Thursday, March 22, 2012

Starting Garden Project 2012

The goal of the Garden Project is to show the economic benefits of growing your own food that hopefully the Theoretical Family can use to save money and then help fund their portfolio.

First off lets review 2011. Since I live in a town home I do not have much ground space so I built 2, 8'x4' raised gardens. I actually built them a couple years back but for purposes of the Model Portfolio I feel it proper to add in their cost for those gardening to save money.
As an additional handicap I have no windows appropriate for seedlings. Only east and west and I have large trees blocking most of the sun. I had set out my starter pots and a nasty wind storm knocked them over and blew half the dirt away. This left their roots exposed and they dried out. To try to salvage something of the year I bought some pre-grown plants from Lowe's.

Not a good year but I did learn quite a bit. Primarily that Bobby (my 140lbs Saint Bernard) thought it was a fun game to jump into the garden and jump out in an effort to get me to play with him. A few plants didn't care for that one bit and were killed by his paws.
The second thing I learned is that plants have an incredible bounty of vegetables on them for even a small amount of land.
Lastly I learned that the squash family of plants are A-holes. They spent their energy growing vines around other plants to kill them off! On top of that their leaves are gigantic with some being 10" wide. That resulted in them growing over top of the other plants blocking the light and another attempt to kill their plantae brethren. I spent a lot of time cutting of the vines and they didn't have the courtesy to grow anything edible.

2011 Cost Basis
Raised gardens: $154
Seeds and soil: $27
Pre-grown plants: $46.50
Total cost: $227.50
Total profit: $15.50 from 5 lbs of tomatoes ($2.50/lb), 2 green bell peppers ($1 each), 1 yellow bell pepper ($1.50 each)

This year should be quite better.
1: I will be using both garden beds. Last year I only used one as I didn't want to spend too much money on the pre-grown plants.
2: The Jiffy starter pots are nice but too small. I have saved sour cream, cottage cheese, and large yogurt plastic containers throughout the year and bought dirt for them. They will have 3 months to grow in these larger containers before I plant them.
3: I'll be adding some wire fencing along my privacy fence that the garden is up against for Beans and Peas to grow up. Horizontal ground space is limited so I will attempt to make use of my vertical space.
Seedlings: Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Okra, Cucumber, Radish, Peas, Green Beans, Rosemary, Thyme, Basil, and Jalapenos.

2012 Cost Basis
Seeds: $16.50
2 bags of Jiffy Potting soil: $6
Miracle-Gro: $10 (while I have had this 5 lb bag forever from a previous house even, I felt it fair to add this price into the numbers)
2011 carry over net loss: $212
Total cost: $244.5

If the conventional wisdom of a new business is that you expect to lose money the first year or two then I am  right on track for this "business". I had my one time start up costs of the raised garden take up the majority of my expenses and the first year and I learned some tricks of the trade. $244 seems like a lot but I have seen my friends with successful gardens. The yield is just ridiculous and they ended up giving out a lot of the vegetables because they couldn't eat them fast enough. I'm hopeful for similar results.

Disclaimer: The investments and trades in my videos and blog entries are not recommendations for others. I am not a financial planner, financial advisor, accountant, or tax adviser. The financial actions I talk about are for my own portfolio and money and only suited for my own risk tolerance, strategy, and ideas. Copying another person's financial moves can lead to large losses. Each person needs to do their due diligence in researching and planning their own actions in the financial markets.

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