ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Is Having a Garden and Growing Your Own Vegetables Worth It?

Updated on July 21, 2009

As the availability of fresh produce has increased in the grocery stores over the past few decades, gardening has decreased. As the recession has dragged on, gardening has made a come back. As the organic movement has taken root in the United States more and more people are starting to grow their own foods. I love seeing this! But many people still don't think it is worth it. The $64 Tomato by William Alexander that was published in 2006 didn't do much to help the gardening cause. So I have been keeping track of my harvest this year to determine if growing your own fruits and vegetables is really worth it.

While I can't say that gardening is easy, I do know that it shouldn't be hard. Honestly, it is up to you how much money you want to spend on your garden and how much time you want to invest in growing your own food. The more time you have the larger your garden can be. The more money you have the fancier it can be, but fancy doesn't grow vegetables. Vegetables need three things; sun, water and good soil. The good soil is where gardening will impact your wallet the most I have found. BUT if you can get good soil you will get repaid ten times over in good vegetables.

If you are just starting in the home grown food business, amending the soil is the key to getting a good start. It is so important to have good soil. Depending on how large your garden is going to be, you will either need to have soil trucked in or buy bags of peat moss and compost to get the soil going. Also depending on how large your garden is you will either need to mix all this dirt in by hand or borrow or rent a tiller. But if you have soil like us, which I question whether it can really be called soil because it is nothing but roots and clay, you might prefer to make raised beds. This will be your priciest option; however you will have an amazing harvest right from the start.

Looking back to our first year, we spent right around $100 to get our four raised beds started. This included boards, soil, fencing and all seeds and plants. We ate our fill of tomatoes and cucumbers for three months, way more than $100 worth if I had bought those foods at the store or farmer's market. This was also our most time consuming year, but I found it still to be worth it.

The second year we gardened here I spent around $50 on seeds and plants and we added two more boxes. Again we harvested wonderful fresh vegetables for three months; all we could eat and I canned some. This year we added a potato box, got six bags of manure and six bags of compost, and bought all plants and seeds for under $100. I have already harvested that amount in peas, green beans, lettuce, cucumbers and radishes from my garden and it is only the middle of July. I price compared everything I have picked to the farmer's market and the tomatoes haven't even turned red yet and I have made my money back.

Gardening is an investment in time and money. There is a commitment involved. You have to take care of the plants if they are to grow. But most people are around enough to keep things watered and weeded. There are ways to keep the weeds down and ways to make sure your garden gets watered even if you aren't around. You can make your garden as small or as big as you want and you can grow whatever you want.

There are also ways to keep the costs down. Making your own compost will help on the soil amending side of things. Growing your own plants from seeds will help lower costs on the plant side. Some people choose to grow the pricier vegetables they like to buy at the grocery store. This is certainly one way to get the most bang for your buck. I prefer to grow the items I buy the most of at the store. It means fewer trips to the store and while I might save a smaller amount of money per tomato, I figure the quantity of tomatoes we eat will generate plenty of savings for us.

If you have no land for a garden, try a container garden. A tomato plant in a pot can give you fresh tomatoes for several months. I have a pot with three different herbs in them, all we need and easy as can be. I even know someone who put a raised bed on her deck, so that she could grow her own food. You can even grow some plants in upside down hanging baskets if you really have no space on the ground. These are perfect for apartments.

Foods are so much fresher and fuller of nutrients when they are picked right from the vine and put on your table in a matter of minutes. For me, that alone makes it worth it. But from purely a financial aspect of things, it has always been a money saver for us to grow some of our own foods. If you are interested in growing your own food you can rest assured that if you put the time and effort into it, it will be worth it.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • LongTimeMother profile image


      5 years ago from Australia

      Growing my own vegetables is definitely worth it. I've just had one of my biggest harvests ever. There will be no empty bellies in our house this year. :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I had a desire to start my own company, but I did not earn enough amount of money to do it. Thank goodness my fellow told to utilize the business loans. So I took the commercial loan and made real my dream.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      7 years ago from Wales

      A great hub,so interesting and very well presented.

      We only have a paved patio but we grow many fruit and vegetables in pots.

      I vote this one up without a doubt.

      Take care and have a great day.


    • profile image

      Medical Alert Necklace 

      7 years ago

      great hub..planting your own vegetable is a nice thing to do..!

    • Deadsearose profile image


      7 years ago

      If the only benefit I have from gardening is the pride of feeding my family food that we grew in our own backyard, it's totally worth it! Nice Hub.

    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A Johnson 

      7 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      The taste and availability of fresh veggies and the satisfaction of growing my own are the best benefits for me.

    • winepress profile image


      7 years ago

      I remember my father had a garden where we got most of our vegetables. I learned a lot from him, i can turn soil and water plants, I even learned planting techniques.

      Having a garden saves money and it's a very good thing.


    • GreenerGreener profile image


      7 years ago from

      Gardening can be frustrating but it can be so rewarding too.

      When you taste fresh veggies straight from your own garden it's all worth it.

      And it really doesn't have to cost very much.

    • Victoria Stephens profile image

      Victoria Stephens 

      7 years ago from London

      I love growing my own veg but have got to invest into some kind of coverage this year that stops the foxes and squirrels eating it all before I

    • billrobinson profile image


      7 years ago from CA, USA

      I've always liked to have a vegetable garden, but just don't have the time. I appreciate the inputs. Thanks!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for the good information on raising home grown food and encouraging others.

      I'm an avid vegetable grower and will grow any veg seed I can lay my hands on.

      During the Spring of this year I had the opportunity to swop some seeds. All grew very well.

      This year I saved seeds for the first time on a committed basis with a view to only growing them next year.

      However, I must confess to looking at seed sites for next year and I am tempted to buy some already. The unusual, heritage and anything different always gets my interest.

      As you say the soil preparation is very important, lots of compost etc.

      Seaweed is good too and can be applied during the winter months under black plastic, if you can bear it and let the worms do their business of breaking it down into the soil.

      The resultant harvest is well worth the investment of time and effort. In my area some of us gather in an allotment where we spend long hours pottering around our individual plots swopping ideas and encouraging each other.

      Home grown veggies taste the best. It's quite difficult to go back to store bought veggies after a bountiful tasty harvest of one's own.

      Thanks again for your encouragement.

    • dwebdesigner profile image


      8 years ago from Australia

      Great Hub, vegetable gardening is easy to do once you understand the concept. For great information on veggie gardening, go to:

    • profile image

      wooden garden sheds 

      8 years ago

      I love growing veg and flowers together and having a shed to keep everything tidy really helps

    • Dave Pinkney profile image

      Dave Pinkney 

      8 years ago from United Kingdom

      I've only just found this hub, and what a hub of information it is. A great read and I'm hoping I can write a great hub to link to it. Many thanks.

    • Doreen Beech profile image

      Doreen Beech 

      8 years ago from London

      Excellent Hub, thanks for this. I've always wanted to grow my own veggies and this has given me that little bit more of an insight into how to do it properly. Thanks again

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have to agree that growing your own veggies is worth it. Besides the obvious health benefits from controlling what is used to help your plants grow, and the fact that they taste better from straight off the vine, working in the garden can be therapuetic. I find no greater pleasure after a long day of work than going into the garden for some R&R. Good Read!

    • profile image

      Indoor Greenhouse Guy 

      8 years ago

      Hi Jennifer, great hub you've created here. I'm always trying to talk people into growing their own vegetables in their own backyard! I think its such a healthy and worthwhile hobby that the whole family can get involved in. Moreover you know the fruit and veg that reaches the table is clean of chemicals and is as natural as it can be.

    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 

      8 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      I grow my own garden every year. I love to work outside and the veggies taste great! Getting ready to start doing up my tomatoes.

    • Dobson profile image


      8 years ago from Virginia

      I will always garden because i prefer the taste of my own vegetables over those at the store no matter the cost. Being able to walk out the door and gather fresh potatoes, corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, peppers, cantaloupe, watermelon and more anytime I like is worth all the effort it requires. Oh yes, I also meant to include the beans!. Great article Jennifer!

    • HealthyHanna profile image


      8 years ago from Utah

      I have wondered if gardening was worth it. We spend way too much planting, and I can't see that my food bill drops much...but then we have a lot more mouths to feed in the summer. I do like have fresh vegetables, ...and who knows what the impact they have on my health. Prevention is always hard to measure.

    • liswilliams profile image


      8 years ago from South Africa

      you right, sometimes you don't realize the cost of soil and a few extras, but nothing beats fresh veg. You know exactly what goes in

    • EugeneGaw profile image


      8 years ago

      I agree with Jyoti Kothari about staying away from pesticides. I found a company, Safer Brand, which makes an organic insect killer for tomatoes.

      Here's the spray:

    • Dobson profile image


      8 years ago from Virginia

      This article raises some great points. I know people who would not dare garden because it can be labor intensive, but I love it. It has become a regular part of my Spring routine.

      You did a great job here, i can see why you have so many followers. i will be reading more of your hubs!

    • Habby profile image


      8 years ago from College Station, Texas

      Great hub! Reminds me of a friend in town whom I admire who has he same kind of boxes in her backyard. I know you probably eat most of the veggies yourself, but have you ever thought of selling them or doing a co-op with others who also garden? (Sorry if this was already said in the other comments.)

    • Julie McM profile image

      Julie McM 

      8 years ago from Southern California

      Great hub! I definitely believe vegetable gardening is worth the time and effort. Getting started is the hardest work, and takes some time to do it right. Once it is done, caring for the garden is not difficult, and the harvest is so fun and delicious.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I never thought about gardening until we moved into a house with a big garden. Now, I've been gardening for years, and couldn't imagine living without the vegetables we grow. And with today’s economy, when everyone is looking for ways to cut expenses, I'm really glad i have my garden.

    • britishbirdlover profile image


      8 years ago from London, UK

      Interesting hub. I think there's so much pleasure from growing your own product and that is one of the most important things for me.

    • ajcor profile image


      8 years ago from NSW. Australia

      I enjoyed the hub Jennifer - and thought to point out another couple of pluses which are the savings you make with growing your own vegetables and herbs and flowers. Less travel, from garden to table certainly saves all those food miles on the road and time spent sitting around in cold storage, the food tastes better, remains fresher and literally lasts longer ....cheers

    • esamples profile image


      9 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Great hub! Just wanted to inject a tid bit. Remember if you are fairly new to garening that the placement of your garden as well as the plants that you grow there and their relivance to direct sunlite or crucial to good gardening just as much as the soil conditions, so study the invisioned placement first at different times of the day then research each plant type that you want to plant on the amount of sunlite that it requires. Also some plants do not grow well together ex. green beans and tomatoes do not like each other so space them relatively far apart! Hope this helps someone! Earl Samples

    • EmpressFelicity profile image


      9 years ago from Kent, England, UK

      This year was the first year I seriously tried to grow vegetables in our tiny back garden (before then I had a few pots of herbs, but not much more than that). I would say that it was definitely worth it in terms of the enjoyment and exercise I got out of it. The biggest money saver for me was growing salad leaves such as rocket and baby spinach, which are very expensive to buy in the shops. It's also a real buzz being able to make a civilised light lunch out of home grown salad leaves, tomatoes, chives and parsley, supplemented by things like olives/ham/bread/cheese/tuna/hard boiled eggs.

      My biggest expense by far is potting compost. I am making my own compost now though, so hopefully I can reduce the amount of potting compost I buy.

    • brian-mba profile image


      9 years ago from Ellicott City, MD

      get family together and growing own vegetable, tomatos are price less...thanks for great hub

    • create a page profile image

      create a page 

      9 years ago from Maryland, USA

      Great writing. I am even more convinced that I need to have a vegetable and fruit garden. I think I will do better with an indoor garden though.

    • Chris1|Chris2 profile image


      9 years ago from Los Angeles

      Great hub. There's also a lot to be said for the spiritual benefits of growing a garden. My mother kept a beautiful flower garden throughout my childhood, and it was always fascinating to see how she could come home, stressed and tired from work, but as soon as she'd come inside from a couple hours of tending to her plants, she would be feeling great.

      The extra food that comes with gardening veggies is great too, lol

    • Shelly McRae profile image

      Shelly McRae 

      9 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      We have both a soil garden and a hydroponic garden. Growing your own herbs alone saves money... and the veggies taste so much better.

    • Chelles profile image


      9 years ago

      I was wondering this myself and I think it is. We are growing a ton of things in containers in our garden: even pumpkins!

    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

      Jyoti Kothari 

      9 years ago from Jaipur

      Hi Jennifer,

      This is useful in this particular time of recession. Moreover you are sure that you are getting really fresh and without chemicals and pesticides.

      Growing own has its own taste.

      Thanks for a good hub. I rated this up!

      Jyoti Kothari

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      9 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Simple answer......yes it is worth having a garden and growing your own vegetables and herbs. Some years are better than others...but we can always count on some fresh herbs to brighten up our dishes.

    • 2patricias profile image


      9 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

      Interesting Hub, as I had never considered the cost of soil. I have been working on my garden, which is mostly flowers, for 20+years. All that time I have made my own compost and dug it into the soil, or sometimes just spread it on top as a mulch. But from time to time I have purchased peat-free compost and have never really factored int the cost.

      Regards growing vegetable: I only grow those that I love the taste of when they are truly fresh - so tomato plants take up a lot of space for me. I usually grow some carrots. Never mind the money saved, they taste so wonderful it is worth the time, sweat, effot - and probably the money.

      Thanks for an interesting hub.

    • simplyjo profile image


      9 years ago

      Interesting Hub :) Keep em coming.

      Do check out mine too ! Thx.

    • profile image

      Kim Garcia 

      9 years ago

      I have my own herb garden every spring and summer. It has been well worth the trouble as I grow many herbs that are difficult to find at the local grocery store, especially in a small town. Many of my herbs have medicinal purposes and are extremely beneficial in many ways!! Keep up the great hubs!!

      Be Blessed!


    • andromida profile image

      syras mamun 

      9 years ago

      I wish I could live in woods.I have a lovely garden in my yard and thinking of making a container garden.Thanks for sharing excellent tips.

    • wesleycox profile image


      9 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      I have grown a garden a few years back. It was about ten rows of veggie. I grew corn, potatoes, green beans on the bush, carrots, and I tried lettuce but failed with that one. That was some fine eating and the work took like ten minutes per night. Great hub, thanks for sharing.

    • suziecat7 profile image


      9 years ago from Asheville, NC

      I live in the woods but always manage to grow both flowers and vegetables in the sunny areas available - many in containers. Is it worth it? Heck yeah. Even if my yield isn't all that abundant, the joy I get from it is priceless.

    • shawna.wilson profile image


      9 years ago from Arizona

      Thanks for the inspiration. I gave up on my summer garden this year, mostly out of laziness, but I plan on trying again with a winter garden.

    • advisor4qb profile image


      9 years ago from On New Footing

      I tried my hand at gardening. I don't think I was intended to grow anything, except children.

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 

      9 years ago from New Brunswick

      The soil is the thing and that can be costly if you need to buy it. I speak from experience, this year was the first in sometime I had to buy soil, for large container garden.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)