The garden budget

Growing food is like printing your own money.-Ron Finley

I love this quote but it is ripe for being misunderstood by the naive.  Here is a list of garden related purchases we have made in the last 5 years in addition to seed.  Keep in mind we were conventional gardeners the first year and transitioning the following year or so.  




Starting treys and cells


Valhalla Wood Preservative


Tool handles

A shovel

A garden rake

Two hand spades

Organic starting mix

Materials to build a greenhouse

Repairs to our old tiller


Bird netting

Chicken wire

Beneficial insects


Wood shavings

Organic fertilizer

Full spectrum lighting


Fruit trees




Two sprayer attachments for the hose

Staple gun


Portable sprayer


Essential oils

Neem oil

Cheese cloth

Diatomaceous earth


Plastic sheeting

Guineas and supplemental feed in the winter

And on and on…

You should know that much of this was for our experiments.  Some of it was a complete waste of money.  A good bit was because our 4.7ph sand was so foreign to us when we arrived on this chunk of earth.  

No matter how you slice it, the first few years here we raised some pricey food.  Now that we are set up, we spend very little.

It is my hope that I can spare you some wasted money as well as help you avoid some of our mistakes in implementation.

Today we talk about budgeting for a garden.

If you have never dealt with a budget before, it is simple if you can say NO.  (This isn’t easy for most of us.  I know I need to stop buying seeds.  Oh!  Look!  I new seed catalog!  Is that a Japanese hand hoe?…)


Decide what you have to spend on the setup of your garden.  You can do this incrementally or for the entire year.  

Now, with this number in mind, get out your garden journal and consider the following:

What resources are available to me at no monetary cost?  Do I have access to compost or livestock manure?  Will the local trimming service deliver wood chip at no charge?  Will someone be helping me with labor?  For what can I barter?

What is laying around my property that may be of use, like lumber?

Will I need to irrigate or water my garden?  If so, what method and supplies would I like to use?

Will I be raising my beds or planting in ground?

Do I plan to purchase beneficial insects?

How long is my season?  Do I want to get a jump on the weather or the insects by starting my seeds indoors?

Does my local soil require augmentation for what I want to grow?  Am I willing to stick to growing what grows easily on my property?

Once you have mulled this over, reconsider the size of your plot.  Is it still reasonable?  

Now look at that seed order you put together and make sure it still makes sense.

Do not fail to set something aside for the unexpected, just like in every area of your finances.  Tools break, seeds fail to germinate, storms destroy things and manure happens.  I promise you will be surprised by something. at some point.  Don’t let gardening become a financial pain because of poor planning.  

Finally, remember why you are going on this journey.  Remember your WHY.  Whether it is health, safety or happiness, be proud of yourself for addressing every aspect of this new adventure.  


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Love from the farm

Happy eating, Katy

8 thoughts on “The garden budget

  1. I liked this post so much I took notes to reference when it’s time to start planning. One thing I would add is that even on a budget, you shouldn’t compromise quality for price. If I need a shovel, fertilizer, and seed starting trays, but can’t afford all three at the moment, I would ask myself – what can I do without or substitute with something I already own? Don’t want to skimp on the fertilizer – make sure I get organic/ cruelty free… definitely want to buy a high quality shovel because it will last me for years … but perhaps I can start seeds in old egg cartons? In the past my gut action would have been to buy the cheapest version of all three, but I learned my lesson on that. Quality equipment is absolutely worth the investment, so now I add piece by piece to alleviate the financial burden and do without in the meantime.

    PS – I just got the Baker Creek catalog too and couldn’t stop drooling over it. What an awesome place!

    Liked by 1 person

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