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I have seen others write answers to this question of savings, but I think we forget the factors involved in determining costs, but the question came back to me with a statement from my wife.

My wife asked today if I could dig up part of my raspberry vine to give to her sister. I almost wanted to laugh at her, since she almost told my son to rip the plant out about a month ago, because she decide that it was a weed. Over the course of this month, she has come to really value this weed; especially after a trip to a grocery store. She discovered that a package of berries was selling for $5 (and those packages are not too big). My children have been harvesting each day (the girls have informed me that my hat makes for the perfect harvesting aid for carrying the berries). Today, as we were picking, my wife kept chiming “$5…$6..$7″; we did harvest quite a bit.
    This caused me to pay attention to other prices. Loquats were nearly $7 per pound, and I have been getting more than what I know what to do with. With the loquats and raspberries, I feel that I really did come out ahead. I did not water them much, and I did not do anything special for these plants. I do not fret over them like some other plants, like my squash or tomato plants, so the production cost was virtually zero. With other vegetables this is not the case. I spent moeny on the seeds, some organic fertilizer, and water. To really calculate cost, I would have to measure how much was used, what the cost of that would be, and then how much was produced. I would then have to include incidentals like my labor and any other odd or end purchased. For tomato cages, I use bamboo from my own plant, but I still have some wire cages. (Should I depreciate the value of that over time?-joke). My feeling is that I am coming out ahead on everything, but I am not sure. Labor could be the main cost. I find it relaxing to go through my garden each day. To really be growing all of the vegetables for your family, you do need to check on them each day.

    My son had heard a commercial that mentioned becuase of their packaging, the vegetables from this company has less nutrient loss. He wanted to know is that true, and is it a problem. Here is a hidden value that does not equate well in my savings calculation. What value can I place on being able to eat a vegetable freshly picked before cooking? At a Farmer’s Market this weekend, my little girls were quite excited to see what a grower had to sell. Back at home, they follow me and help me in the garden. They know where their food originates, which is better that most children their age. That is another value that is hard to input into the calculation.

    Considering all the factors, I think that my vegetable garden has a great value, but do I save money? I think that I do, but this may not be the case for all. I have my own compost. I do not buy all of my plants each year, since I rely upon seeds or cuttings from last year. I use my organic fertilizers sparingly, so that is not a great cost, and I try to find ways not to use sprays for pests. I think if you are just starting out, you may find yourself spending quite a lot to have your garden get into shape. It might be advisable to learn more before you start planting, or you may have wasted some time and money.