The Cost of Vegetable Container Gardening

Recently, while wearing my non-profit arts warrior hat, I was asked to write a cost benefit analysis (CBA) for a project I was researching. It was incredibly difficult and took me a shamefully long time to complete. The good news is that I completed it. And I learned how to calculate the payback time for an investment and got to imagine the intangible costs and benefits of turning my co-workers’ lives upside down. Fun!

What I’ve come to realize is that doing a CBA is really the prudent thing to do before jumping head first into this vegetable gardening thing. Maybe I’ll even learn something. No need to tell me I am probably over-thinking it. “Always be prepared,” I say! I never say that.

Cost Benefit Analysis: Vegetable Gardening

Implementation Initial Cost
Contract Labor 0
Capital Costs (i.e. reusable supplies) 80
Internal Planning Exorbitant sum/hour
Puppy Training Exorbitant sum/hour
Ongoing Avg. Annual Cost
Maintenance (soil/fertilizer) 100
Operational Cost (plants & seeds) 90
Additional Water Cost 35
Intangible Costs  
Loss of free time  
Heat stroke  
Increased inter-office conflict  
Ongoing Avg. Annual Benefit
Grocery Store Savings ($20 * 28 hopeful weeks) 560
Intangible Benefits  
Feelings of self-worth and pride  
Connection to Ceres, goddess of grain and harvest  
Development of a positive environment of teamwork and cooperation
TOTAL BENEFIT (first year) $255
TOTAL BENEFIT (ongoing) $335
Payback Time (Months after initial investment) 9.96

As one can see from my listing of costs and benefits, it appears that container vegetable gardening will actually save us money once we purchase the obligatory pots, containers, gloves, tools, soil, seeds, and transplants. I do so hope that our crops will be bountiful and bug free!

Next step: pick up unknown amount of hastily ordered library books on vegetable container gardening and consume.

P.S. The peach plant with the bugs is disoriented about the season and has decided to pretend it’s autumn. Sad, unloved peach tree.