I decided to take some pretty detailed data of all my urban agriculture stuff for 2016. That includes a couple different categories: the vegetables I grew in my 8th street Capital Roots plot, the vegetables I grew in the bucket garden on 9th street near my apartment, foraged food (mostly berries from local trees), bartering (things I got in trade from the produce in my 8th and 9th street gardens) and donations (surplus produce that I gave to Squash Hunger).
As I harvested things I estimated the value of the produce as best I could based on market prices. A spreadsheet of all that data is here.
I also put together a couple of charts.
You can see an obvious spike in produce during the summer growing season. June was the most productive month, probably because it was the only month I could grow strawberries.
As shown in my spreadsheet, the total profit from all my gardening activities was $245.15. (That includes what I donated.)
8th Street was clearly more productive than 9th Street, although it’s hard to compare them precisely since the barter and donation stuff came out of both 8th and 9th street in ratios I didn’t really keep track of.
Gardening this year was very cheap. My main cost was just getting the plot on 8th street. The chili powder was my attempt at discouraging squirrels from digging in my buckets. It helped… I think.
I grew (and used) a whole lot of greens all year long. That took a lot of work. Meanwhile, bartering with one of my mushroom-savvy friends in the fall for a few of his wares (chicken-of-the-woods, shiitake, and other varieties) quickly netted nearly as much. Mushrooms are a mean cash crop!
Some takeaways from this year:
- Gardening is hard work, but you can definitely make up your (material) costs. Part of how I kept costs down is by using recycled items a lot. Old buckets and other containers as planters, pieces of plastic shopping carts of lawn chairs as support stakes… you name it!
- You can get very high yields in a very small amount of space.
- Weeding is a large potion of the work, but some weeds are edible. A big chunk of my green harvest was lamb’s quarters, an edible weed.
- I’m a pretty bad tomato farmer. It didn’t help that much of Summer 2016 was hot and dry.
- I should learn to cultivate mushrooms.
I’m looking forward to next year!