The economics of it all
Saturday, July 17, 2010 at 12:23PM
Ram G in Cost of gardening, Harvest, Harvesting, ROI, ROI, cost of SIP gardens, productivity

I do know it is a hobby. But it is always good to check the return on investment. For one, it is satisfying to know that the hobby is a productive one. Two, it always comes as a good proof point when questioned by skeptics who think what you do is not gardening in any sense of the word.

The calculations below are for the tote SIPs. The cost was about $22.40 [18 gallon Tote ($4), 2’ PVC (40c, 10’ for $2 cut into 5 pieces), EPS Foam ($2), Organic Potting Mix 2 cu ft ($ 16)]. I built 8 such boxes at a total cost of $179.20 ($22.40 x 8). I also have 3-bucket planters recycled from last year, which I have not included in this calculation. The potting mix can be recycled for up to 5 seasons and the buckets/totes, may last 2-3 seasons as they are not UV resistant plastic.

Below is the table of harvest so far and the dollar amount based on prices listed at Wegmans for the organic produce (when available):

Eggplant:                          9.26 lbs            $ 27.68

Cucumbers:                      7.38 lbs            $ 10.00

Cherry Tomatoes:              4.50 lbs            $ 15.70

Zucchini:                         10.30 lbs            $ 20.60

Green Peppers:                  3.15 lbs            $ 15.71

Swiss Chards:                    2.64 lbs            $   7.36

Total                                                        $ 97.05

We started harvesting in the last week of June and in less than a month the results are here for everyone to see. There is cabbage, basil, pole beans, roma tomatoes all waiting to be harvested. So by the end of July I hope to break even.

Article originally appeared on Welcome to Above Ground Farming (
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