The Value of Gardening
The National Gardening Association claims that over 33% of households in the U.S. grow some of their food. Unlike other hobbies, gardening has the potential to yield practical returns on investment.
According to the NGA, a garden can yield a half-pound of fruits and vegetables per square foot. The yield for a 20 by 30-foot garden in a single season could reach 300 pounds. The NGA estimates the value of such a haul to be somewhere around $600.
Understanding the Value
While a $600 savings over the course of a year does not sound significant, you need to weigh in the rest of your food costs. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics' Expenditure Survey, Americans spend an average of $6,759 on food costs per year. The BLS estimates about $756 is spent on fruits and vegetables annually. Additionally, $2,787 is the estimated cost of eating or dining out. Together, eating out and fruits and veggies make up more than half of the average American's food budget.
By growing your food, you can potentially eliminate your fruit and vegetable costs, assuming you have the space. Additionally, growing your produce might encourage you to eat more homecooked meals, cutting down on the dining-out budget.
Reviewing the Costs of Gardening
Gardening can represent upfront costs in the hundreds, depending on the size of the site and the variety of plants. However, after the initial setup, costs are minimal. You can purchase seeds for cheap.
Still, you also need to consider the time commitment to gardening. You cannot just throw a seed on the soil and expect it to grow and thrive. You need to plant it at the proper depth, water it, weed around it, fertilize it, and harvest it when necessary. The labor is not that bad for one plant, but to have a garden of any real value will require many hours of labor.
The good news about gardening and labor is there are several physical and mental health benefits to the process. The activity can help build muscles and coordination. Additionally, the practice can become quite meditative, making it useful for stress relief.
Understanding the Real Advantages
Gardening can save you money, but the savings are likely not too significant. Still, there is value in gardening beyond financial relief or benefit. Developing a green thumb is an excellent way to be productive in retirement and create a new purpose.
Whether you live in the country and have free space to plant in the soil or live in a city and are trying your luck in a container, gardening can add value to your life. However, you need to be aware of the costs. Too many people get carried away in the process, specifically in perfecting the process. It is easy to get carried away buying unnecessary tools and products. The real value of gardening is found in using traditional means.
A garden may not relieve significant financial burdens, but it can help cut the grocery bill. If you are interested in gardening, consider taking a couple of classes or reading some helpful guides.