Crackerjack Greenback Prudent Advice for a Prosperous Future

November 3, 2008

Double Your Money with This Investment

Filed under: Frugality,Gardening,Saving Money — Paul Williams @ Crackerjack Greenback @ 1:45 pm

       In a time of economic uncertainty (or any time for that matter), it would be nice to find an investment where you can double your money. What if I told you this investment also has extra side benefits of making you healthier and fitter? Ready to sign up?

Start Digging

Vegetable Garden by Southern Foodways Alliance on Flickr       The investment I’m talking about is a garden. The home garden has lost its popularity since the Victory Gardens in World Wars I and II, but with increasing food prices we’re seeing a new-found appreciation for the humble home garden. Growing your own food gives you a sense of accomplishment, gets you outside and off the couch, provides you with fresh and healthy food, and can save you a good chunk of money all at the same time.

So How Can a Garden Double My Money?

       J.D. Roth at Get Rich Slowly has been tracking all of his and his wife’s work, expenses, and produce in their garden since the beginning of this year. You can read the background of this project and find all of his monthly gardening updates here.

       In his October update, J.D. realized he and his wife have roughly doubled their financial investment in their garden this year. J.D. even admits they haven’t been conducting this as a formal experiment to see just how much they could save by having a garden. He and his wife have been hobby gardening for quite some time and have their own (admittedly non-frugal) ways of doing things. If you set out to have a frugal garden, I would venture to say you could easily triple your financial investment.

Start Small

Square Foot Garden Bed by mlwhitt on Flickr       If you’ve never gardened before, I highly recommend you start small. This past year I started my own small garden using Square Foot Gardening techniques as taught by Mel Bartholomew. You can find out more on the Square Foot Gardening website or by borrowing the Square Foot Gardening book from your local library. I had a lot of fun with this project, and it was fairly easy. The hardest part was setting up my boxes, but I had the benefit of very few weeds all summer long.

       You can get a good amount of produce (for 1 person) with as little space as 4′ x 8′. If you don’t have much space at all (apartment-dwellers), then you can look into container gardening. Trust me, you’ll enjoy your efforts when you’re pulling off fresh tomatoes in the summer!

       Now is a great time to start reading up and planning for next spring. You can find plenty of free information online and at your library. So dig in and get ready to double or triple your money!


  1. I started a garden this year too, a patio one with my wife, and it’s been a lot of fun. It’s been a loss for us because we bought too many plants and had to buy a lot of planters for the first time, but that just means we’ll have a bounty next year! 🙂

    Comment by jim — November 3, 2008 @ 6:18 pm

  2. Jim,

    Yes, the initial costs can be high, but then you get to reuse a lot of materials the second year and later on. I think the first year may often be a loss or wash for most people, but from then on you’re usually going to do pretty well. It just depends on how frugal you try to be while doing it! But it shouldn’t just be a financial decision because it does require a time commitment and there are intangible benefits that you can’t put a $ to.

    Thanks for the comment! I enjoy your blog greatly, so I’m very happy to see you reading mine!!! 🙂

    Comment by Crackerjack Greenback — November 3, 2008 @ 10:41 pm

  3. Yeah, I figure if I was really serious about bookkeeping I could amortize the cost of the planters over 10 years or something (maybe 5, just to be conservative about it) but that’s really not my goal.

    But like you said, the best part about gardening is eating your own stuff and eating stuff that simply tastes better than what you can get in the store. I see the time spent as therapeutic so it’s really not “work.” 🙂

    I poke around the interwebs from time to time, thank you for your compliments.

    Comment by jim — November 3, 2008 @ 11:29 pm

  4. Funny, I have never considered myself a green thumb, but I like your thoughts here. Do you have any recommendations for winter ( inside ) gardening? I have seen some things with tomatoes, but I truly know nothing about this subject.

    Comment by Joshua — November 7, 2008 @ 10:30 pm

  5. @Joshua:

    I don’t actually have any experience with winter (inside) gardening. If you have access to enough light (a southern window), maybe you could try some container gardening techniques. If your house stays warm enough for the type of plant you’re growing, you should be able to grow it. The plants don’t really care what the season is – the conditions just need to be right to grow it. Maybe lettuces, spinach, radishes, carrots, or onions could be a small start. You could try tomatoes or peppers if you have big enough pots and a good spot.

    Let me know if you try any of those suggestions!

    Comment by Paul Williams @ Crackerjack Greenback — November 7, 2008 @ 10:45 pm

  6. Is that a picture of your garden in the second photo? Marvin is convinced we can’t grow a garden in Florida because of the sandy soil. But from that picture, you could actually use potting soil or one of the soils that have a slow release fertilizer. I’ll have to show it to him and maybe we can put out something small behind the swimming pool. I think we could get 2 growing seasons per year.

    Comment by Peggy — December 7, 2008 @ 6:00 am

  7. No, that’s not my garden, but it does look very similar. You can definitely grow a garden in FL using Square Foot Gardening. I’ll show you all my garden when you’re here. 🙂

    Comment by Paul Williams @ Crackerjack Greenback — December 7, 2008 @ 10:40 pm

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