Author Topic: How do I make my garden "worth-it"?  (Read 19619 times)

Rural

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Re: How do I make my garden "worth-it"?
« Reply #50 on: April 29, 2015, 05:19:23 PM »
Okay, I guess I just don't get it. I came out way (way) in the black the first year I gardened, and I have every year since.


Buy seeds at the dollar store. Once. Save them for the rest of the years. It's okay to make an exception for tomatoes.


Double dig if you can. Scavenge for soil amendments, or use pee. Water with greywater as much as you can. Mechanical pest control.


Then eat.

Spondulix

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Re: How do I make my garden "worth-it"?
« Reply #51 on: May 01, 2015, 09:35:46 PM »
Okay, I guess I just don't get it. I came out way (way) in the black the first year I gardened, and I have every year since.


Buy seeds at the dollar store. Once. Save them for the rest of the years. It's okay to make an exception for tomatoes.


Double dig if you can. Scavenge for soil amendments, or use pee. Water with greywater as much as you can. Mechanical pest control.


Then eat.
By greywater do you mean a bucket in the shower while the water heats up? Using actual greywater (from sink/shower/laundry) is a big no-no for vegetable gardens.

Rural

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Re: How do I make my garden "worth-it"?
« Reply #52 on: May 02, 2015, 06:48:44 AM »
Okay, I guess I just don't get it. I came out way (way) in the black the first year I gardened, and I have every year since.


Buy seeds at the dollar store. Once. Save them for the rest of the years. It's okay to make an exception for tomatoes.


Double dig if you can. Scavenge for soil amendments, or use pee. Water with greywater as much as you can. Mechanical pest control.


Then eat.
By greywater do you mean a bucket in the shower while the water heats up? Using actual greywater (from sink/shower/laundry) is a big no-no for vegetable gardens.


I had bath water in mind, but we only use Dr. Bronners if the water's going on vegetables, and my husband takes a lot of baths. You're right that the shower bucket doesn't yield as much.


But water for us isn't a big expense, so I've probably not fully thought it through. If you plant intensively and mulch, it doesn't take a lot of water, but setting up to make that work is  very labor-intensive.


We're plumbed for actual grey water here, as in the pipes are in place for it, but haven't got the system going because I haven't yet sorted the right way to change my water (soap) use habits to make it safe, plus we don't need that much here as I'm just getting the gardens restarted.


If nothing else, though, if we get another drought like the one in 07, we can save some trees that may already be stressed from the house construction.


So, I'll maintain that it's possible to mitigate watering costs with things like the bucket method you mention, but I can see, now, that water is likely to be more of an unavoidable expense in other people's circumstances.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: How do I make my garden "worth-it"?
« Reply #53 on: May 02, 2015, 08:27:08 AM »
I'm fairly obsessed with Erica's website, but As she said local sources are best. She's in Seattle , I'm in Maine. Her garden list for March was like "plant peas" mine was "refuel snowblower and drool over seed catalogs" chat with the other gardeners in your plot.
Check out AWayToGarden.com. My friend and mentor Margaret writes it. She's in upstate NY, Zone 5 I think - far closer to you climactically. She does monthly To Do lists that will be more helpful.
(But thank you for reading my site!! <3)

Also chiming in to say NWEdible is fantastic! I'm in PNW but have been living in small apartments with no balconies for a few years =( I live vicariously through your blog for the time being! I kept a full half acre cultivated by myself through high school, and preserved or sold what I didn't use. Until I have a yard and time again, I'll just keep visiting Erica's website and dreaming dreams of lettuce and chives.

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: How do I make my garden "worth-it"?
« Reply #54 on: May 02, 2015, 04:33:23 PM »
I'm fairly obsessed with Erica's website, but As she said local sources are best. She's in Seattle , I'm in Maine. Her garden list for March was like "plant peas" mine was "refuel snowblower and drool over seed catalogs" chat with the other gardeners in your plot.
Check out AWayToGarden.com. My friend and mentor Margaret writes it. She's in upstate NY, Zone 5 I think - far closer to you climactically. She does monthly To Do lists that will be more helpful.
(But thank you for reading my site!! <3)

Also chiming in to say NWEdible is fantastic! I'm in PNW but have been living in small apartments with no balconies for a few years =( I live vicariously through your blog for the time being! I kept a full half acre cultivated by myself through high school, and preserved or sold what I didn't use. Until I have a yard and time again, I'll just keep visiting Erica's website and dreaming dreams of lettuce and chives.

Thank you so much! That makes my day! <3

Lyngi

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Re: How do I make my garden "worth-it"?
« Reply #55 on: May 02, 2015, 07:04:46 PM »
I try to go with easy, high reward items.  I have sugar snap peas, grapes, raspberries and alpine strawberries.  I do have some musk strawberries, but they are starting to take over the yard, so they may have to go.  I like to garden, but when it gets hot, I have to hibernate.  I plant everbearing raspberries, I cut the canes down  in the fall, or the winter or the spring and get one crop in the late summer.   
     I had planned on tomatoes and cucumbers in sub-irrigated containers, but we are going out of town in JULY, and they would not survive without significant effort. 

Spondulix

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Re: How do I make my garden "worth-it"?
« Reply #56 on: May 03, 2015, 01:07:11 AM »
So, I'll maintain that it's possible to mitigate watering costs with things like the bucket method you mention, but I can see, now, that water is likely to be more of an unavoidable expense in other people's circumstances.
The reason I was asking about the bucket was to find out if you're collecting water from the faucet or re-using "contaminated" water. If it's straight from a faucet/showerhead filling a bucket, it's uncontaminated water, and that is safe to use in a vegetable garden or lawn. If the water has touched your tub at all (regardless of soap or people in it) it's considered greywater (contaminated). In most municipalities that have greywater laws, greywater is not supposed to touch the surface of the ground at all (because of the potential for bacteria), which is why you're not supposed to use it for grass, vegetable garden, etc. Fruit trees are ok because the risk of bacteria making it to the fruit is small:
http://www.graywatergardening.com/Fruit___Vegetables.html

I've got a greywater system from my laundry, which we can do legally without a permit (but the rules are strict). The piping had to clearly be labeled "greywater", the outlets had to be something like 6" underground, water couldn't come to the surface, etc.

Rural

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Re: How do I make my garden "worth-it"?
« Reply #57 on: May 03, 2015, 03:42:20 AM »
So, I'll maintain that it's possible to mitigate watering costs with things like the bucket method you mention, but I can see, now, that water is likely to be more of an unavoidable expense in other people's circumstances.
The reason I was asking about the bucket was to find out if you're collecting water from the faucet or re-using "contaminated" water. If it's straight from a faucet/showerhead filling a bucket, it's uncontaminated water, and that is safe to use in a vegetable garden or lawn. If the water has touched your tub at all (regardless of soap or people in it) it's considered greywater (contaminated). In most municipalities that have greywater laws, greywater is not supposed to touch the surface of the ground at all (because of the potential for bacteria), which is why you're not supposed to use it for grass, vegetable garden, etc. Fruit trees are ok because the risk of bacteria making it to the fruit is small:
http://www.graywatergardening.com/Fruit___Vegetables.html

I've got a greywater system from my laundry, which we can do legally without a permit (but the rules are strict). The piping had to clearly be labeled "greywater", the outlets had to be something like 6" underground, water couldn't come to the surface, etc.


No water regulations here outside of "waters of the United State" (ie federal), so it's a matter of judgement.


In the rental house we lived in before (all systems 1940s originals), the washing machine discharged through a pipe to the ditch next to the driveway; I discovered it when I saw foam. This I judged to be a Vey a Bad Idea, especially since the place was on a freaking hand dug shallow well. But the only thing I'm going to sweat with grey water for plants is soap. I do think one has to be very aware, but my dishwasher and kitchen sink are not plumbed into the grey water system, and I can reroute the whole thing to septic (where it's going now) at need.


YMMV, check local regs, don't drink it, and all that. (And don't discharge the washing machine in the ditch.)

Spondulix

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Re: How do I make my garden "worth-it"?
« Reply #58 on: May 03, 2015, 06:04:57 PM »
In the rental house we lived in before (all systems 1940s originals), the washing machine discharged through a pipe to the ditch next to the driveway; I discovered it when I saw foam. This I judged to be a Vey a Bad Idea, especially since the place was on a freaking hand dug shallow well.
Yikes!! Lol.

bgp

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Re: How do I make my garden "worth-it"?
« Reply #59 on: December 02, 2015, 07:10:38 PM »
Yup - I know it's an old thread but felt the lack of garden posts really drove a need to have this one commented upon.

Yes, a garden can save money. It can even be profitable.

There a lots of books on gardening, even one called The $64 Tomato by William Alexander that recounts how expensive it can be when you let it be just a hobby.

But not many are out there that talk about saving money with gardening like my favorite. Gardening When it Counts by Steve Solomon (ISBN 978-0-86571-553-0).

This is a guy who started his own seed business and grew crops to feed his family in the lean years. He documents how he did it and how he didn't have to spend much to ensure good crops. In my opinion, if you want to garden to save money and ensure good food, this is a must read. The details on composting for maximum fertility alone is worth it.

I think the general thoughts around why riding a bike is such a great idea apply to gardening.

If you mow grass, you should be gardening!
« Last Edit: December 02, 2015, 07:43:51 PM by bgp »

maco

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Re: How do I make my garden "worth-it"?
« Reply #60 on: December 03, 2015, 09:39:09 AM »
I don't have a pickup, but I do have a car. I can stick a few rubbermaid-type bins in the back of it and go get free compost from the county, a maybe 5 mile drive. Check and see if that's an option in your area? Or if a friend with a bigger vehicle is willing to pitch in. My father-in-law lets us use his utility van for large objects.