Sunday, March 1, 2009


2 x 18 gallon sterilite bins @ $4.99 each= $9.98
2 x 54 in Heavy Duty Tomato Cage @ $3.99 each = $7.98
1 7 in round pond plant basket @ $1.65 each = $1.65
1 bag miracle grow potting soil (because its easiest) @ $10.85 = $10.85

total cost for 1 18 gal SWC = $ 30.46 or $22.48 without the tomato cages

This isnt counting the pvc pipe, fertilizer or clips to attatch the tomato cages with.

now the hair raising part. Multiply this by 10 ( I already have bins for 5) and the cost is $304.60 for my "money saving tomato garden". hmpf.

if I want to do an entirely SWC garden I need another 15 containers for peppers, eggplant, beans, herbs, tomatillos, cucumbers, and salad greens. thats another $337.20

total cost of an all SWC garden: $641.80

can justify this with: " Do I spend more then $54 a month buying fresh produce?" and the answer is usually yes.

If I buy my potting soil in bulk from the soil depot the cost goes down to less then $3 per SWC in dirt, lowering the total cost to $226 for the tomato containers only and $445 for a completly SWC garden.

Cost of the 'raised bed' garden:

lumber & drip irrigation from lowes ( including a 10% off total coupon): $293. 82
4 ft x 100 ft roll of galv 1/2 in mesh: $169
100 ft roll of floating row cover: $40
cost of 256 c f or 12 c.y. planting mix: $1,872 if I buy bagged peat/coir/vermiculite/compost and mix it myself, holy shit what a markup on buying the stuff in bags!

or, buy vaggie garden soil form the soil depot @ $22 a cubic yard and the cost is $264

I'll assume the cheaper cost.

total cost of a new raised bed garden: $766.82

so far I have already spent ( that I can recall off the top of my head, yikes):

$45 in light fixtures
$40 for the 5 shelf unit
$18 in light bulbs
$50 for 10 18 gal containers
$150 in seeds & starts
$50 in seed starting trays w/ covers, seed starting mix
$150 in vermiculite, potting soil, compost, peat moss
$80 in amendments bone meal, blood meal, lime, 14-14-14, sure start, B1 transplanting solution, osmocote, liquid 4-4-4 for seedling trays

ugh, I'm so pissed at myself that I have already spent so much for this damn garden and I dont even have a place to plant anything yet. UGH! This has been my 'stress shopping', bad, bad Cindy!


Sinfonian said...

Let me say the tomato cages are very helpful to hold the weight of the vines. They don't have to be heavy duty, just there. Forget the clips, just stab them down into the "dirt". Though installing a trellis between the two tomato plants helps to train the vines out onto. That's what I did.

As far as a full garden of SWCs, that's just crazy talk, hehe. They supplement a garden well for things that take up way too much room, despite the fact you can grow anything in them. Make sense?

I get that the cost of raised beds and swcs and trellises and dirt to fill them all are costly. There are ways around that. Heck, you can garden for free if you want to double dig raised beds (without wood) and plant everything in native soil, heavily amended with compost. Shoot me an email if you'd like to chat about that option, or anything in between.

That said, I spent a fortune on my beds and SWCs, and don't regret it because it's an investment that will pay off for years to come. Of course I get your situation. I'd love to help you out.

PA said...

Hi... thanks for doing the calculation, Ive wondered about this.

Dont forget though... that your garden "start-up" costs are for the first year only. Second year the cost is minimal! And if you save seeds from your tomato harvest, you dont have to spend anything!

Also.. I highly recommed this staking product --
Its much much much better and easier than the cages, which often fall over and break branches.

Good luck!