Budding Vegetables & Gardening Zen

You can only read so many books and web articles about vegetable gardening before you just have to sack up and do whatever is that you have been reading about. By reading and reading and reading, we ended up putting off transplanting for a really long time. Luckily, it hasn’t done any lasting harm to our plants. Check out the buds on the tomato, jalapeno, and bell pepper plants. I am woman! I make vegetable!

What’s that you say? You can’t see the buds? Well, they’re really small, OK?

Annnnnnyway, some form of procrastination leaked into the rest of our original planting schedule and temporarily poisoned our will to plant. I don’t know why we kept putting it off, but eventually we were reading packets that said to plant “2 to 4 weeks after temps reach 65 degrees” or some degree indicative of early springtime. It is so not early springtime anymore. But who cares, I say! I laugh in the face of seed packets! I am woman! I make–you get the point.

So last night when I got home from work, feeling a little tired, a little discouraged, a little envious of other organizations’ websites, whatever, I decided June 12 seemed like a perfect time to plant my early spring vegetables. You know, I just went for it. Who cares if it’s not radish season anymore according to some packet? It’s always radish season in my heart. So I got Jordan to drill some holes in some buckets, and we planted. Radishes. Lettuce. Zucchini. Cucumbers. Carrots. Just like that.

And I felt connected to Ceres, goddess of grain and harvest, as predicted in my cost benefit analysis of vegetable gardening. And I went inside feeling calm–respite gleaned by burying treasures and digging in dirt.

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.