• Dave Kinzer

Why You Should Grow a Garden

Updated: Mar 30

You can tell spring is just around the corner by watching the activity at any big retailer. Suddenly, mulch, rock, seed packets, flowers, pots, and bags of soil and compost fly out the door.


And you know what that means- it’s gardening season.


I think we can all agree that COVID pretty much ruined 2020, but there was at least one positive result: interest in gardening exploded.


According to a Reuters article, seed company W. Atlee Burpee & Co. set a new record for seed sales in March. Maine’s Johnny’s Selected Seeds almost tripled their seed sales, while Stokes Seeds from Canada quadrupled their sales.


A survey by YouGov.com revealed 19% of U.S. adults gardened “more than usual” during the lockdown.



If you are one of those individuals who tried gardening for the first time in 2020, keep it up in 2021. There are so many benefits to gardening.


You’ll get a healthy dose of vitamin D, grow and eat healthy foods, exercise, and of course- you’ll save money.


Last year, I shared that my 2019 garden produced $141 worth of fruits and vegetables. After accounting for some expenses, my garden made a “profit” of $71.


In 2020, I grew giant Marconi peppers, green peppers, butternut squash, cherry tomatoes, blueberries, and raspberries. Using area grocery store prices for comparison, I estimate my garden produced $270 worth of fruits and vegetables last year.


The bulk of the value of my produce came from approximately 68 cups of blueberries and raspberries.


My expenses for starter plants, compost, and soil, totaled $25. My garden “profit” for the year was $245. This number is a lot higher than last year’s “profit” because I accounted for the cost of purchasing the fruit plants in 2019. They are considerably more expensive than vegetable starter plants.


If you took my advice last year and gave gardening a try by starting out with a single cherry tomato plant, I encourage you to do the same this year. But this time, add another plant or two.


I suggest you give peppers a try. They are very easy to grow and give you a good return on your money. Buy a green pepper starter plant, stick it in the ground in a spot in your yard that gets a lot of sun, and take care of it this summer.


The pepper plant will probably cost you around $3. If it produces eight peppers, you’ve grown about $6 worth of produce and doubled your money.


A cherry tomato plant will save you even more money. It will also cost around $3, but will probably produce at least $30 worth of cherry tomatoes.


So two plants that cost a total of $6 likely will grow over $36 worth of vegetables for you. That’s a 500% return on investment! Hard to beat that.


Actually, if you have a large backyard, you probably could do better than that. Have you ever considered planting a fruit tree or two?


According to Stark Bro’s, an average semi-dwarf apple tree will produce approximately 330 pounds of apples each year. If it is productive for sixteen years, it will produce around $9,000 worth of apples.


You can buy a Honeycrisp apple tree for $42. Where else can you turn $42 into $9000?


And if you don’t like Honeycrisp apples, that’s all right- Stark Bro’s has over 30 varieties of apple trees for sale. Or, maybe you’d be more interested in a peach or pear tree.


The point is, whichever assortment of fruits and vegetables you choose, you can definitely save money by growing your own food.


In 2020, a study conducted by OnePoll, on behalf of Homes.com, revealed that the 2nd most popular goal for Americans was to get out of debt. The 6th most popular goal was to exercise more, and the 12th most popular goal was to lose weight.


Well guess, what- gardening can help you accomplish all three goals! If those goals are on your list as well, give gardening a try in 2021.

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© 2019 by Dave Kinzer