Is having a backyard garden more cost effective than buying?

Is having a backyard garden more cost effective than buying?
Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 4:05 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 5, 2022 at 8:45 AM EDT
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ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) -As grocery bills grow higher, the idea of starting from the seed yourself is becoming more popular.

“Especially if cucumbers are going to be two dollars or three dollars a pound, I don’t care I’m not doing it,” said Onslow County gardener, Melizza Greer.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics, the food index rose 1% last month, giving people more motivation to get their hands dirty.

“Some of it because of food prices in the grocery store going up some because people like to garden and the peace of mind of knowing what their food’s been through,” said Michael Stanley with S&H Nursery.

However, there’s a catch, tools to pull off a successful backyard garden have shot up too. Stanley said the cost of a bag of fertilizer has nearly doubled in a year.

“That’s a major thing, across the board a lot of the lawn and yard products have not quite doubled, but they’ve gone up significantly,” he said.

As a single mom, Greer said she combats some of the costs by planting different plants beside each other that enhance growth or protect each other from pests.

“A lot of companion planting so that we can control pests without all the pesticides,” she explained.

Stanley said it’s hard to say for sure to know whether it’s cheaper to plant or buy, “looking forward to possible food shortages, I think a lot of people are thinking if I just have some stored away in the cupboard it might be helpful.”

Lucy Bradley, Consumer and Community Horticulture Professor and Extension Specialist at NC State University said “maybe” when asked if backyard gardening is cost effective.

Bradley said in part “There are lots of variables that impact this,” within an email correspondence.

Bradley also said the first few years starting a garden are likely more expensive.

Bradley suggested some resources the University of Florida has to offer to help calculate gardening costs and savings.

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