Consider these home garden costs

Published 10:04 am Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Americans planted victory gardens during World War II as a way to support the war effort.

By growing produce to feed themselves and their communities, these home gardeners allowed the nation to divert more of the national food and fuel supplies to the troops.

People felt personal pride in the labor they contributed, and the food they grew helped offset the hardships caused by war.

Sixty–five years later Americans are again struggling to make ends meet, and food gardening is experiencing a revival.

This time around, the reasons have less to do with patriotism and more to do with saving money and self–sufficiency. However, what started as a simple trend appears to be growing into a full-fledged movement as activists try to rekindle the fervor as a means not only to harvest edibles, but also to build community and increas environmental awareness.

More reasons for having a home garden today include better–-tasting and better quality food.

As planning your garden takes place, consider the associated costs. Options for gardening costs range from the labor-intensive –– growing everything from seed –– to the neighborly, such as swapping plants with friends or asking a successful gardener down the street for cuttings.

Some gardeners average the cost out over a 10 or 20 year period, since they plan to garden for many years.

Make a list of the items you need, set a budget and stick to it. Remember each garden will have different needs and you may already have the tools. Some suggestions for holding down costs are:

-Grow from seeds

-Start your own plants

-Start with smaller plants

-Buy a large plant with a friend and divide it

-Share and swap tools with family and friends

-Wait until after Memorial Day, when plants go on sale

To learn more about how Extension can help you, visit

Ruth Brock is an extension agent with the Shelby County Extension Office. She can be reached by e–mail at