Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Garden Project: August Update

The great ThinkorSwim Debacle of 2011 is getting worse. I'm still missing the $200 in the trading account but am told it is being transferred and fixed. The $266 in cash in the investing account was turned into a money market position. That is not showing anywhere but I do have a message of "Margin -$266". I sure hope they arent thinking I am needing a margin call and they will sell my stock positions. Total I am now missing $466. I'll refrain from commentary until I am a bit more... calm.

But at times like this I try to focus on other things so lets talk about my garden project and its quest to generate some cash flow in the form of saving me grocery money...

I started seedlings out in April but as I mentioned previously I didn't have any good direct sunlight. So in the second week of June I set them out in the sun hoping for them to grow. I was careful to keep them watered however we had a heavy wind storm which knocked them over, and out of their little pots. About half of the dirt was blown away and the shriveled pretty quickly. Which really I suppose is just as well, I used biodegradable Jiffy Pots strips which are nice but some of them started getting a bit of mold on them. Too much water, not enough water. Its like I can't win. I wasn't able to save any of them.

Packets of seeds: $16
Jiffy Pot strips: $4
Jiffy Potting soil: $7
Total for Seedlings: $27

I figured I would at least get something out of a garden this year in the form of experience if nothing else. I went down to Lowe's and picked up some pre-grown vegetables. Just enough to fill one of my raised gardens. I also learned my lesson from last year and bought some chunks of tree bark for mulch to block the sun from baking the ground.
1 each of Pumpkin, Cucumber, Strawberry, Green Bell Pepper, Red Bell Pepper, Squash: $30
1 Tomato: $10
2 bags of Mulch: $6.50
Total for Pre-Grown Plants: $46.50
Yeah that is going to set me back in the profitability column.

Now for the good news. Plants grow an unbelievable amount of vegetables and are flowering all over the place. It took them awhile to grow, presumably as they were growing solid root systems but now they are really spreading out nicely.
Bobby my Saint Bernard hopped up into the garden and kicked over the Green Bell Pepper plant. I was rather surprised that after I planted it back in (albeit at a 45 degree angle) it not only has survived but thrived and is preparing to give me half a dozen peppers.

The harvest so far is just two red tomatoes. However that one plant has 5 green ones and 20 flowers. The squash has 18 flowers and the rest of a dozen or so. I am not sure if I can break even on my costs this year as I only have 1 garden bed going and had to spend $46.50 more then I should have. At any rate though I will have a good amount and have until the end of September probably before the first overnight frost sets in.  And the taste of those tomatoes? Fabulous. I hadn't realized how artificial tasting the grocery store vegetables had become.

Total cost of the raised gardens: $154
Total cost of the seedlings: $27
Total cost of the pre-grown plants: $46.50
Total cost: $227.50
Yeah I don't think I will get 75 lbs of food this year. However next year I should only have $30-$40 in reoccurring costs.

Total profit: $1.50 from 2 tomatoes

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