Thursday, March 10, 2011

March garden economics update

Well the month of February was pretty similar to the month of January and we continued to make progress both dollar and calorie wise.  February continued to be cold but with no freezing temperatures.  A lot of things were far less productive due to the freeze we had at the end of January but things still produced pretty well.  Unfortunately, all but a few of my chili pepper plants are dead due to frosts.  This will significantly hurt garden production for months to come.  But not to worry, I have planted more chili plants along with egg plant and tomatoes last week.  February was also a wetter month so I had to spend less time watering but March so far appears to be a dry one.  We'll see, hopefully we get some rain!

Here are the stats:
College garden
Shell peas 26oz, $8.06
Broccoli 15oz, $2.25
Lettuce  14oz, $3.50
Chard  14oz, $4.48
Cilantro  11oz, $2.36
Turnips  8oz, $1.20
Green onions  15oz, $2.36
Total hours: 1.5
Total calories burned: 459
Calories produced: 920
Net calories:  461

$ spent: $5.67 on seeds
$ produced: $24.20
Net $: $18.53

Home Garden
Shell peas 14oz, $4.34
Radishes  36oz, $4.79
Green onions  12oz, $2.95
Broccoli  12oz, $1.80
Beets  10oz, $3.98
Chard  16oz, $5.12
Carrots  43oz, 2.15
Total hours: 1.5
Total calories burned: 459
Calories produced: 1224

Net calories:  765
$ spent: $5.67 on seeds
$ produced: $27.92
Net $:  $22.25

Totals since October 2010
College garden: 
$ Totals: -$19.89+18.53=-$1.36
Total hours worked: 10.75
Calorie totals:-449+461=12

$ Totals: -$12.16+$22.25=$10.09
Hours worked: 13.25
Calorie totals:-1120+765=-355

So we are finally at the breaking even point.  Why has it taken so long to get to this point?  To be specific, cauliflower,  broccoli, and cabbage.  The cabbage may still produce a good harvest but the cauliflower and broccoli take up a lot of space and produce very little.  In-fact the cauliflower produces less then a little, it has produced nothing.  Also, a lot of the winter produce is has a relatively low value compared to summer crops such as eggplant and tomatoes.  I calculated the approximate amount of space being utilized with productive crops in both of my gardens and it came out to be about 60 square feet (for each garden), which means only about 30-40% of the garden is being used effectively.  If I would have been using that space with different crops I would have broken even months ago...  Oh-well.  After many years of gardening without much effort to be productive, this has been my first year making an effort to actually be productive.  But I sure have learned a lot about making a productive garden through this exercise.  This summer should be much better.

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