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Growing Tomatoes And Money

Updated on February 3, 2012

Money Doesn't Grow On Trees Or Does It?

Eight months ago, this hub would have been a very different hub, written strictly to illustrate a way to teach children (or grandchildren) how to grow money.

Now, I’m thinking, this profitable life exercise it isn’t just for a G-rated audience. Far too many adults and whole families, are now so hard pressed financially that maybe they too, could use a simple, but effective lesson in how to grow some extra cash. So, before the money tree illustration begins, let's talk about what doesn't grow on trees.

 "Money Tree," an ancient Han Dynasty Chinese sculpture.
"Money Tree," an ancient Han Dynasty Chinese sculpture. | Source

What Doesn't Grow On Trees

There will be some of us who will sit around waiting for some kind of “bailout” or “turn around.” They are those who are thinking that someone will rescue them. After all, if you listen to the news, those in power are looking out for us. However, failing to step up and take personal responsibility for your own circumstances may cost you dearly.

Now,l I'm not throwing sand in the face of current stimulus package faces, bailouts, etc. I want it all to succeed and applaud any steps in the right direction (and it just seems like some solutions aren't in the right direction).

I'm just more for living in the real world -- and that means knowing that you must help yourself first -- because in the end you are the only one, you can truly count on.

Few understand that any stimulus legislation will mean little, and make little difference in their wallets for the short term.

Long term help? Maybe.

What if a lot of it amounts to just more "feel good legislation" in the real world?

Are you willing to risk that?

If if looks good, sounds good, and makes those who gave it to us look good, and sound good -- what does that really mean when it trickles down to your home, and your family?

Let’s look at the facts:

  • If you are laid off, a mere $100 a month increase each month in unemployment compensation, is most likely still going to fall short of your rent, mortgage, or utilities. Another way of looking at it, is remember what $25 a week will only buy: 1-gallon milk; a loaf of bread; a jar of peanut butter; a jar of jelly; one roasting chicken; a dozen eggs; and a bag of potatoes. Or, simply almost a tank of gas.
  • The level of fear right now, even after this stimulus package, is so epidemic that half of America is worried about losing their jobs.

  • Tax credits are long term "next year" returns to your wallet. They may not even mean much in the grand scheme of income tax world, in what actually stays or comes into your wallet. They will not feed your family “now.”

  • Two thirds of Americans are worried about how they are going to pay their bills

  • If you are laid off, and are taking comfort in the fact that unemployment benefits have been extended to as much as 59 weeks -- don't be too gleeful. Think about what's not being said -- They are expecting people to be out of work for a long time, at least over a year, in some states.

  • It costs money upfront to install new doors, windows, or furnaces to get that fifteen hundred dollar tax break, that again, you will not see until tax time next year, if you see it at all.

  • If you are broke and unemployed, the federal government paying sixty percent of your insurance premiums will mean squat, if you can’t pay your portion.

  • Many are worried that what stimulus packages for creating jobs will be only for low paying entry level positions.

  • On average, food stamp recipients receive one hundred and thirty-two dollars a month in food stamps, per family member. An extra $18.36 per month isn’t going to fill one grocery bag at today’s prices. It also isn't going to buy you toilet paper, or light bulbs, and a host of other necessary things you can't buy with food stamps.

  • Tax credits for tuition and education related expenses, all are about “next year’s tax return.” If you aren’t earning anything, don’t be thinking you are getting this money back as a tax refund.

  • Half of all Americans do not support the already in place $700 billion bailout for the financial industry.

  • More than half of all Americans do not support the auto industry bailout.

Lemonade/lime stand - When leaving the Red Fort there was a person selling lime water, a very popular drink in India.
Lemonade/lime stand - When leaving the Red Fort there was a person selling lime water, a very popular drink in India. | Source

Forget Fresh Lemonade Stands

What if I told you that in twelve weeks time, for an investment of $120 total (over 6 weeks), you could be twenty-five hundred dollars richer, with minimal effort in terms of your personal time?

What if you could also start collecting some of that $2500 in six weeks, and give yourself a cash paycheck for each of those twelve weeks?

Now, we all know that's not a lot of money (unless you don't have it). To my way of thinking, however, it would be enough of a savings for next year's heating bill, or pay the repair bill the next time your car broke down, or bridge the gap of money vs. bills when your employer's next cut in hours happens -- and most importantly an aid to not be laying awake at night worrying about what you are going to do if you have another financial disaster.

You won't need affiliates and you won't need to build a marketing list. All you'll need is some dirt, some used containers, some seeds, used plastic such as sandwich bags, and your time.

Tomato plain and sliced (vertical, horizontal)
Tomato plain and sliced (vertical, horizontal) | Source

Tomato Math - The $2500 Plan

Container Planting 100 Tomato seeds once a week for six weeks:

  • 20 Heirloom variety tomato seeds, each week for six weeks beginning before last predicted frost of season (indoors under grow light, or in a homemade cold box, or even under plastic in a well lighted window)
  • 20 Heirloom Cherry tomato seeds, each week for six weeks beginning last predicted frost of season (indoors under grow light, or in a homemade cold box, or even under plastic in a well lighted window)
  • 30 standard popular hybrid tomato seeds, each week for six weeks beginning last predicted frost of season (indoors under grow light, or in a homemade cold box, or even under plastic in a well lighted window)
  • 30 standard popular hybrid tomato seeds (of a second type), each week for six weeks beginning last predicted frost of season (indoors under grow light, or in a homemade cold box, or even under plastic in a well lighted window)

Estimated Seed Costs:

  • $18.00 Heirloom Variety Seeds (of choice)
  • $36.00 Heirloom Variety Seeds (Cherry Tomato)
  • $28.00 Hybrid popular variety Seeds
  • $28.00 Hybrid (Cherry Tomato) popular variety seeds

Projected Plant Sales ($2,080 net):

  • 1st Heirloom Variety sold for $1.50 each ($600 gross/$582 net)
  • 2nd Heirloom Variety sold for $3.00 each ($750 gross/$714 net)
  • Hybrid Popular Variety sold for $2.00 each ($720 gross/$692 net)
  • Hybrid Popular Cherry Variety sold for $2.00 each ($720 gross/$692 net)

Sales Strategy:

  • To use recyclable discards instead of reducing profits by purchasing unnecessary plant pots, potting soil, etc.
  • Under-sell the same hybrid variety that the big box stores and garden centers were selling by $1.00
  • Start sales on weekends only after the first plantings were of decent size
  • Give the buyer something extra with a tomato growing tip sheet


The Big Tomato Lesson Plan

It all began with a boy that I was tutoring, and his expressing a big dream -- to have a brand new bike, one that his very poor family could not afford. He'd out grown the yard sale bike his single parent mom had bought. He only wanted to earn $150, which for him, might as well have been a million dollars.

I thought back on things I'd learned from my own grandmother, and I remembered her talking about growing money, and money gardens during the Great Depression. That memory planted the seed, that has evolved into teaching youngsters (and adults) lessons about how to grow money.

His mom was fond of saying, "Money doesn't grow on trees." Well, it can grow from growing trees, but money, can also grow by selling plants to gardeners and home owners in need of landscaping.

I developed a lesson plan for that young man back then, that surprised the both of us. Instead of earning the one hundred and fifty dollars he needed, he earned $600 over the summer from our project. He and his mom both burst into tears, the day he handed over the extra four hundred and fifty dollars as a gift to her. It was just enough to get them caught up in rent and prevent them from being evicted.

This early experiment was a multi-pronged lesson plan, designed to teach basic math, horticulture fundamentals, social skills in sales, and life skills in managing money.

Since I was tutoring him in reading and English, I used an unusual tool, reading a seed catalog. Not exciting material to a fourteen year old boy, but quite effective.

That year, we settled on him growing tomatoes, figuring that lots of people buy tomato plants from garden centers and nurseries. The marketing plan was to simply sell them cheaper, along with providing a tip sheet on growing better and bigger tomatoes (his English paper research results).

At the beginning of the lessons, he planted one hundred seeds per week for six weeks, using discarded food containers, dirt he dug up, and some flat grocery store boxes (the kind that canned goods come in) to house his seedling containers.

To germinate them we covered them with used sandwich bags, etc. He got very creative and even rinsed the canned goods out, poked holes in them for drainage for his plants.

To keep them from overwhelming his mother's patio, he made plant shelves out of discarded boards and concrete blocks, borrowed from a neighbor.

He sold some of them out at a local flea market, some to a ladies group at a church, cherry tomato varieties to local apartment dwellers (setting himself up in the apartment parking lot after obtaining the manager's permission), and the rest by the side of the road near a big box store.

Today, that young man has four sons of his own. He holds a Forestry Degree, working for the Department of Agriculture. He happily still grows tomatoes. He has all four of his young sons earning money each summer, growing and selling plants. They've branched out to sell other popular plants, such as peppers, flowers, and common kitchen herbs.

He reports that half of the money they earn they get to keep, and the other half goes into their college funds. His oldest boy grows trees (higher profit) year round to be sold to homeowners looking for cheap landscaping plants.

In my keepsake box, I have a treasured handwritten note. Short and simple, it says:

"Thank you for teaching me that money does grow on (tomato) trees, and that dreams can come true if you work for them."


If a fourteen year old boy can help himself, so can all of us, we just need to think, and look for financial solutions outside the "waiting for someone else to rescue us box." Maybe for some, that's outside in the garden.

In the seed shop district of Wuhan, with dozens of little shops selling all kinds of vegetable seeds.) Most seeds (such as tomato or bai cai) come in packets or cans
In the seed shop district of Wuhan, with dozens of little shops selling all kinds of vegetable seeds.) Most seeds (such as tomato or bai cai) come in packets or cans | Source

Money Gardens

Money gardens were popular during the Great Depression. In today's dollars, well-known seed sellers, like Burpee are aware of that fact. It is time that some of us, gave some serious thought about growing our own money gardens -- not for profit but for reducing our own grocery bills.

The average family spends about $1,250 a year in purchasing fruits and vegetables for their families. A well designed garden, using minimal space in the average backyard can shave off half of that retail expense, for around $10 or less in seeds.

Popular Tomato Varieties

  • Barbara Hybrid
  • Big Beef
  • Big Rainbow (Heirloom)
  • Big Zac
  • Black Krim (Heirloom)
  • Cherokee Purple (Heirloom)
  • Giant Pink (Belgium Heirloom)
  • Juliet
  • Supersteak


Tips for the Biggest and Best Tasty Tomatoes

  • Plant your tomatoes around a cage, instead of inside of it. As the plants grow, tie them to the cage for support. Use the center of the tomato cage for compost. Also, use the center for watering, taking care not to splash water on tender tomato leaves.
  • Throughout the winter, save your banana peelings in the freezer in a plastic bag. In the spring when you plant your tomatoes, trench the banana peelings below your tomato seeds or plants, with about three inches of soil between them.
  • Invest in a couple of rubber snakes and strategically place them in your tomato cages to thwart off birds intent on robbing your hard work.
  • Plant your tomato plants deep, right down to the first set of leaves. Failure to plant tomato plants deep enough is one of the biggest mistakes most newbie tomato growers make.
  • Remember this motto: Dry leaves need wet roots. Tomato plants do not like wet leaves. Tomato plants need wet roots.
  • If some lower tomato plants leaves are looking poor, snip them off to keep disease from spreading.
  • Feed your tomato plants often.
  • Control suckers (new growth between the stem and branches). Remember you only need three or four branches for prolific harvest of tomatoes.
  • Really big tomatoes are obtained by keeping your plant to only one or two main branches.
  • Don't be afraid to hand-pick bugs. It's preferable to using chemicals. The bugs are only harmful to the tomato plant and aren't harmful to humans.

Are You Living At or Below The 2009 Poverty Guidelines?

Family of One -- $10,830 (Alaska -- $13,530) (Hawaii -- $12,460)

Family of Two -- $14,570 (Alaska $18,210) (Hawaii -- $16,760)

Family of Three -- $18,310 (Alaska $22,890) (Hawaii -- $21,060)

Family of Four -- $22,050 (Alaska $27,570) (Hawaii -- $25,360)

Family of Five -- $25,790 (Alaska $32,250) (Hawaii -- $29,660)

Family of Six -- $29,530 (Alaska $36,930) (Hawaii -- $33,960)

Family of Seven -- $33,270 (Alaska $41,620) (Hawaii -- $38,260)

Family of Eight -- $37,010* (Alaska $46,290) (Hawaii - $42,560)

*Each additional person over a family of 8 -- add $3,740 in the 48 states; $4,300 in Alaska and Hawaii.

Growing a Tomato Garden for Health and Wealth

Money Tree
Money Tree | Source

Tomato Truths: 101

How To Prune Tomatoes


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    • Julie McM profile image

      Julie McM 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Great story and tips for growing tomatoes. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      9 years ago from United States

      Thanks yogeshverma! I tend to be wordy.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      omg, how big the article is this. i must say that u r great writer. thanks

    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      10 years ago from United States

      Thanks nicomp! Good luck with your plant.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      10 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Inspiring tomato advice. I'll start with one plant and follow your growing guidance. Thanks.

    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      10 years ago from United States

      Thanks brohhma!

    • brohhma profile image


      10 years ago


    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      10 years ago from United States

      Thanks Whikat! It's a wonderful lesson with many lessons within it -- not the least of which is teaching them self-reliance and understanding what goes into the food we eat in terms of growing it.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Great Hub! This is a fun thing I can do with my kids and teach them about expense vs profit. Thanks for the informative hub.

    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      10 years ago from United States

      Thanks Abhishek87! You raise some valid points,ones that I think are worthy of a hub. Let me think on this, and talk to some fellow master gardeners. I spend time in Asia (Singapore and Hong Kong mostly) so I some ideas.

    • Abhishek87 profile image


      10 years ago from India

      Great hub Jerilee :)

      My  problem though is similar to Anamika's . I come from a part (India), where I don't know I'll be able to implement it successfully or not. Not that its not being done here but you just don't see at household levels. 

      What I would like to know is, since I have no idea about gardening or horticulture, How do i go about working on it? I know there are books and videos but honestly, they are for the western audience and I don't know whether I'll be able to use them down here. 

    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      10 years ago from United States

      Thanks Anamika S! Indeed, there are some places where this would be difficult, still not impossible.

    • Anamika S profile image

      Anamika S Jain 

      10 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

      Cool Hub! Now i know money can Grow On Trees! I like the idea of vegetable gardens. But unfornunately in places like where i live it's difficult to do that.

    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      10 years ago from United States

      Thanks cindyvine! I have a feeling you could write some great gardening hubs too.

    • cindyvine profile image

      Cindy Vine 

      10 years ago from Cape Town

      Thanks Jerilee, you reminded me how I always used to grow my own vegetables. Even in the sterile Namib desert, I used to buy bags of human manure from the sewage plant and would grow all kinds of tomatoes without ever planting a seed myself. Humans don't digest tomato pips. You have inspired me to take seeds with me when I move to Tanzania later on in the year.

    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      10 years ago from United States

      Thanks Florida Keys! You are so right. Yes, I too highly recommend the Seed Savers Exchange.

    • Florida Keys profile image

      Florida Keys 

      10 years ago from Jewfish Key Florida

      First let me say that I HATE tomatoes, but I LOVED your hub. I grew up on a farm and we raised almost everything we ate. No running water, an outhouse and so on. Believe me we knew how to survive and thrive. Today I still love watching plants grow and enjoy the fruits of the harvest. I even plant a tomato plant or two. Biggest lesson is don't whine and complain about what life has thrown at you...get out there and do something about it. Have you seen Seed Savers Exchange catalog?

    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      10 years ago from United States

      Thanks Art West! I try to be as informative as I can.

    • Art West profile image

      Art West 

      10 years ago from Indiana

      Good article. A lot of information in there.

    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      10 years ago from United States

      Thanks gss! Change is always painful.

    • gss profile image


      10 years ago from Florida

      This is excellent food for thought ... no pun intended. We are in for a paradigm shift in this country and it is more than a little scary. thks.

    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      10 years ago from United States

      Thanks Amanda Severn! I couldn't agree with you more. These days I think they only teach home economics for 9 weeks in one grade in many schools, if that. Everyone needs to be taught basic life skills and whole generations have been skipped in this since the 1960s.

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 

      10 years ago from UK

      Hi Jerilee

      We grow tomatoes in a pot outside our front door each year, and very handy they are too. Living in a terraced Victorian house with a pocket handkerchief garden back and front, there's not too much potential for being totally self-sufficient, but it's certainly an idea I would aspire to if I had a bigger space. I think we all have to unlearn the past twenty-thirty years of consumer driven lunacy, and start to regain some of the old skills that seem to have been lost along the wayside. Too many younger people never learn how to cook, sew, make simple household repairs, or balance a family budget. These are all skills that will soon be in big demand. Perhaps the baby-boomers still have the edge after all!

    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      10 years ago from United States

      Thanks shawna wilson! You are absolutely on the right garden path. Besides being healthier, cleaner, saving on groceries -- you are also not using gas to go buy food that you can grow yourself.

    • shawna.wilson profile image


      10 years ago from Arizona

      Wonderful hub! I planted my first winter vegetable garden last September, and I have harvested so much already. Lots of lettuce and snow peas, a few tomatoes, some broccoli. We also planted three fruit trees in the fall that will hopefully produce this year. I love the idea of being able to walk out to the yard and pick my own food. Not only does it save on groceries, I know it's healthier/cleaner than what I'd buy at the store.

    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      10 years ago from United States

      Thanks Aya!  I didn't think you were critizing my student, but thought if the subject of taxes was going to come up, I'd better clarify what the scoop was on that.  Bill's had his issues with the IRS over the years, so I deliberately don't spout off about taxes, and my own disgust with the system that was only supposed to be "temporary" and ended up being a permanent drain on it's cash cows. 

      I usually stay away from the economy, because I'm so jaded from past jobs and knowing more than I should about what goes on behind the scenes.  Then, there is Bill's 1st cousin who is a Congressman.  I could get a lot of comments and a high hubscore with what I could say, probably should say -- but not sure it's be worth it.  So, for that reason I've limited my big mouth to just trying to give a hand up to those who are desperately searching for solutions to their personal world of finance.  Some of the hubs I'll do over the next few months won't be so ag related, but will focus on marketing skills because in my mind knowing how to market yourself, your ideas, your products might be of help to some readers.

      I'm in complete agreement with you on the tax cuts across the board and the implications to the value of the dollar.  Outside the US borders, the world has changed dramatically. I think one of my fears, is that most Americans don't get what it's going to take to keep a place at the world's dinner table -- probably because they are too busy trying to make sure there is something on their own dinner table.


    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 

      10 years ago from The Ozarks

      Jerilee, glad to see that your hub is generating interesting conversation, not just about botany and marketing, but also about the economy.

      BTW, my comment about taxes was not meant as a criticism of your student. I think it's disgraceful that the law requires people to pay social security taxes when they have hardly any income at all. Back when I was practicing law in Texas in the 1980s, if I had as much $400.00 of profit from my business, then I had to pay self employment taxes. Does it make sense to take money away from someone who only made $400 in a year? We need serious tax reform.

      In response to JKFrancis's observation: "All you have to do is get laid off your job to find out that your savings go only so far and within six months you'll be glad to get any help anyone would provide." That's assuming that you have only a six month's worth of savings. Some people live so frugally that on a very small salary, they manage to save many years' worth. If the stimulus package causes massive inflation, those savings will be destroyed. This is why there is indeed a conflict of interest between people with savings and people with debt.

      In the interest of finding a solution that is good for both groups, it would be wise to cut taxes across the board, while maintaining the value of the dollar.

    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      10 years ago from United States

      Thanks stevenschenck! Don't limit yourself to tomatoes. Common landscaping plants that people buy in the spring, summer, and fall sold under what the local big box stores sell them for work well for this market. As do, growing popular varieties of trees.

    • stevenschenck profile image


      10 years ago from Sacramento California

      Wow - I enjoyed this one very much and with my extra land that would be a good use for generating some income.

    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      10 years ago from United States

      Thanks Susan M! Be looking for those hubs in the next few weeks as I'm almost finished with some of them.

      Thanks jkfrancis! You raise some very valid points. For me, I focused this hub on encouraging others to help themselves, while the country and the rest of the world dig themselves out of the mess we are in.

      Personally, my own rose colored glasses fell off a long time ago as I was a long time Washingtonian, working as a lobbyist and for 4 different congressmen. I know that we are going to have to dig a lot deeper to solve complex issues. Any steps should be in the right direction and certainly are better than none.

      Thanks daveearly!

      Thanks for the link ajbarnett! I'm doing my best to encourage people to think and be proactive for their own good.

      Thanks BrianS! I'm going to be exploring other easy self help models that work.

    • BrianS profile image

      Brian Stephens 

      10 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

      Great subject for these trying times and something pretty much anyone can do. I have favorited this for future reference.

    • ajbarnett profile image


      10 years ago from Costa Blanca, Spain

      As usual, a great hub, Jerilee. Congratulations for bringng such a simple idea to light.

      I'm sure many people throughout the world will pick up on this and help themselves a little, instead of relying so heavily on state handouts.

      I'll be putting a link to this from my blog because I think it's important.

    • daveearley profile image


      10 years ago from San Antonio, Texas

      A good idea, especially for something to do as a family.

      P.S. That tomato could feed a whole family!

    • jkfrancis profile image


      10 years ago

      As much as I'm all for growing your own food I have to disagree with you about the "bailouts." There are more people employed than unemployed. The plan isn't to make everyone as comfortable financially as possible, it's to get some money flowing through the system.

      There's been a negative response to tax savings, saying the savings will only be $13.00 a weekly paycheck and everyone knows that 13 bucks is next to nothing - when you are only looking at one paycheck. But multiply that by the number of people who will get that 13 bucks and you see a different picture.

      For example, there are 150 townhomes in my townhome complex. If every household earned only one paycheck and got $13 a week, that's$1,950 a week and $101,400 a year. Multiply that $1,950 a week times all the employed households in the US and you get a much better idea of the potential. That's for only 150 employed people. It would be twice that if both husband and wife worked.

      Another comment that is going around (not in your hub) is that the people who will be getting help with their mortgages is a slap in the face for those who aren't behind. "After all," I've heard, "why should we who did what we were supposed to do (be able to make our mortgage payments) help those who didn't?" How short-sighted! All you have to do is get laid off your job to find out that your savings go only so far and within six months you'll be glad to get any help anyone would provide. We don't live in a vacuum. In some way we are all dependent on others to some degree.

      So, yes I agree with you, work smart and do what you can to save/earn bucks, but the bailout plan is better than just waiting around for things to get worse.

    • profile image

      Susan M 

      10 years ago

      I look forward to your hub on sustainable gardens for different size families. We are a family of three (two adults and a teenager) and I would love advice about that before spring! We are thinking of doing raised beds because our soil is very sandy here....This was a very informative hub - thanks for all of the information!

    • Jerilee Wei profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerilee Wei 

      10 years ago from United States

      Thanks Aya -- Well, as you know there is a concept of "right answers."  That certainly applies to authority figures, laws, and governmental agencies, such as the IRS.  By law, he should have reported his income, maybe.  His earnings were separate from his mother's.  He didn't earn enough in a year to file taxes is my guess.  Just like the kids who earn money mowing lawns, babysitting, etc.  I never asked, although we did talk about taxes in the lesson.

      Then, there is the raw reality of the every day Americans who live on or near the edge of poverty and lower middle class truths.  My guesstimate would be that probably as much as half the people in the U.S. don't report cash earnings, much to the dismay of the government.  Right or wrong that is the real world.

      Many are so poor, that if they report what they earn they risk losing much needed governmental assistance, because by some magic number "they now have earned too much."

      There are many who it simply wouldn't occur to even think that they should report this income.  There are many who know, but aren't going to do it anyway because they need the money too bad themselves.  Then, there are a growing number of people who don't report cash income, because they have a real problem with how their tax dollar is used.  I don't have it in me to judge any of them.

      Bartering is great, but it's fallen out of favor since the 1970s.  I think it's long due for a come-back.

      I'm going to do a hub (or more) soon on ways to plant and plan a sustainable garden that meets the different sizes of families.  One that anyone can do without a natural or trained green thumb, or a huge amount of land.  And also plan on some hubs on what to do with excess harvest.

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 

      10 years ago from The Ozarks

      Jerilee, a very instructive hub! I admire your ability to teach not just how to grow things, but how to market and sell them, too. I have zero marketing skills. Last summer, we had a surplus of fruit, and I did eventually sell some to the local store, but it was mere pocket change. If we had canned it, we would probably have been better off. (But I hate canned fruit.)

      I am also looking into boosting my family's self reliance, although I'm not thinking of translating what we grow into dollars in order to buy things. I just want to be able to be more self-sufficient, and be able to buy less from other people. There are my poor marketing skills to contend with, but also I don't want to incur any income tax obligation. Which brings me to another question:

      Did your student have to file an income tax return that year? Did he have to pay social security taxes on the money he made? If he had instead been able to provide his mother with groceries he had grown himself, then none of that would have been subject to tax.

      I believe part of the evils of big government spring from our having to pay each other with money, which is easy to tax. When we start to barter, instead, the dead weight in the system will drop off pretty fast.


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