Saturday, October 1, 2011

Is it Worth all the Effort?

When I first started growing my own vegetables, this was one of the main questions I kept asking myself.

Up until recently the answer in a monetary sense has mostly been “No”, especially if you factor in the cost of establishing the garden in the first place and of course I’ve only started gardening recently. So I decided to view those costs as an investment into the future viability of this whole endeavour. At least I have the satisfaction of knowing that all my vegetables are organically grown (I don't use pesticides and sprays) and everything we eat from the garden is fresher than you could buy anywhere. I reason that there’s got to be some value in that.

I must confess I don’t even know how much vegetables cost these days, as my wife usually does all the shopping. But I went shopping with her recently and decided to take my camera with me. I decided to take note of the prices of some of the same vegetables that I’m growing in my garden...

To help get it all in perspective I also took a photo of some seedlings I got from the plant shop. In this case it was the new Bunnings store that just opened which has a gardening section. Keep in mind that the price shown is for 6 seedlings.

Now it doesn’t take much math to work out that a half dozen brocolli at 2.99 ea. comes to $17.94 less the price of the seedlings leaves $16.65. The cauliflower cost twice as much @ $2.99 for HALF a cauliflower resulting in a crop of a half dozen cauliflowers worth $34.59. The cabbages work out to $28.71 for 6 whole cabbages. 

You only have to grow a half dozen of each of these 3 kinds of vegies before you’ve saved yourself about $80 at the supermarket. Admittedly these are winter prices and it’s harder for most people to grow vegies in the winter as their gardens are too shady and wet. But under the right circumstances and conditions it’s definitely worth it growing your own.

The cost of pumpkins blew me away. If you read my post here about growing pumpkins last summer you may have seen my comment on the price at the time at $1.50 each. Come mid-winter and the price has rocketed up to almost $9 each. Of the 10 pumpkins we grew last summer we still have 2 left. They keep well and will last all year. On this basis, even if you didn’t grow your own, you should almost buy them in bulk in the summer and store them ‘til the winter.


  1. It sure does save the $$$'s. When you consider how much broccoloi, tomatoes,etc you get from 1 plant or how many peas, beans, carrots etc from 1 packet of seeds it's the only way to go. Plus as you said the freshness & taste is so much better. I've got 1'2 a bed to finish digging & composting today then I'm ready to plant. I didn't grow anything during winter except my already established rhubarb & celery that just keeps on producing all year round

  2. oops I spelt Broccoli wrong & 1'2 instead of 1/2. The computer should know what I mean by now

  3. It definitely seems to be worth it. I've got about a third of my garden area planted out so far – all the bits that get enough sun.

    For some strange reason I imagined you sitting down counting out all the individual peas you've grown. The very thought of it made me laugh.