I got home, I started to make rough calculations on certain crops from our backyard edible garden. If organic kale is $2.99 a bunch than we have more green than the Federal Reserve! Our 2014 kale crop alone weighs in with a few hundred dollars of delicious goodness. The heirloom tomato numbers are even more impressive. Our large heirlooms are all nearly 1 pound each. Even at the “on sale” price that is quite a bit of money we are saving.

Next season I plan to keep much closer tabs on the financial output of our crops. We do not grow our own produce for profit, but we certainly enjoy saving money. You do not need a farm grow enough produce to save money either. Small gardens and/or containers can yield impressive amounts of delicious edibles!

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