It might be a winter wonderland outside, but the Cox family is sitting pretty with extra cash and self-canned foods in their pantry for the season. They weighed in the produce they grew spring through September of this year, and the total tallied well over 250 pounds. Fiscally, they ended up producing $1632.75 worth, according to their calculations.
That's enough to get the brownest of brown thumbs to sit up and take notice - especially with New Year's resolutions being pledged in spending more time outside and spending less money at the store.
"Not only did we really make an effort to weigh things, we tried to take note [...] of how much comparable items would've cost us had we bought them at the store or Co-op. This got to be a little tricky sometimes. [...] Finding prices for heirloom, organic foods isn't always possible. So we did our best," Carrie wrote on her blog.
Produce they grew included tomatoes (a whopping 187 pounds), bell peppers, Hungarian sweet banana peppers, Charleston grey watermelons, cherries, beans, zucchini, and oregano.
They also saved more money by canning a lot of their produce (and some bought goods) into spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce/soup, ketchup, and barbeque relish.
Add it all up, and what they produced was 16 times more than what they put into it this year: $80 for a bale of hay and canning equipment plus buying a few plants at local greenhouses.
A good place to learn something about local gardening is the Virginia Cooperative Extension. They have a multitude of resources, including soil sample testing, and even a gardening helpline. Here's their website: www.ext.vt.edu