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Decision about my $20 Challenge!

January 2nd, 2007 at 04:45 pm

I've decided what my $20 challenge will be. I am going grow some produce at home for the first time ever. I am ashamed to admit that I have wanted to do this and have even felt I should do this for about 17 years but just never did for a variety of reasons:
- With my former job, I was travelling for most of the growing season (this is really the only legitimate excuse and it ended with my former job 4-1/2 years ago).
- I have been just plain lazy about it, or just did not get my act together in time to get things in the ground.
- I have been scard off by stories about how people end up spending so much money on their gardens that it becomes a money pit instead of a money saver. [A neighbor of mine quipped when I commented on his wife's delicious home grown tomatoes ... They only cost $300 apiece, but for you a special deal at $250!]

This Challenge is the perfect impetus for me to not only finally do this, but to see just how cheaply it can be done by a total rookie! I won't be able to get carried away buying fancy, unnecessary things for the garden --- not if I'm going to stick to the $20 in "seed money" (pun intended).

Here is my timeline:
- Jan & Feb = Learn about container gardening, decide what I will try to grow, and start scrounging for free stuff around the house that I can use. [During this time I'll park the $20 in an MMA and let it earn a bit of interest.]
- Mar & Apr = Order seeds. Start growing seedlings inside.
- May onward = Transplant seedlings outside, tend the garden, then harvest the goodies and add up the value of what I've grown.
- October onward = We are planning to move around Oct. 1st, so hopefully everything will be harvested by then. I will probably just have to park my money in an MMA again and let it earn interest 'til the end of the year due to other priorities.

Here are my rules for myself:
- I will expense what I actually go out and buy. For example, if I have a half-used bag of soil around the house, I won't charge myself for that, but if I go out and buy a bag of soil and only use half of it I will charge myself for the entire bag.
- I will only grow things that we customarily buy now. [In other words, I won't plant things just because they are expensive at the store in order to artificially inflate my bottom line.]
- I will do my best to avoid any hidden, unknown, and unaccounted for expenses. I will do my accounting for this $20 Challenge just as strictly as I do for my business. For example, since water is probably a big cost in gardening, I will come up with a system to capture the water that comes out of my showerhead and down the drain while waiting for my shower to heat up, and use that in my garden. Or if I drive to the garden center just to buy plants, I will expense the mileage at the IRS-approved rate.

Now that I have posted this for the world to see, it means I really have to do it, doesn't it? Gulp!

3 Responses to “Decision about my $20 Challenge!”

  1. Cheetahwoman7 Says:

    Here's a great site started by Contrary 1. http://www.frugalgardening.com It's PACKED with articles on gardening and how to save $$ while doing it. No $300 tomatoes here! Smile Good luck and enjoy the process.

  2. robex Says:

    Awesome plan! I usually do a vegetable garden as well, but buy all the seedlings. I think I'm going to do what you're planning and grow vegies from seedlings this year. We have a decent sized yard with a large garden and I should be better about what I'm growing. Squash, swiss chard, lettuce and tomatoes have all done really well in our yard over the years. I need to research what else will grow well in our weather and plan better.

  3. scfr Says:

    Thanks for your encouragement!
    The frugalgardening.com site looks awesome ... I think I'm going to learn a lot from it. I loved the section about using anything as a container.

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