Monthly Archives: July 2012

Garden Costs for 2012 – How Cheap can we be ??

Long/term invest:

Composters 30-50   should last 5 years

Plastic Bins for Worm Composting  $24 x2  , 8-10 years
Shovels- 3 avg. cost of $15 (1new others yard sale)  8-10 yrs
Mower- $150     , should last 5-7 years with care
Hoe- 35  (10 years old- should last 10 more)
Hand tools- 40    (at least 10 year life)
Potting supplies/tool- 10  ( recycled/Freecycle’d items)
Buckets- recycle from painter or pool maintenance guy
Hoses and attachments- 50  3-5 year life

$70.10 per year

ANNUAL expense- 2012

Seeds- 35
Potting misc.- 12
seedlings- 25

Gasoline/oil- $10
Soil/ humus- 42(will be less next year )and could be free
Water from city- $70 for summer(estimate as of July)

Soap/oil/vinegar/peppers/garlic – $28 for insects and weeds

$222 for 2012 so far

Image  Hoping to freeze tomato sauce and have 25+ SERVINGS available over the winter.
                         Cheapskate math = SUMMARY

My costs for this year are approximately   $292.10

This is the total of the annual costs and the 1 year portion of the Long Term investments.

My cost per serving ( all plants considered equal for ease of calculation)

A serving of tomato is 1 large tomato, 1 whole cucumber, quarter/half a cabbage…..

[serving is a subjective measure, but it is my measure as a 6’8 300lb gardener and vegetarian]

As of late July I have a cost per serving of $0.89 and it is dropping as more harvest awaits.

Image The last cauliflower- harvested in June and had 6 servings.


How Does Your Garden Grow?

Great colors- great looking stuff.

I am going to plant edamame next year_shortly after new year….

I had cauliflower in 3 colors this year (white/purple and gold) All great Plus it is fun. Like being a kid with box of crayons.

Awesome. Vegan. Rad.

I love my postage stamp garden.  This is my first year doing any serious (and I use the word ‘serious’ rather lightly) gardening, and while my yard isn’t big enough to yield a substantial crop, it’s enough to have a few sides of veggies and some herbs and a little snip of things here and there.  I grew every bit of it from seed (except for 3 of my herbs that just wouldn’t sprout), and I just couldn’t be more proud.  I think it’s really important for everyone to try growing at least a little bit of their own food at some point.  It really puts the whole food buying and consuming process into perspective.  People work hard to put those veggies on your table!  And there is nothing more satisfying than eating something that you grew from a seed.  From the first exciting moment that it sprouts, to watching…

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One Towering Tomato

Holy Moley . My tallest is about 41/2 feet, My beans are 7 feet tall.

Will try this next year with tomatoes ( 2-3 kinds and bet I can harvest 125-200 fruits.


To the left at two feet ( approx. 61 cm) tall, tomato ‘Legend,’ to the right at three feet (approx. 91 cm), tomato ‘Cherokee Purple,’ and in the center at a whopping seven feet (approx. 213 cm) tall, tomato ‘Gardener’s Delight!’ Holy cow! Thanks Adam Leone of  for suggesting ‘Gardener’s Delight.’

There are many ways to grow tomatoes. Some people tie them to a single stake, some let them sprawl over the ground, and some like me give them each a cage of their own, tucking stray shoots here and there in passing. If there was a year to listen to old garden hands that say to snip out the wayward suckers to promote fruit over foliage, this was it, but I never even got around to mulching. Having the tomatoes top the cage is not an uncommon sight late in the season, but there’s a whole lot of…

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Black Gold- But not like Uncle Jed’s…

I harvested a bucket of fresh Compost.  It was black and soft and felt like POWER.  I was planting a few flowers in Cathy’s garden and the soil was like pottery so I added some chopped oak mulch and some fresh compost. There will be plenty in the fall to feed the garden for next spring as well as the cold frame for great growth over the winter.

The extra was spread in the new cleared plot (cabbage pulled for kim chi and slaw) and seeds will be set in a day or so.  Fall greens YUMMM


I bought 2 different heavy plastic compost bins a few years ago (at Lowes and Sam’s) and they make great compost with just a little work , and free added leaves, coffee, grass and scraps.

I paid less then $50 for the 2 bins and will get 5-6 more years of use so great cheapskate items – They are costing me $7.15 /year. Of course I could get cheaper and find a free trash can or similar item AND I am because it looks like I need a 3rd bin for good rotation and movement of the processing compost.


Pic from earlier this season

Pic from earlier this season

Roses, onions, squash and beans are in view

Hello world!

Gardens for Cheapskates is a review of my fun in the garden.

I started gardening, AS AN ADULT, for fun and therapy. Great way to clear the head= pull some weeds and plant some seeds.


The last thing I wanted to do was invest/spend a bunch of money- otherwise I could see a shrink for $125+ per hour.

I buy used tools( yard sale) , Use tools for multiple tasks and I get as much stuff for free( freecycle or other methods).


I also strive for chemical free. This is safer and also potentially less expensive.


As I kid we lived off the garden well into the next spring so now I am working in that direction.


Composting, Worms, frees stuff keep this inexpensive.






Grow some fertilizer and Compost

        Much is /has been written about using chemicals for gardens. I have been using compost and Vermicompost ( worm poop) to feed and grow the garden.

        I read about green manures in the past and have used clover and beans in the off-season to “feed” the soil for spring planting. I started growing and using Comfrey  Image this spring and have had success. The leaves make a powerful tea that fuels great growth in the plants and is also a wonderful compost activator when poured into the piles or bins .

I now have a few mature plants and 4 new plants and hope to use the leaves as mulch next year or over the winter in the cold frame.


They will also growth and spread- so that will be fun to control but any picking, trimming will feed the garden on compost bins.

      I will have 6 plants by weeks end. The leaves (to the 2 G mark) in the 5 gallon bucket were just placed there with 5 gallons of water. The bucket was closed and set to brew for  3-5 weeks, until it is a powerful deep black color and the leaves are almost gone.

It will then be diluted with an additional 5 gallons of water and used on each plants, especially any that are struggling. Any leftover will be stirred into the active compost bin or pile.