If you’ve been reading this blog for very long at all, you’ll know that we had a garden this summer. It was the first time we did one. Well, the first time we did one right, anyway. We planted carrots, zucchini, and tomatoes. The tomatoes were from starters we got from the farm store; the carrots and zucchini were from seed.
I was in love with idea of growing our own food. And believe me, I still am. The idea of working the ground (within reason – I wouldn’t want to be a farmer, but a summer garden is cool) and eating the toils of your labor is awesome to me. But I don’t know if we’ll do it again. As long as we’re living in the city, anyway. Here’s why.
1. The cost to output ratio. Our water bill roughly doubled this summer, and we honestly didn’t get that much produce for the cost. We could have saved a lot of money by just buying our zucchini and tomatoes.
2. (And this is related to #1) Not enough output. I don’t know if we did something “wrong” or what, but we did not have the “you’ll be giving zucchini to your neighbors because there’ll be too much for you to eat” experience. We only got one or two fruits per week. I had high hopes for canning tomatoes and making homemade tomato sauce with the fruits from our 4 tomato plants (2 cherries and 2 beefsteaks), and there were barely enough for tacos. Definitely not enough to can. We had about a dozen cherry tomatoes a day that were ripe and one or two beefsteaks every couple of weeks. I don’t know if this is a normal experience, but it was what we found.
Now, I’m not going to say that the garden experience left a bitter taste in my mouth (pardon the pun), because it was really fun going out every day and picking the cherry tomatoes and sharing them with the kids (Small Fry in particular loved them!). And whenever there was a zucchini or big tomato ready, it was practically a celebration. But I do have to weigh the cost/benefit, and based on this year, I’m not sure it’s worth it. Maybe next year we’ll do something different, or maybe we’ll try the same crops again, or maybe we’ll just save the money on the water bill and buy our produce. I can’t rightly say. All I know is that it’ll have to be something we think heavily about before doing again.
What’s your experience with gardening? Has it been worth it for you?