Frugal Living 

Garden Update: 174.5 oz. of Vegetables

It’s been quite a while since the last garden update and I’m happy to report that our total haul of vegetables is now a respectable 174.5 oz. according to our trust free postage scale.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • 22 oz. Roma Tomatoes
  • 3.9 oz Patio Tomatoes
  • 73.9 oz. Beefsteak Tomatoes
  • 1.4 oz Green Peppers
  • 8.8 oz. Red Peppers
  • 61.5 oz. Eggplants
  • 3 oz. Cayenne

The total value, according to recent vegetable prices, is about $20 compared to about $98 spent on planters, plants, and soil (this doesn’t include labor or water).At first, when I saw how many ounces we’d gotten, I thought we would easily break even… obviously I don’t know how much stuff costs at the per ounce level because we’re only about a quarter of the way there. 174.5 ounces sounds very impressive but it’s really not a lot compared to the hauls I’ve seen others get.

I think the biggest handicap for us is the fact that everything is in planters. The tomato plants have a tremendous amount of potential that simply is wasted on pots. While the pots are pretty big, nothing beats the ground and letting tomatoes grow to their full potential.

But, you play the cards you’re dealt and so far we’re doing pretty good as novice gardeners. (There are plenty of everything hanging off the plants, so we haven’t finished harvesting yet)

 The Home 

How to Get Rid of Ants Safely

Ant On A LeafMy wife and I started composted this year and one thing we learned was that ants love our compost. We keep an old 3 lb. coffee can (the same Folgers can in this post) with kitchen compost waste and ants seem to love the chopped up fruits we toss inside. We fill up that can and then empty it about every other week. It really reduces the amount of trash we discard and it will make for some good fuel for our garden next year. But, it’s also a nice little buffet for ants.

(Click to continue reading…)

 Frugal Living 

Garden Progress Update (Plus Bonus Video!)

The Great Garden Harvest has thus far yielded:

  • 1.9 oz. Roma Tomatoes
  • 1.4 oz. Green Bell Peppers
  • 3.9 oz. Patio Tomatoes

How much is that worth? I didn’t do the math but probably less than a few dollars. The bulk of the tomatoes, as you’ll see in the video, has yet to come but there are a lot of beef steaks and eggplants hanging from the branches. Mmmmm!

Before you see the video, here’s a shot of all the veggies as we potted them:
BFP Garden Project: $29 of Garden Loot!

Without further ado (RSS readers will have to click through to see the video):

You can leave comments directly on the video by clicking on the timeline and then the green plus sign.

I recently bought a Flip Mino and have been playing around with it, hence this video. The video is only a few minutes long and I might ramble a little. I took two videos and nixed the first because I got motion sick watching it and I don’t usually get motion sick. 🙂 So, what you get is the second, slightly better take. If you have any tips on video (or gardens), please let me know as I’m a total n00b.

 Frugal Living 

First Garden Haul: 0.5 oz Roma Tomato!

Yeah… seriously, that’s the first fruit we’ve harvested so far this week. Half an ounce of a Roma Tomato, half of which we had to cut off because of bottom rot, is worth approximately… wait for it… 4.65 cents. Since the number was so small, I decided to go to the hundredths digit. 🙂 We don’t have Roma tomatoes on sale here, from my my pricing notes, so I used the $1.49/lb. price for ripe on the vine tomatoes to reach that haul value, I recognize the two types don’t cost the same but given the small amount I think the approximation is fair. 🙂

Total Spent: $98.20 (not counting time or water)
Total Earned: $0.0465
Total ROI: 0.047% (beats the stock market!)

We didn’t take a picture of the poor little guy because we didn’t want to embarrass him (or her) but he (or she) did make a nice little addition to my wife’s salad.

Actually, we have several nice and plump eggplants and several beefsteak tomatoes nearing plucking stages so we do have something to look forward to (we’ve also gotten a lot of spices but that’s impossible to weigh on the postage scale). I think in the next week or so we’ll have our first real haul of note so we’re both pretty excited about it.

Mmmmm sustainability FTW!

For all the posts, check out the 2008 BFP Garden Project chronicles!

 Frugal Living 

BFP Garden Project: 2 More “Pots”

Thank you to everyone who commented on the last two garden posts ($29 kickoff and $60 worth of planters), it was based on those comments that we decided to buy some more “planters” (you’ll see why I use the quotes later) and move some tomato plants.

The recommendation was that each tomato have about five gallons of dirt to play in. Our solution was to buy five gallon buckets (we could’ve gone to restaurants and asked) from Home Depot and move some tomatoes out of the party buckets they were in. So, the huge planters now have at most three tomatoes and two five gallon buckets have one tomato each. We’ll be giving the odd tomato out to my parents.

Trip damage: $8 (lost the receipt, it’s something liek that)
Running total: $98.20

Our plants are growing pretty well with nothing too tragic yet. We’ve been having some wet days recently so the little guys are getting plenty to drink, plenty of sun, and things are progressing nicely.

MSN had an article recently about the best plants to grow yourself. They were fruit trees, lettuce, herbs, vine vegetables, and bell peppers. We are growing a few herbs, some eggplants, and bell peppers (orange and green) so three out of five ain’t bad (fruit is out of the question here). I wish we could grow fruit trees. In Hawaii, everyone had fruit trees (and chickens!). So every morning at the bed & breakfasts we would have tons of fresh fruit (that’s not even that much of an exaggeration).

The five plants you should skip: Potatoes, carrots, celery, asparagus and wheat. There’s no chance we would’ve grown any of those. 🙂

 Frugal Living 

BFP Garden Project: Need More Planters & Potting Soil

This weekend we took our potentially financially viable crop and turned it into a 100% guaranteed financial loss (but no worries, we’re building for the future!). As it turns out, tomatoes need about a quarter of my body weight in dirt to grow to their full potential and we weren’t even close to having that much space for them with the existing planters we had. We knew that tomatoes grew best in the ground but we didn’t have anywhere in the ground to put them that actually got any sun, so planters were our only other option. We clearly did not have enough planters for them so we visited the local Home Depot to pick up planters and some more potting soil.

Trip damage cost: $61.20
Total cost: $90.20 ($29 spent on the kickoff of the BFP Garden Project)

We bought three big pots (two 20″ wide and one 16″ wide) for some of the tomatoes and the eggplant, plus six cubic feet of potting soil. It turns out we got potting soil that was really nutrient rich and had to be mixed in with existing ground soil (it was the type of stuff that had lot of compost in it), so we really only used about 5/6ths of the $23.31 of potting soil we purchased, but now we’re splitting hairs.

Planters for Tomatoes

As you can see in the above, we packed in 4 and then 5 tomato plants in each of the bigger planters and then stuck a tomato with an eggplant in the smaller 16″ planter. We’ll see how the packed in party goes… we didn’t have any other place for the tomatoes so we did the best with the space we have.

I considered doing the proper corporate accounting method of amortizing the pots to make the financials work a little better but what’s the schedule for plastic planter pots? Five years? Seven years? Thirty? 🙂

Anyway, it’s possible that our $90 investment can yield, in its first year, $90 worth of vegetables but who knows. We’ll keep our eyes on the little guys and you never know!

Anyone have any more gardening advice? Both of us aren’t experienced in the ways of the green so any and all advice is appreciated!

 Frugal Living 

BFP Garden Project: $29 Kick-off

My wife and are planning on putting together a small little garden of potted plants that have had success with in the past. Our deck doesn’t get a tremendous amount of sun because of enormous trees behind our property but it gets enough that we’ve had pretty good success growing tomato and peppers in the past. This year, we’ve decided to give the garden project another go and document our progress.

This past weekend, we visited our local farmers market and picked up $29 worth of plants and potting soil and anticipate that will be the extent of our expenses besides water. Due to prior garden projects, we have a sufficient number of planters as well as some fertilizer, so we should be set in those departments.

BFP Garden Project: $29 of Garden Loot!

For $29 we were able to pick up:

  • Cayenne Pepper (2)
  • Eggplant (2)
  • Thai Basil (1)
  • Hot Pepper – Kung Poa (1)
  • Sweet Basil (1)
  • Orange Bell Pepper (2)
  • Patio Tomato (1)
  • Oregano (1)
  • Super Steak Tomato (6)
  • Green Sweet Bell Pepper (6)
  • Roma Tomato (6)
  • 40 lbs. Country Boy Potting Soil

As they grow, we’ll compare them to the grocery store prices and see if the whole garden process is “worth it.” My hypothesis is that the financials will come close and the real value is in being able to say you’re somewhat self-sustainable (and gardening is fun!).

Right now, tomatoes on the vine are going at $2.79 a pound, orange bell peppers were $2+ a pound (by far the most expensive of the bell peppers), and green bell peppers were under $2 a pound. While I don’t see us getting ten pounds of tomatoes, they’re certainly the most valuable of the vegetables we purchased.

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