The Return on Investment of Gardens

Updated on August 22, 2019
Kimberly FIRE profile image

Kimberly believes that by combining simple living with investment income, everyone can escape the rat race sooner than 65.

Growing food in your garden can lead to a great return on investment—here's my harvest for a single week.
Growing food in your garden can lead to a great return on investment—here's my harvest for a single week.

An Introduction to Cheap, Lazy Gardening

I’ve been gardening for around two years now. I still consider myself to be a beginner gardener, because I’ve always had a cheap, lazy approach to gardening.

I don’t measure the pH of my garden, I don’t pay too much attention to the seasons. (Except winter, of course. It freezes here.) I don’t routinely prune my plants or rotate crops to maintain soil health.

I spend maybe 20 minutes a week in my garden, mostly to pick ripe fruits and vegetables and plant new ones. Even with all this, I consider myself to have been fairly successful and would like to share my experiences with other beginner gardeners.

My Gardening Setup

My garden consists of two beds: one raised and one not. They’re around 3–4 feet wide and 12 feet long.

The raised garden bed was made from old wooden fence posts I got for free on Craigslist. The non-raised bed was just dirt that I added some homemade compost to. It was originally a placeholder for some plants so that I could get a couple of raised beds in, but eventually it became so successful that I decided to leave it.

For irrigation, I use a drip system with an Orbit timer, a Y splitter, an old hose with holes drilled in, and a Rainbird drip system. Moving forward, however, I’m going to skip the Rainbird drip irrigation system and instead just use hoses with holes drilled into them. I found that the Rainbird drippers would clog up because of the hard water in my area, and I feel like I’ve spent too much time and money replacing them. Eventually, I removed a majority of the drippers and drilled holes directly into the 1/4 irrigation hose instead.

Total Cost of the Items I Used

  • Orbit Timer: $25

  • Y Splitter: $10 (Not strictly needed, but I use one.)

  • Old Hose: It was free, but you can buy a cheap hose for around $10–15.

  • Rainbird Drip Irrigation Kit: $26 (You can use the hose instead.)

  • Power Drill: I already had one.

I have my timer set to water every six hours for 30–40 minutes.
I have my timer set to water every six hours for 30–40 minutes.

Watering Schedule

I think I might be watering more than normal people, but it seems to be doing OK. I have my timer set to water every six hours for 30–40 minutes. I live in a hot desert climate, and 100°F days are normal in the summer.

Rain Bird DRIPPAILQ Drip Irrigation Repair and Expansion Kit
Rain Bird DRIPPAILQ Drip Irrigation Repair and Expansion Kit

I know this says Repair and Expansion Kit, but this is the one I bought and it has everything you need.

 

The Seeds

Here’s the exciting part. You can buy seeds from other gardeners or websites. They’re not too expensive, ranging from $1–2 dollars typically.

However, you can get many more seeds for way cheaper. This special seed bank is called the grocery store! I’ve had massive success buying fruits and vegetables from the grocery store, then planting the seeds. My favorites are tomatoes, green onions, cantaloupe, potatoes, and lots of different squashes.

One butternut squash has dozens of seeds, and then you can have an abundance of butternut squash for months! Same goes for tomatoes and cantaloupes. You only need one to get a huge garden started.

One butternut squash has dozens of seeds, and then you can have a bunch of butternut squash for months!
One butternut squash has dozens of seeds, and then you can have a bunch of butternut squash for months!

The Return on Investment of a Garden

As mentioned before, I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. Growing your own food provides a couple of different returns:

  1. You’re more likely to eat it if you grew it.
  2. You now don’t have to buy as much food.

For example, I can go to Trader Joe's and buy a butternut squash for around $2. That same butternut squash—although this will take a few months to grow—will produce literally dozens of butternut squash. I have around four plants (exact number not known since my plants are all tangled up), but I counted 10 almost-mature squash, with around 10 more small squash currently growing. Over the season, I’ll have around 20 squash from four plants. If I were to buy those squash in the store, that would be a cost of $40 dollars.

Similarly with the cantaloupe, those seeds were planted from one I purchased at a grocery store in April. Since the beginning of August, I’ve been able to pick around two or three cantaloupe a week.

They’re usually around $2 dollars each in grocery stores, and I counted 30 fruit. There were around 10 plants, although I didn’t count since they just popped up in my compost pile. I decided to leave them to grow. The full 30-fruit harvest would cost $60 in the store.

However, I didn’t plant all my plants from seed. I was walking through Home Depot in June and found a six pack of crookneck squash plants for $3. I could have purchased the seeds for $1–2 dollars and then germinate them myself. But by buying the plant, I was able to save at least two to three weeks of growing time. That means two to three weeks of more production. I quickly bought them and now they produce 3–4 lbs of squash a week.

They usually go for around $1.29/lb at my grocery store (the straight neck variety, but close enough). To date, I’ve harvested 23 yellow squash, averaging 0.5 lb (so they don’t become tough) for a total of 11.5 lbs, which adds up to almost $15 dollars at the grocery store.

A Rough Estimate of My Savings

I could go on and on about my garden and my plants. But if I had to give a rough estimate on the savings my garden has provided this year, it would be around $200. With the cost of the timer and all the other supplies to be around $65, that’s a return of 308% in one year!

Next year would likely be even better, since I won’t have to worry about those start-up costs. You won’t get that sort of return from any other investment, and the year’s not even over yet.

What ROI has your garden provided? If you’re an experienced gardener, I’d love to hear tips on how to make my garden more productive.

I have already seen a 308% return on investment in my garden for the year, and the year's not even over yet!
I have already seen a 308% return on investment in my garden for the year, and the year's not even over yet!

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://dengarden.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)