I have touched a bit in the past on the vegetable/flower gardens that my friends over at Hobo Mama have spear-headed in our yard. The process of talking about it, deciding where to put it (we literally started with a completely garden bed-free portion of our lawn), buying plants and starting seeds, staking out the garden beds, killing the grass, buying the lumber, building the raised beds, filling the beds with soil, planting in the beds, watering the beds . . . . and then really, all told, not a whole heck of a lot of eating out of the beds. It was a rough year for tomatoes in Seattle, so most of those were a wash. We did get some cucumbers, a few peppers, a nice amount of zucchini, some peas and some gorgeous flowers. There are still some pumpkins out there, too.
It was also a lot of work. I'm exhausted just thinking about it and truth be told, I didn't even do most of it. There was a tremendous amount of labor investment in this garden, but also a financial one. There were some things that were purchased this year that won't need to be again for a while (some by my family, but not most), but some that are recurring every year. Imagine my surprise when I opened our water bill from this month and noticed that it dropped almost $120 from watering the gardens less over the past few weeks. I had no idea how much the cost was of just water for those suckers. Truth be told we probably could have bought an entire fruit stand worth of vegetables for what we all put in to it.
That said, I love the garden beds. They are right outside our kitchen window and every time I am in the kitchen, without fail, I look outside and feel so happy that they are there. They are incredibly beautiful, even as things are dying out for the year.
I know that if my friends want to do the gardens again next year (they'll have a brand new baby after all!) then I am all for it. But if they don't, I'm not sure what we'll do. I enjoy the beauty, and want to enjoy the theoretical bounty, but am not sure that the time and financial investment is worth it.
I am curious if anyone else has struggled with this with regards to their own gardens? Is the pay-out worth the investment?