When we first purchased our townhouse with its 200 square foot backyard I had visions of starting my own victory garden full of vegetables, herbs, and fruit trees. I thought that we could preserve the surplus and enjoy nature’s bounty for much less than what we were paying at the grocery store. How wrong I was! While gardening has many benefits, saving money is not one of them. After spending money on amending the soil, plants and seeds themselves, fertilizing, and water, every tomato, squash, and bean became more expensive than the organic asparagus in Lazy Acres!
Now that the economy has shifted a bit, I am rethinking my decision. Certain plants do make some sense. Herbs that come back every year like oregano, basil, and rosemary do very well in our Mediterranean climate. Grapevines are a beautiful addition and only cost $3.99 for two plants. I use the young leaves that I remove for stuffed grape leaves and the culled vines for wreaths. Tomatoes and berry bushes are the best homegrown value, since they are so expensive in Santa Barbara. I have replaced my annual plant borders that took so much water with attractive herbs, citrus trees, and vegetables and hope for the best.