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Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Square Foot Gardening Forum
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How much money did you spend when you started?? - Page 3 Toplef10How much money did you spend when you started?? - Page 3 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

How much money did you spend when you started?? - Page 3 I22gcj10How much money did you spend when you started?? - Page 3 14dhcg10

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How much money did you spend when you started??

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Post  buttaflie143 4/8/2011, 9:16 am

Hi, for me the most expensive item is the soil blend. To date I have spent the following:
8 bags of soil blend - $19.99 each; $160
Two square foot boxes - $35 each; $70
Trellis netting 5'x15' - $9.99
Electrical conduit pipe (3 pieces) - $2.18; $6.54
Electrical rebar support (4) - $1.60; $6.40
4' lath boards (12) - 52' total @ $0.39 per foot - $20.28 (This cost can be reduced by using the venetian blind alternative - but I have read that because it is so light weight it does not hold up to high winds well - something to think about)
Nails (to hold together the grid) - $1.30

Total - $274.51

Please note the total above does not reflect the cost of your seed or transpants.

I hope this helps. Happy gardening!!!!
buttaflie143
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner 4/8/2011, 9:17 am

slotti wrote:I don't know if this post is good or me or just freaking me out. Shocked I knew this was going to cost money but I hadn't priced MMs yet. Maybe I won't tell my husband how much it could cost and just purchase the stuff (shopping around, of course!) AND THEN fess up to how much I spent.

It's likely been said before in this thread, but MM is your single biggest expense. But, so worth it. It's a one-time thing, though. You don't need to replenish peat moss or vermiculite....ever. Your investment in the SFG system, here, is critical, though. It's the backbone of the entire concept. Mel doesn't shy away from telling you so in the book, either.

I'm like you, though. I didn't know just HOW much it would wind up costing. But, I bit the bullet. And, I haven't been sorry. It's simply the best growing medium I've ever come across when you combine the water retention, weeding/planting ability, and workability. Everything has grown fine, too, so it's certainly not lacking in nutrients. It's a really great combination.
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Post  buttaflie143 4/8/2011, 9:20 am

Keep in mind, I am starting from scratch. I know that with the current prices of organic vegetables, my garden will pay for itself by the end of this growing season and yours will too!!! bounce
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Post  slotti 4/8/2011, 9:28 am

BackyardBirdGardner wrote:
slotti wrote:I don't know if this post is good or me or just freaking me out. Shocked I knew this was going to cost money but I hadn't priced MMs yet. Maybe I won't tell my husband how much it could cost and just purchase the stuff (shopping around, of course!) AND THEN fess up to how much I spent.

It's likely been said before in this thread, but MM is your single biggest expense. But, so worth it. It's a one-time thing, though. You don't need to replenish peat moss or vermiculite....ever. Your investment in the SFG system, here, is critical, though. It's the backbone of the entire concept. Mel doesn't shy away from telling you so in the book, either.

I'm like you, though. I didn't know just HOW much it would wind up costing. But, I bit the bullet. And, I haven't been sorry. It's simply the best growing medium I've ever come across when you combine the water retention, weeding/planting ability, and workability. Everything has grown fine, too, so it's certainly not lacking in nutrients. It's a really great combination.

Well notice that I didn't say anything about skimping here. It's not a question of do I or do I not. I'm sold on everything SFG (hopefully that isn't strange for a first-time gardener). It is now a matter of making many more phone calls than I thought I'd make to find the best priced daggone vermiculite (etc) that I can. I figure that I want to set myself up to succeed. It's also a good thing that my husband hasn't asked if there's another way I can garden. I can still freak out while biting the bullet though.
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Post  buttaflie143 4/8/2011, 9:40 am

MM was not available in my area, but was a "comparable" blend available and you can always purchase the ingredients seperately and make "MM" yourself. This may even be a better choice because there seems to be some settling of the soil product once you introduce it into your bed. Instead of needing 4 cubic feet, you may need to purchase an extra bag of blend.
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Post  Glendale-gardener 4/8/2011, 12:33 pm

I'm not sure about Columbus but I've found excellent prices on vermiculite here in Cincinnati. Especially compared to what some on this forum are spending. Maybe it is slightly cheaper because the distrib. is in OH, I'm not sure. Try calling feed stores, that's is where is found mine. Good Luck!
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Post  dianamarie03 4/8/2011, 12:37 pm

I found vermiculite at Menard's for $15/3 cu ft. Not too shabby. I'm still keeping my eyes open for a cheaper source when I inevitably expand my sfg next year Smile
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Post  slotti 4/8/2011, 1:01 pm

Whoa! I found the vermiculite database thingy from a link in another post. That is a pretty awesome tool although there should be a column for the date so that people who are looking at it know if it's a year old pricing or close to current pricing. I actually found a place that wasn't listed there that carries 4 cu ft bags for $19.99. Best pricing so far.

dianamarie03, I hadn't even thought to call Menards, but I did after reading your post. They totally aren't open in my area yet. The open Tuesday. Oops. Laughing
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Post  dianamarie03 4/8/2011, 1:03 pm

I drove up to Marion to get mine. Are they opening a new store in Columbus?
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Post  BackyardBirdGardner 4/8/2011, 1:04 pm

slotti wrote:I actually found a place that wasn't listed there that carries 4 cu ft bags for $19.99. Best pricing so far.

Would you mind adding it in there? Subforum "Vermiculite;" there's a place for you to add it in.
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Post  slotti 4/8/2011, 1:09 pm

BackyardBirdGardner wrote:
slotti wrote:I actually found a place that wasn't listed there that carries 4 cu ft bags for $19.99. Best pricing so far.

Would you mind adding it in there? Subforum "Vermiculite;" there's a place for you to add it in.

I just finished although it shows up at the very bottom. Will it get resorted into the right state? Great minds think alike.
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Post  boffer 4/8/2011, 1:29 pm

slotti wrote: Will it get resorted into the right state? Great minds think alike.
Thank you. Wardinwake is the database manager. He updates, sorts, and corrects errors every couple of days.
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Post  sistabelle 4/8/2011, 2:05 pm

WE spent around $75.00 for the wood and all the components to make 2 boxes. We will be able to make more as soon as I get more compost. MAybe enough to make one more box. WE are planning on adding each season so it's not so much out all at once,
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Post  buttaflie143 4/8/2011, 7:42 pm

FarmerValerie wrote:The best way to garden is to put on a wide-brimmed straw hat and some old clothes. And with a hoe in one hand and a cold drink in the other, tell someone else where to dig.

I love it!!!!
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Post  sistabelle 4/8/2011, 9:03 pm

buttaflie143 wrote:
FarmerValerie wrote:The best way to garden is to put on a wide-brimmed straw hat and some old clothes. And with a hoe in one hand and a cold drink in the other, tell someone else where to dig.

I love it!!!!

me too! Laughing
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Post  Goosegirl 4/8/2011, 10:13 pm

sistabelle wrote:
buttaflie143 wrote:
FarmerValerie wrote:The best way to garden is to put on a wide-brimmed straw hat and some old clothes. And with a hoe in one hand and a cold drink in the other, tell someone else where to dig.

I love it!!!!

me too! Laughing


Hmmmmmm.....I always seem to be the 'someone else'.....because in the words of Monk: "If you do it, I won't have to."
TC


Last edited by Goosegirl on 4/8/2011, 10:14 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Mr. Monk)
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Post  FarmerValerie 4/9/2011, 7:55 am

I wanted to watch Monk, but I knew my OCD tendancies would come out, and it would drive me nuts how misunderstoon he was and see it as everybody picking on him, so I decided not to watch it.

I have a chair that sits in the garden, it is called my "BOSS CHAIR". When I feel like the Little Red Hen, I get my chair, set it up in the shade, get a cold bottle of water, and start barking out orders. Yes, I sit and watch them work, I even had a whistle once. I have to do that every other year or so, to remind them the importance of everyone doing their part, and how MAMA does not mean MAID.
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Post  Hyzleyes 4/9/2011, 2:42 pm

$70 for three 4-cu-ft bags of coarse vermiculite
$17 on compost (three different kinds, 2 bags each)
$18 estimate for rest of compost that I still need to find
$19 on 3 half bales of peat
$0 weedcloth we already had laying around in the garage
$44 for eight 2x10 boards for 4 4x4 squares
$8 wood lath (had to buy a bundle with approx 50 pieces)
$13 on hardware
$2 dust masks

So... roughly $191 not counting seeds, sets, plants or a replacement saw for the one that died mid-project. Also will definitely need to buy chicken wire & wood to build cages for our deer friends. Not a cheap set up for sure. That puts us at a base price of $3/sq ft.
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Post  staf74 4/9/2011, 2:50 pm

I would say I was out of pocket about $500 altogether for 4 4x4 beds, but mine was raised on gravel (additional cost) and a few other more elaborate items brought that total up. I could have "frugaled" myself to perhaps $300 probably but was a little too impatient on some things and went a little over the top....as my wife tells me anyway.

Worth every penny !

Followed the book totally. I'm a total SFG addict Very Happy
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Post  tkdtara84 4/9/2011, 9:32 pm

Hyzleyes wrote: That puts us at a base price of $3/sq ft.

You know, that seems expensive, but (assuming it's successful) if you were to buy the produce that will come from that one square foot, you would probably break even, and if you garden for just one more year, you'll come out way ahead.
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Post  staf74 4/9/2011, 9:51 pm

tkdtara84 wrote:
Hyzleyes wrote: That puts us at a base price of $3/sq ft.

You know, that seems expensive, but (assuming it's successful) if you were to buy the produce that will come from that one square foot, you would probably break even, and if you garden for just one more year, you'll come out way ahead.

I really can't see how that is expensive. For one, we are talking about 3 harvests per square per year at least. If just one of those squares was a Bell Pepper plant for example, you will easily see 10 of those peppers on a single plant growing in MM. Seeing as they are about $1 a-piece right now and almost double that to purchase organically (which many of us, including I, do) then you are actually breaking even and perhaps even making a profit before the end of a single season if you do it right and maximize each growing square. 16 carrots are about 2 pounds and cost about $3. For most crops that I can think of, you are going to recoup your initial $3 investment and some.

Just sayin Smile

PS I know you alluded to the fact you could "probably" break even but it is my experience that it is guaranteed.


Last edited by staf74 on 4/9/2011, 10:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post  Goosegirl 4/9/2011, 9:59 pm

[quote="staf74"]
tkdtara84 wrote:
Hyzleyes wrote: That puts us at a base price of $3/sq ft.

You know, that seems expensive, but ..... If just one of those squares was a Bell Pepper plant for example, you will easily see 10 of those peppers on a single plant growing in MM. Seeing as they are about $1 a-piece right now and almost double that to purchase organically .....

Colored bell peppers have been as high as $5.99 each here. I have 6 plants started, and if I can get 5 peppers from each plant, that will just about pay off everything I bought for my SFG's! Considering I am putting in 8 boxes (1 is the 1x1 for carrots on 4-15-11) that will certainly be worth it!
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Post  staf74 4/9/2011, 10:05 pm

Actually my wife informs me that Green Bell Peppers are almost $2 each and colored ones double that. From what I can gather, there was a huge price jump in fresh produce this spring, traced to a freak frost in a part of Mexico where lots of our produce comes from during February that wiped out almost 80% of their crops.

All the more reason to SFG !!!
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Post  myhouseofBOYS 4/9/2011, 10:27 pm

staf74 wrote:

I really can't see how that is expensive. For one, we are talking about 3 harvests per square per year at least. If just one of those squares was a Bell Pepper plant for example, you will easily see 10 of those peppers on a single plant growing in MM. Seeing as they are about $1 a-piece right now and almost double that to purchase organically (which many of us, including I, do) then you are actually breaking even and perhaps even making a profit before the end of a single season if you do it right and maximize each growing square. 16 carrots are about 2 pounds and cost about $3. For most crops that I can think of, you are going to recoup your initial $3 investment and some.

Just sayin Smile

I have gardened for 3ish years and I kid you not had no idea one could harvest 3 times from one square. so newbies may likely just be looking at the "summer" crop the first year, or summer and maybe fall if they realize they don't need to be done for the year.
That being said $3 a square is cheap! I spent $60 today not including peat moss ($10-20 more) and I still need more compost (probably another $20 I've already bought the cheaper single manures) and a $7 livestock panel that we didn't have room for today for 24 squares and I already had the conduit trellises and netting and boxes. And I still need to put a bottom on my boxes... I am going to be spending WELL over $3 just to add to what I already have just to be able to plant... and then there are the seeds... Laughing
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Post  ftroopmom 4/9/2011, 11:02 pm

and then there are the seeds... Laughing

I was a bit taken back by how many seeds I had left over when we were finished planting. I don't know anyone else with a garden, and the package says that they expire at the end of the year.

Is there a way to preserve the seeds for a longer period of time so that perhaps I can plant them next year? Seems so wasteful to let them go unused.

Karen
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